Three Romanians, aged 21 to 30, all residents of Barcelona, have been arrested by the Guardia Civil as suspects for a string of robberies across the country. Their tool of choice… Nail clippers.
The gang would carefully select their victims, mostly preying on the elderly or easy targets, approaching them and pretending to know their victims. Moving in for a hug or a kiss, little would the victim realise that the primary aim of the hug was so that the perpetrator could snip jewellery or other items by using the nail clippers, then making off before the victim realised.
This particular group was caught out In Murcia although they are believed to be responsible for at least 14 similar crimes in 8 Spanish provinces. The arrests took place after officers became suspicious of a vehicle travelling at high speed and intercepted the car after a brief chase.
The detainees are all of Romanian nationality and are two women aged 21 and 30 and a man, also aged 30. The officers report that they seemed agitated and nervous when they had stopped them and so conducted a more thorough search of the vehicle. The officers were then notified of a woman who had reported being a victim of crime and the description given matching the occupants of the vehicle.
That attack had resulted in the victim having to undergo medical treatment at the scene due to the shock, as during the discreet robbery the clippers failed to work and so the robbers became more violent with her.
The last known address of those then arrested was Barcelona, although there were a series of outstanding warrants for their arrest. They were brought before the courts who remanded them in custody until their trial.
However, despite this ruthless gang being taken off the streets, there are many more still active.
Orihuela´s local police this week issued a warning about a similar problem, reaching out to the elderly and vulnerable to be alert.
The warning goes out to anybody who may be considered vulnerable, male and female, who may not realise what is happening. The gangs often work in pairs or in threes, one carrying out the robbery, the others serving as lookouts or for passing the stolen items to.
Sometimes the robbers cause distractions such as asking for directions or information, and then “thank” their victim after speaking to them. Sometimes they simply move in as if they already know their victims.
Although it is an unfortunate piece of advice to give, it is crucial that everybody does their bit to stay as safe as possible and aware of these sorts of crimes, especially by not allowing for opportunity by not displaying jewellery on show and trying to remain alert and not succumbing to such seemingly acts of thanks or praise.
If you witness such an act, or anything suspicious, please contact the police or Guardia Civil immediately and let us hope that more of these ruthless and despicable gangs will follow the three from Barcelona into prison.