Beware of camera theft in Barcelona. Locked

Started May 17, 2013 | Discussions
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michalc
Contributing MemberPosts: 565
Beware of camera theft in Barcelona.
May 17, 2013

Just to share my experience with guys going to Barcelona.

I was walking with my girlfriend in a park and a nice elderly Indian looking couple approached us and showed we had bird's droppings on our clothes, backpacks etc. They offered us tissues and eagerly helped in cleaning our stuff. After some time I realized that my Nikon J1 with 30-110mm lens was gone from my backpack as well us all notes from my wallet (60 euro). We were probably sprayed with some green stuff resembling bird poo. Fortunately (I hope) I have all my credit cards. Another plus is I downloaded my photos the day before.

I found a site of Barcelona Police where you can report crime online but then you need to sign the paper IN PERSON within 72hrs for the complaint to be processed. That is hardly doable as I am already on my way back.

What is lost is lost I believe so the best thing I can do is to share this lesson learn for those going down there. The place is beautiful (Sagrada Familia and all Gaudi stuff above all) but you need to have eyes all around your head when walking there.

Nikon 1 J1
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Mike_PEAT
Forum ProPosts: 10,623Gear list
Can happen ANYWHERE if you're THAT naive!
In reply to michalc, May 17, 2013

Oldest trick in the book, having a pick-pocket touch you.

Maybe it's because I live in a big city that I know how to defend myself against that happening, but there's really no excuse to be a victim!

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Deleted1929
Forum ProPosts: 13,050
Oh, if I I were as perfect as you, Mike
In reply to Mike_PEAT, May 17, 2013

Multi-person teams of thieves are something everyone needs to be aware of, and, Mike, your comments are out of line IMO.

I hope you don't find out how easily and quickly you can become the victim of these type of criminals.  Oh, wait, I was forgetting your special abilities.

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StephenG

tazmac
Regular MemberPosts: 360Gear list
Re: Beware of camera theft in Barcelona.
In reply to michalc, May 17, 2013

Gypsies..

Dinegbatty
Regular MemberPosts: 205
Re: Can happen ANYWHERE if you're THAT naive!
In reply to Mike_PEAT, May 17, 2013

Mike_PEAT wrote:

Oldest trick in the book, having a pick-pocket touch you.

Maybe it's because I live in a big city that I know how to defend myself against that happening, but there's really no excuse to be a victim!

So wise

mjack101
Regular MemberPosts: 108
Re: Beware of camera theft in Barcelona.
In reply to michalc, May 17, 2013

Thanks for posting this. I travel around Europe a lot and Spain has a reputation for this type of scam so the more it is publicised like this the more aware visitors will be and can take the necessary precautions.

Ignore people who say you were naive, it only takes a moment to let your guard down and these thieves are well practised and good at what they do. I have lived in big cities all my life and am "street smart" (whatever that actually means) and 10 years ago I had my briefcase stolen on a train just outside Amsterdam, like you, a momentary loss of concentration late at night but a valuable lesson learned.

I hope it didn't spoil your trip to Europe too much.

mjack101
Regular MemberPosts: 108
Re: Beware of camera theft in Barcelona.
In reply to tazmac, May 17, 2013

tazmac wrote:

Gypsies..

yup, definitely, couldn't have been anyone else could it?

Maybe it was the Gypsy Kings, their record sales haven't been so good recently.

Len_Gee
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,578Gear list
Re: Beware of camera theft in Barcelona.
In reply to michalc, May 17, 2013

Greetings,

I share your pain regarding your unfortunate camera theft in Barcelona.

I suggest these products when traveling:

http://pacsafe.com/camera-travel

A few years ago,  I was in Manila, Phillipines,  whilst walking down a crowded street with camera bag on my shoulder, camera in my hand, looking at something to photograph, when unexpectly a guy on a moped grabbed my camera bag by the strap and his accomplice ,following behind him on another moped,  tried to cut the camera bag strap with a knife.

But he failed to cut through the Pacsafe strap and he lost control of his moped and crashed into a fruit stand when I yanked on the strap.   Fortunately, a couple of policemen were on the spot and beat the living sh*t out of him before cuffing him.

Like you,  I use to carry  camera and gear in a backpack.    I don't recommend that now, unless it's only for transporting your gear.    As you sadly realized,  thieves  can easily distract you whilst an accomplice either unzips your bag, or slits it open with a knife or razor blade and then your gear is gone.   Also carrying camera in backpack is not convenient  for being on the street ready for photography unless you are going to put the bag down to get to your gear.  I would advice  against that in crowded cities.   Same for sling bags but a bit better to use on the streets.

Those thieves in Spain, Barcelona and Madrid are the worst.   In Italy,  Rome and Milan..  In Phillipines,  Manila. in USA, New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia,  you at risk to also get mugged.    Same MO,  same results.

No more bringing a big DSLR kit when on holiday to suspect or poor countries.   Now just carry MFT or small P&S.

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michalc
Contributing MemberPosts: 565
Re: Beware of camera theft in Barcelona.
In reply to michalc, May 17, 2013

Guys, I wouldn't say they were Gypsies, more like Indians - South America, Hugo Chavez type if you know what I mean :). They were really good, looked warm & friendly and that's probably why they fooled us. I keep a mile away when I see a gypsy. Also which some urban inhabitants suggested- it was not in a crowded city street but in a park and we were all alone - probably because the weather was lousy.

Not in the right place in the right time this time...

flbrit
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,089Gear list
Barcelona.. really nice City.. Shame about the thefts
In reply to michalc, May 17, 2013

My wife and I have travelled extensively in the USA, Europe and Central/South America.

Me UK person, her USA person.

I have to say that Barcelona is the best at this kind of theft. So much so that we even had a dummy 'theft' bag in our rental car. Needless to say it got stolen in a multi story car park with valet entry. I was even warned about this by the company office, staffed by locals in Barcelona, prior to the visit.

Never the less, its a great city and well worth a visit.

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Brian
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Richard
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,839
Happens more in Europe
In reply to Mike_PEAT, May 18, 2013

I went on tour there and it is much more prevalent there than here. Not saying it doesn't happen here but it seems like they make more of a living of it over there. Found it happen in (Tourist areas) of France Spain, Italy, England.

I caught a guy with his hand in my pocket going to the Louvre on a subway car. Caught a guy acting like a tourist trying to unzip my fathers bag. Some women lost their money in a motorway restaurant.

I think in America they are more likely to try and muscle your money away from you with a gun or knife. Or they stand out on the corner asking for handouts and can make pretty good money that way. Even when I was in New York I never seen anyone being pickpocketed. Perhaps American criminals are not skill enough to do so.

Mike_PEAT wrote:

Oldest trick in the book, having a pick-pocket touch you.

Maybe it's because I live in a big city that I know how to defend myself against that happening, but there's really no excuse to be a victim!

Deleted1929
Forum ProPosts: 13,050
Moderator Warning about racial and ethnic abuse
In reply to tazmac, May 18, 2013

Every single poster blaming "Gypsies" is in trouble.

Ethnic and racial abuse of this sort is simply not acceptable behavior anywhere and is actually a criminal offense in many places.  Take your personal prejudices elsewhere.  They are not wanted on DPR.

I will be taking individual and specific actions against the relevant members.  I will get to all of them in due course.

Oh, and if ant of them had paid any attention at all to the original posters (useful) warning you'd have noted that gypsies were not in fact mentioned.  This extremely old scam is practiced in every single country on this planet by every single race.  If you don't wish to be a target of these gangs then I'd suggest you move planet - this one has them everywhere.

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StephenG

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