It takes a neighborhood to slow a thief


Being awoken by strange humanoid grunts and screams is a great deal more common than one would think in Barcelona. Most of the time it’s a number of things such as: my less than quiet neighbors upstairs with their small child running about, my insanely loud neighbor next door talking on the phone, or the old standby of some random people waking up and deciding to have sex. At nine in the morning, the last one isn’t often the case, especially on a Sunday morning.

In this particular instance the sounds were coming from the front, on the street and ceased before E was able to get out and see what happened which meant reverse engineering this bizarre narrative that played out on an otherwise tranquil Sunday morning.

A tourist girl was strolling down my street when, as they usually do some ratty Moroccan thief came running up behind her, grabbed her purse and took off down the street. She started screaming which is what we had heard from the bed. To slow him, a neighbor from the third floor started hurtling flower pots at the thief. While I would love to see one of these assholes get what he deserves (preferably in a direct shot to the head), it would have been bad news for my neighbor as in Spain, every law on the books favors those breaking the laws as trying to stop thieves is seen as something only for the police to do, if they were ever around.

As a witness to the screams and the flower pot projectiles there was a jogger who was out for a run that morning. Feeling full of endorphins and good Samaritan-ness, he took off after the rat bastard thief and nearly caught him. The thief, sensing his impending capture, turned and told the jogger that he could have back the purse, but then made a quick dash around the guy back up the street.

As he was passing back under my building, more flower pots were hurtled in his direction, missing him yet again. The jogger hadn’t given up though and the thief ultimately dropped the purse on the floor but not before the jogger noticed he had reached in to it, undoubtedly swiping the girl’s wallet and then taking off to spend what was most likely 20€ in cash as no one carries money anymore.

Sadly, this is what it’s come to on my street which is pictured above in its previous incarnation before being torn up to make a wide pedestrian and thief-only street. It wouldn’t have made any difference if it was the old way though as my mother in-law had her necklace ripped off her by a Moroccan thief on a bicycle which, much like the jogger in the tale, E chased around the block before he got away.

Obviously the big problem in this are all the Moroccan thieves who live in the neighborhood adjacent to mine. But the other issue is that it isn’t safe to walk around in broad daylight now as there are only bars and restaurants on my street and thus the street is habitually empty, making it a glorious target for petty thieves, although in fairness, most of Barcelona’s center carries the same appeal.