Police put squeeze on hugger muggers

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Alicante National Police headquarters Photo: National Police

National Police have arrested two young women and a man accused of stealing jewellery from elderly people by using the so-called ‘hugger mugger’ technique to distract victims with unwarranted displays of physical affection directed in the street.
An investigation into several of these offences in various parts of Alicante found that the thieves took advantage of elderly victims’ ‘defencelessness and innocence, gaining their confidence’, and used hugs, lies and any other manipulation technique to take jewellery they were wearing, according to a spokesperson for the force.
The criminals moved around in different vehicles between the beach and commercial areas looking for people over the age of 70 who were wearing visible jewellery.
One or both of the women would approach the elderly person, paying them compliments and touching them in order to take any valuables without being noticed, or if this were not possible snatching necklaces, bracelets or watches off without causing serious injuries.
In the meantime, the man would be waiting nearby in a vehicle for his accomplices to make a quick getaway.
A patrol saw two women suspiciously looking around in the sort of area typically targeted by the criminals, who were accompanied by a man and went to leave when they noticed the officers, the spokesperson continued.
The suspects, who are aged between 24 and 30 and of Romanian origin, were intercepted by another patrol as they tried to escape in one of the vehicles the investigation was looking into.
They were arrested based on ‘evidence which incriminated them directly’ and found to be wanted by police in other parts of Spain, which resulted in them being accused of 16 crimes committed against elderly people in San Vicente and Alicante in this province, Xiribella (Valencia), Málaga, and Alcantarilla and Cartagena in Murcia.

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