This page outlines site visitor Barcelona pickpocketing experiences with advice on what to do to prevent these experiences from happening to you.
Site Visitor: Jayne
Hi I've returned last night from a few days in Barcelona and wanted to share my pickpocket experience. We (myself, husband, mum and 3 boys) came out of the metro at the top of the Ramblas station, and someone felt my bum! I swivelled around expecting to see a male but only saw a group of young girls - all-around 16 to 18. I just felt confused and that I'd imagined the squeeze. We then stood around the top of the metro station close to a telephone box looking at the sight in both directions and also our 3 boys as suddenly we were surrounded by a group of girls about 8 and all young, all laughing loudly and paying no attention at all to us.
Suddenly one girl stepped back and pressed herself against me. As it was such a crowded area, I tried to shrug her off but didn't manage to. An older female about 50 was staring across the group but straight at me and didn't blink or look away. I tried to glare at her, and this is how my attention was distracted. Obviously, someone else was behind me, opening my bag and removing my purse. Afterwards, when I realized my purse had gone, my mum remembered the older woman, signalling with her hand, and then the group disappeared down the metro.
I enjoyed the remainder of my stay, apart from the fact the police were polite and kind but did not want to know my description of how my purse was stolen.
I then asked Jane what she had learned from this experience and what advice she could give to help other site visitors from falling victim to Barcelona Pickpockets.
In hindsight I would do several things differently. I knew my bottom had been felt, but when I saw young girls behind me I felt confused and that I might have imagined it.
I always thought pickpockets worked in small groups, but now I think lots of people were involved.
Throughout last Tuesday, I had struggled to find my purse myself, as my bag was so large. I had, 10 -15 minutes before it happened, bought 6 metro tickets. We stood altogether while my husband figured out how to use the machine for the first time. I gave him the money, holding my purse in my hand. I am now sure, there was someone stood around me, who saw me holding all the money. I'm guessing they then sent a text or telephoned someone else, and told them, who then followed me, knowing I would get to the top of the underground, and then not know where to go.
I know from experience, mobiles don't work on the London underground, but we all noticed how many people were using mobiles while underground in Barcelona.
I was also falsely reassured by young, pretty girls leaning against me, as they were all chatting and laughing and paying me no attention at all.
I also knew not to stand on street corners and to look at a map, but we were just so overwhelmed by choice of places to go at the road junction that our attention went. In future, I would stand against a building with my back to it, while I choose where to go.
I just wanted to find a site like yours, so I could warn other people of the scam. I kept telling people this week about it, but there are so many others who don't know. Only by spreading the word about Barcelona pickpockets, will more and more people become aware.
Editor's note Thank you Jayne for sharing your experiences
Barcelona Pickpocketing - The infamous Bird Poo Scam
We, too, were robbed in Barcelona. While crossing Mallorca Street at Napols, we were splashed with a liquid that looked and smelled like bird poo. A man in his 20's, walking behind us, said he had witnessed a bird flying over. He offered to go to his apartment & get us water. We stood in what we thought to be the lobby of his apartment (he had a key to the building) while he helped us clean. We then took a cab back to our hotel, only to find that we had no money to pay the driver-we had been cleaned of our money and credit cards by that helpful guy. The next day, we went back to the same area and met 4 people who had just been robbed in a similar manner. This time, the robber was on a motorcycle. He, too, offered them water for cleaning, entered a different building with a key and helped them clean. Between the 6 of us, we lost almost €1,000.00, plus credit cards and other ID. As earlier reported, the Barcelona police weren't interested in investigating these crimes. Even though we had excellent details (addresses, descriptions) to report to the police, they couldn't be bothered investigating. These thieves are very accomplished, and the scam is designed for robbing couples. Tourists beware - Barcelona is fraught with crime and the police are of little help.
There are steps that can be taken to prevent these types of incidents from happening. I have only been robbed once in 13 years in Barcelona. Thieves look for tourists to prey on. Unfortunately, many tourists are unaware of what to do to reduce the chance of this type of incident from happening.
For more information on safety steps to prevent Barcelona pickpocketing and scams I recommend you read my Barcelona Safety Article.
Bernadette Barcelona Pickpocket Experience.
Country: Northern Ireland
I have just read Jayne's experience of pickpockets in Barcelona. They are up to all the tricks imaginable.
I was sitting with my son and his partner at a table on the pavement. A woman about 30 came over to beg with a small cup. We had given before so said we had no change (which was true).
About 3 minutes later whilst we were eating our breakfast, a few girls in their early teens stopped near our table and were discussing us. They then just came over to the table and started moving our plates and cups etc.
This clearly was a distraction, for the pickpocket, as they just left.
I checked I had my bag, Claire had her bag. However, my son's wallet, which had been sitting on the table was gone.
I believe that the older women are not really begging but checking where your belongings (mobiles, wallets, cameras etc.). She then texts/phones and the young girls do the rest.
We knew about the Barcelona Pickpockets, and we were taking what we thought were precautions - however, they are like magicians.
Editor; I then asked Bernadette what she would do differently in hindsight
If I were to go back in time, I think wearing a body belt with valuables might help - also do not leave any handbags or valuables sitting on tables in bars, restaurants etc. Also, beware of the women begging - they are not as innocent as they may look.