Thanks to “Robbed in Barcelona” collaborator Don Simon for informing us about this new scam, first seen in the wild this month in Barcelona.
Don’s friend tells us his story in his own words:
“I was in this bar, just having a beer, and this boy who looked like Michael MacIntryre was in the bar having a beer as well. Anyway, we start chatting and he offers to buy me a beer, so we have one. Then, I buy him one. At some point, I look at my phone and put it on the bar counter. Less than a second later he’s grabbed it and has run out the door.”
Basically, as Don puts it, it’s a case of: thief buys a tourist a beer, tourists buys him one back so the thief isn’t out-of-pocket. The tourist, lulled into a false sense of security, is soon very much out of pocket.
The story continues:
“It was a bar on Paral·lel. Just a general cafe-bar joint, I honestly don’t know the name. The boy was Spanish, or so he said. Could have been South American. At the police station, the police refused to believe the robber was Spanish. I said he was Spanish, and he said “no, South American maybe?” I said “no, he was Spanish.” It was like he didn’t want to put Spanish on the form. And eventually, he did it, grudgingly. Like a Spaniard can’t be a thief!”
We encountered another story, somewhat similar, in that the victim was befriended by a thief recently (and we’re not talking about the Free Hugger Scam), this time contributed by Dave on January 13th 2012. In his own words:
“Funny, a mate of mine just last night had the same thing happen. It was outside, in the street, near Port Olimpic, my mate had been arguing with his girlfriend on the phone and passed it to his new ‘friend’ to listen, whereupon the guy ran away with the phone. So, it seems the thieves have a new strategy – make friends first. Watch out for those charmers who buy you a drink and sympathise with your life.”