Barcelona beach thief caught after stealing bag live on TV

·2-min read

A Barcelona beach thief has been caught after he filched a stranger’s bag in the background of a live TV interview.

A tourist was being interviewed by Spain’s TVE news station on the city’s Sant Miquel beach last week when the crime took place.

Local police the Guàrdia Urbana said on Sunday that the thief had been identified following their review of the footage.

Video shows the tourist being interviewed by news reporters, saying he loves Barcelona’s “beautiful beach and clean, cold water”.

In the background an unattended black bag can be seen on the sand, before a man strolls into shot, appears to look into the bag and swiftly picks it up before walking out of shot.

The man was wearing a baseball cap and a logoed vest.

“Thanks to a video published [...] on social media and the victim’s complaint, today we identified and charged the perpetrator of a theft on Sant Miquel beach,” said the Guàrdia Urbana in a statement.

Barcelona is infamous for its opportunist pickpockets, who operate along the city’s main strip Las Ramblas as well as along its beaches and other crowded tourist sites.

In May, Barcelona police increased its presence on the streets of the city break favourite by 12 per cent as part of “Operation Summer”, a campaign aimed at reducing the street crime that has plagued the Catalonian capital in recent years.

“We are confident that we will be able to contain it,” said Pedro Velázquez, head of the Guàrdia Urbana, at the time.

As part of the plan, 90 officers were tasked with patrolling the seafront with 32 vehicles. To prevent crime and sexual assault in the early hours of the morning, officers are instructed to “saturate” certain streets leading back from nightlife areas.

“We need to publicize more that these routes exist, because many people do not use them because they do not know them,” Velázquez said.

One recent street crime trend has been watch theft, leading the local police force to form a specific team known as the “relojeros” (watchmakers).

Police are also focusing on trying to get rid of “botellones”, or groups of street drinkers, recently introducing fines of up to €600 (£506).

Barcelona isn’t the only beloved Spanish destination cracking down on unruly behaviour.

A group of restaurants on the island of Mallorca recently banned tourists wearing certain clothes associated with “drunken tourism”.

Eleven venues associated with the Palma Beach brand in the party resort of Playa de Palma have created the new dress code, which prohibits football strips and “boob tube” tops.