Guest post by Robbed in Barcelona contributor, Matt
I have been in Barcelona for the past week and my first experience of the thieves was when I was with a girl on the beach outside Opium. Her bag was stolen containing her camera and all her holiday photos and after two hours of searching it seemed futile. I vowed I wouldn’t let it happen again and it was a few days later on the beach at sunrise I saw a thief rifling through the possessions of a sleeping couple on the beach. I shouted at him and ran over to wake up the couple, they weren’t interested in pursuing him so I gave chase but he had disappeared.
I was pretty angry at this point and on my final night I was again sitting on the beach with some friends watching the sunrise whilst keeping a close eye on my surroundings. It’s obvious to spot these thieves straight away, we saw one guy crawl along the sand trying to take someones bag he picked it up and we shouted forcing him to drop it and shout obscenities before running off into the night. We woke the guy up to tell him people were trying to steal his stuff and alerted some others on the beach.
About 30 minutes later two guys from the beach approached us and told us the thief had come back with some friends and was trying to fight them. Me and another person I was with have quite extensive training in martial arts and are both of big builds so we said we’d help them if anything happened. Our presence (along with the 7 or 8 others who had joined us) seemed to intimidate them into leaving.
It only took a short amount of time for another thief to come along wearing just his boxers and sit down next to someone who was asleep. We saw him go through the bag but he was so relaxed about it and even sat next to the sleepnig guy afterwards we assumed they were friends (also the fact he was wet and just in boxers made it seem he had just been swimming). Shortly afterwards we saw him get up and due to being highly suspicious by this point watched him as he went over to one of the thieves from earlier and hand him some money and cards. We immediately got up and woke the guy up checking if he knew the man that we assumed to have stolen his belongings. He didn’t and informed us that his credit card was missing and about 100 euros in cash. The man he handed the belongings to had disappeared by this point but the thief was still there so we approached him informing him that we had seen him take the guys belongings at which point he denied it and pulled his boxers down showing me his (tiny) cock to presumably say he didnt have anything on him.
At this point a few other tourists came up saying they had seen him take it and about 10 of us had him surrounded. The police had been called by this point and i started pushing him around to intimidate him and we were asking him where the stuff was (I was flying home that day so knocking him out would probably have caused some legal issues as I’m aware of corrupt police abroad, if he had thrown the first punch that would’ve been ideal based on self-defence laws which is what i was hoping for). A police car swiftly came by which he ran up to to protest his innocence, unluckily for him we had about 10 witnesses with us and luckily for me they spoke spanish. The police seemed reluctant to arrest him at which point another friend came rushing over with his phone. He had been filming the sunrise and had just realised he had unknowingly filmed a high definition video of the guy robbing the items, passing them over then all of us approchaing him. I walked around so i could make eye contact with him and gave him a wink. He went absolutely mental shouting at us and the police restrained him and threw him in the back of the car and took the others who had items missing to the station to give statements. I’m not aware of what happened from then on and I was surprised by the police not taking in myself or my friend who had the video on his phone – if it had been British police I would think that video would be invaluable evidence on which to convict someone?
Anyway, hopefully justice was done and if not at least that thief couldn’t ruin anyone else’s night. Pure scum and I’m amazed the police are so casual in arresting them. If you or I were an undercover sitting on that beach that night we would have made more arrests than they probably make in a month but life goes on.
According to one of the beer sellers we became friendly with throughout the week, he informed us that if we see them steal, we should chase them and fight them. They are not very dangerous people. What are your views on this? Having been trained in dealing with situations like this I wouldn’t want anyone to see this story and assume it is safe to confront them and end up getting out of their depth.