We tell many Barcelona robbery stories on this site, but there’s one in particular that we are constantly asked about… it’s the case of the Polish contortionist on the bus between Girona Airport and Barcelona city centre.
We first wrote about it back in June 2011. (You might want to read about it first, before you continue further.)
It’s well described by the following graphic, published by local newspaper El Periódico, showing how the contortionist and his comrade enacted their dastardly plan.
We’ve reproduced the graphic below (translation appears underneath). Copyright El Periodico 2011:
1. Two robbers go to Girona airport.
2. The first robber gets into a suitcase. In the suitcase there is a backpack, a torch, a bradawl tool and a mobile phone.
3. The second robber puts the bag, with his companion inside, into the baggage compartment of the bus. After, the second robber gets onto the bus like all the other passengers.
4. During the trip to Barcelona, the first robber gets out of the suitcase and robs from the suitcases of the other passengers. He puts the stolen items into the backpack. The robbers communicate by mobile phone.
5. Before they arrive in Barcelona, the first robber gets back into the suitcase. The second robber collects the suitcase with the first robber inside. The backpack contains the booty.
He’s a photo from the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan police) showing the actual suitcase in which the contortionist hid. That’s a tight fit.
The date when the two were caught was June 3rd 2011 and were detained for an alleged robbery which took place on May 12th 2011 for the robbery of a portable computer and a GPS system. One newspaper suggested that the police were considering fining one of the two men for not having purchased a ticket before taking the trip. We’re unsure if this is a joke or not.
One of the guys involved was identified as Krzysztof Grzegorz M who was 29 at the time and was already known to the police. The second was identified as Jouoastaw K and was 31 at the time. In Spain the accused is identified by his first name or first two names and the surname is abbreviated to its first letter. Jouoastaw isn’t a real Polish name - though it was spelt like this in all media reports - it’s more likely his name is Jaroslaw.
The contortionist – and we’re not sure if that’s Krzysztof or Jaroslaw – is 1m 78cms tall and the bag measured 90x50cms. Ouch.
Girona’s airport police force is aligned to the police of the village of Santa Coloma de Farners, which is just a few kilometres from the airport itself. The police there were compiling information relating to other cases where personal property was stolen with a similar “modus operandi”. We believe that one or other of the two individuals lives in or close to the village of Santa Coloma de Farners.
The robbery spawned hundreds of articles and appeared in publications like Fox News, Time Magazine and AOL - it’s entertaining to see how the latter two publications have completely misinterpreted the names using “Grzegorz” as a surname when it’s a second first name, and using Jouoastaw for the other when it’s a name that doesn’t exist. This author hopes the media are that incompetent if he ever ends up in court.
More than capturing the imagination of the media, it also entered popular culture, as the following example on Flickr illustrates.
We at “Robbed in Barcelona” tried for some weeks to make contact with at least one of the two individuals – Krzysztof Grzegorz M - but we were unable to confirm that he was the individual in question. We believe we know his surname. In fact it’s not much longer than the letter “M” itself, but we can’t publish it without potentially getting our asses sued. We believe he is married to a Polish lady, has two children, and they all live together in Catalunya. In fact we know his car number plate, his nickname (which is in Spanish), his religion, his wife’s name, his hometown in Poland, his 9-to-5 profession, his mobile number and his e-mail address. However, because we’re not 100% sure it’s him, we can’t publish it.
And so – here we are – we’ve been sitting on this post since October 2011 in the hope we might get that exclusive interview, but alas, it seems not to be. If we get more information, we’ll likely publish it here and update you all via Facebook and Twitter. We’re also interested to hear from anyone who feels they may have been robbed in this way by the duo. We’d also love to hear from anyone in the police service (Mossos/Guardia Urbana) who might be able to confirm the surnames for us. All in the strictest confidence.