A highly organised gang of luxury watch snatchers are operating in the areas of Portals and Costa d’en Blanes. The Bulletin has learned that the gang has been at large for the past three months, but with the start of the summer season and an increase in people, it has significantly stepped up its activities.
During this week, the there have been four successful 'snatches' and five failed attempts. The 'snatchers' are all women of eastern European origin, according to one victim who contacted the newspaper and reported the incident to the police. They are operating in Portals high street, near shops frequented by foreign residents and in Costa d’en Blanes car parks.
For example, a man in his mid-70s, who uses a walking stick, was walking along Portals high street with his wife when they were approached by a woman "speaking a strange language." In the course of the brief exchange of words, the woman managed to snatch an extremely expensive watch off the man’s arm.
On another occasion this week, a leading local businessman was in the process of parking his car in a Costa d’en Blanes car park when a young woman appeared and guided him into the parking space. Once parked, he got out, asked the woman if she worked for the car park and before he knew anything, she had snatched his expensive watch.
The list goes on and residents are becoming increasingly concerned for their safety as the number of incidents rises. "The woman who I fell victim to was either Romanian or Bulgarian and they are very well organised. What they are doing in the car parks is looking out for expensive vehicles and then targeting the driver on the assumption that he will be wearing an expensive watch."
A leading businessman who has been in the area for decades said yesterday that he had been driving a friend, whose watch had been snatched to the police station to file a report, when they spotted one of the women.
"We followed her for a while and then suddenly a car pulled up and she got in and it sped off. These people know exactly what they are doing and show no signs of fear. This makes us all worried that until they are caught, the gang will continue operating in the area throughout the summer. Who knows, they could start targeting wealthy holidaymakers next."
Britons, a German and a Swede have all fallen victims to the watch snatchers.
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