Thieves like to get rid of bags fast. A 20-something male walking or cycling with a nice lady’s handbag draws attention.
In Barceloneta it seems the thieves have a handy drop-off point where bags can be deposited for assessment or later collection.
Our contributor picks up the story:
“Last summer I was going up Carrer Andrea Dória and was close to the beach; a guy passed me on a bike with a lady’s bag that he had stolen. By chance, I was speaking on my mobile phone to my girlfriend, who was walking on the same street a few blocks behind me. I asked her to watch where this Maghreb guy with the bike went. The guy stopped the bike in front of a bar, he went inside and left five seconds later without the bag.
Just then I encountered the couple who had been robbed and they were with the police. I told them to go to the bar. I didn’t go with them to avoid problems, but my girfriend watched the police and the couple going inside the bar and leaving a minute later with empty hands.
My conclusion: The guy left the bag inside the bar, in a place where the police cannot access without a warrant. From that moment on we had little doubt that the owner was hiding bags, probably to get some of the profit from the robbery. We had even less doubt some days later when we saw her going to the trash with another bag, dumping all the (uninteresting) content and then returning to the bar with the bag.
Now that we are more alert we often see suspicious guys standing at the front door, with their bikes, laughing and shouting, but always very alert and always on the phone to their friends. Sometimes they vanish at a second’s notice, then come back again, but it could be minutes or hours later.
The police know who they are, a policeman even commented that they know the set-up, but they can’t/don’t do much…”