On Friday, we published an exclusive story entitled “Tourist catches thief… tourist thrown in jail,” which was much commented upon.
It was a lengthy piece by our guest contributor, Kristina, and in the midst of the article was a component we feel was overlooked.
The article detailed an incident in which a tourist who found himself being robbed was able to avoid the robbery and in so doing catch the thief. When the police arrived he was arrested for his act, as the thief hadn’t successfully stolen anything, and therefore there was no reason for the tourist to have attempted to apprehend the thief. This is how things work in Barcelona. The tourist was put in a jail cell for the night.
We’ll let Kristina narrate the next piece of the story:
The following morning, after spending the entire night locked in a jail cell, the visitor was released, and the police staff gave him back his wallet and his phone and told him he was free to go. Tired and upset, he headed to the ATM to withdraw some money for his cab ride back to the hotel. After two failed attempts, he called his bank only to find out that around 5:00am there had been multiple attempts at making a purchase of €2,000 with his card – a time when he was soundly locked up in police custody. Luckily, the bank had blocked the card, and the money was not taken.
So now our tourists will realise that it’s not just the pickpockets they need to watch out for, it’s the police as well?
How sad it is that in this city there is no one the people can turn to for safety? There is no one to trust, or expect to help in a time of need. Things need to change in Barcelona. I’ve often told tourists that it’s a waste of their time to involve the police if they know who the robber is, or in a lucky situation, if they have caught the person. If you need to file a police report for insurance, fine, but that should be the extent of police involvement. If you’ve caught the thief, just get your stuff back and let them go. This seems absurd to anyone from any place other than Barcelona, but the truth is, the police here aren’t your friends. If you involve them, you’re looking to ruin your holiday even more, and maybe even be robbed again.
Does anyone have any additional observations about this?