A recent study revealed Barcelona to be one of the worst places for pickpockets on holiday, fortunately some of the thieves are extremely stupid.
A man was filmed stealing a bag from a beachgoer in the middle of a live interview on national television. The mini drama that unfurled was captured accidentally.
Police say they were able to identify the shameless robber using footage from the unbelievably brazen televised raid.
National broadcaster TVE was interviewing tourists about why they had returned to the Catalonian capital this summer. As the tourist was extolling the virtues of "beautiful beaches and clean, cold water" a topless bather can be seen turning his back on a beach bag.
Stepping towards the beach, it takes less than six seconds for a second man to pick up the bag, discard a towel and walk off with the bather's belongings.
Moments later the victim can be seen frantically asking passers by where his bag is. A trio of women with paddleboards to help and the victim can be seen pacing up and down distraught.
Fortunately the 60 second televised drama captured enough clues to help Barcelona's Guardia Urbana to track down the bag. They say that they were able to return some of the possessions to the bather who acknowledged it had been his good fortune that the entire thing was caught on camera.
"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," Barcelona's Guàrdia Urbana police force said this weekend.
Barcelona has earned a reputation for being a hotspot for petty crime targeting foreign tourists. As one of the busiest ports of call for international visitors police crime figures show there are almost 225 stolen property complaints a day - over 34,000 in the first half of this year.
Away from the beaches the famous pedestrianised walkways of Las Ramblas were recently revealed to be one of the worst places for run-ins with pickpockets in Europe. A recent survey of Tripadvisor reviews showed over 3,270 people had written to complain about "pickpockets".
Petty crime levels are back on par with pre-pandemic records.
Police crime figures show almost 1000 arrests in connection with thefts in the first half of this year.
Earlier this year the Catalonian state created a special branch of the police called "relojeros" - or "watchmen" - to crack down on organised gangs of pickpockets.