Through Laurent Derne
It all happened in a flash. Wednesday September 8, 2021, Pierre * has just been Toulouse metro, when it is prepared by a stranger.
“He approached with a smile”
“He looked like a minor. At most, I would say he was in his twenties, assures the young man, barely older. He approached me, in front of the Balma-Gramont shopping center. He was smiling and asking me where we were. It was around 11 am, but oddly enough, there was no one around in the parking lot ”.
Funny and first of all friendly, the individual simulate a judo hold putting his hands on Pierre. Naturally suspicious, the latter vis-à-vis that the bag thrown over his back is still closed and that laptop and wallet line his pockets well.
“He left smiling. I thought he was just a jerk. But in the evening, while telling the story to my girlfriend, I automatically ran my hand over my neck: my chain was no longer there … ”.
Isolated individuals or structured mafias?
It is a sad reality in Toulouse, as in other large metropolises. From snatch jewelry thieves (or by trickery) are rampant on public roads and in public transport.
Do they work for mafia groups, like these beggars condemned to bring back a minimum of 50 euros per day to their “clients” in the Pink City, under penalty of being mercilessly punished?
“More than the work of structured networks, it is more about opportunity flights, often committed by individuals posing as unaccompanied or unaccompanied minors. In general, they originate from Eastern country (Bosnia, Romania) or Maghreb », A police source at Toulouse news.
The price of gold soared since 2018
Opportunistic thieves. And knowing how to count. After four years of stability, the gold prices are spread upward since 2018. The price per ounce has been around 1,520 euros (or around 50 euros per gram, editor’s note), against 1,020 euros three years earlier. UN 50% deposit which obviously did not escape the thugs.
Especially since at the same time, shops for buying gold from individuals have emerged as a surge of porcini mushrooms in a mossy undergrowth. Convenient for transformer old granny ring – recently disappeared – cash. But just as ideal, despite the legality of the business, for those who will take the risk of slipping off stolen goods.
She meets her thief again … the next day
On August 5, 2021, a 76 year old woman is assaulted when leaving a toilet room for dogs, in the Saint Michel district. Thrown to the ground by a man who tears off her necklace. Damage: 2,000 euros. By chance, she meets her attacker again … the next day, and has him shut up by alerting the Anti-crime squad (BAC).
Thursday September 2, two thieves fascinated by everything that shines, like the eponymous film, are brought before the children’s judge for indictment. Necklaces, chains, suspended wedding ring, curb chain, medal … “In three months, they had committed seven robberies in downtown Toulouse and on public transport,” lists an investigator.
“This chain belonged to my father”
The jewel that Pierre wore around his neck when he left the Balma-Gramont metro was only worth around thirty euros. “But this chain had a huge sentimental valuebecause my father wore it when he was young. I wanted to pass it on in my turn, ”he laments.
Similar case, on September 21, on the side ofEsquirol. A stranger tries to coax a septuagenarian whose husband is struggling to move. Rejected, the unwelcome comes back to ask for a cigarette. He takes the opportunity to tear off the lady’s necklace – “A gift from the husband” – and run away at full speed. A police patrol which is on the spot the plate on the ground.
Funny gift under the Ramblas tree
Examples abound. And still it is only a question of established facts, of which the police force was seized. December 2019, under the (news) tree Ramblas on avenue Jean-Jaurès, a 56 year old woman has his collar torn off during or during a telephone conversation. Thanks to the testimony of teenagers, the LAC finds the thief who was trying to resell the jewel a few minutes later, in the neighborhood Arnaud bernard.
The police services refuse to communicate precise figures. But they evoke trends, based on their area of expertise **.
“The theft of jewelry on the public highway by trickery or with violence is an entrenched phenomenon, a common practice, like the theft of cellphones or drug trafficking. It mainly affects Toulouse. Over the 2018-2020 period, it has increased slightly, despite the confinements. Since the start of 2021, a very slight decrease has been recorded ”.
Melted to finish in ingots
Last year, in August, a 89 year old woman is assaulted at Pradettes, in front of her home. A thug tears off his collar and rushes off. This young man of 18 years “well known” by the police force will be found thanks to the video surveillance.
But often it is already too late. The jewel was sold on the parallel market, sold at a low price to unscrupulous or irremediably buyers fondue, to finish in ingots. And the opportunities are plentiful.
A trio stopped in flag with 7 necklaces in the pockets
4 a.m., Sunday September 26, 2021, boulevard Carnot, in Toulouse. The BAC is in hiding when it surprises three individuals, two men aged 21 and 28, and a young girl of 17, making friends with night owls. Very tactile, the trio embraces tired revelers. Until one of them, who is probably less so than the others – starts chasing after them.
The starting signal for the police officers who question the three thugs. In the young girl’s bra, the chain stolen a few moments earlier from the firecracker night owl. By searching them further, the police found on them seven necklaces and a stolen phone. Probably in the evening.
From a police source, the two adults were sentenced, Wednesday, September 29, in immediate comparison, to 5 months in prison, and immediately imprisoned in the remand center of Seysses (Haute-Garonne). Their accomplice is summoned before the children’s judge.
The wheelchair does not put him off
In March 2020, a 76 year old woman control oneself in Wheelchair answer the doorbell ringing at his door, neighborhood Saint-Cyprien.
A (fake) postman monopolizes him for a futile pretext before throwing himself on his gold necklace with a value of 10,000 euros. A 59-year-old thief finally found by the police. In prison, for a dozen other facts.
Watch out for festive places where alcohol flows freely
An investigator deciphers the techniques of the thugs:
If the thief acts alone, he often works snatch. He spots his target and rushes forward. If they are in a group, the first distracts the victim’s attention, often with kindness, the second steals the jewel and the third hides it on him and walks away, to dilute the responsibilities and be able to deny if necessary. These teams favor festive places where the concentration of alcoholic people is high, but also public transport, for the promiscuity they offer …
Better then avoid conspicuously wearing jewelry in public space, especially when they are of any value. And be wary of strangers a little too much friendly, including heavy braces and “Are you okay, brother?” “, dixit the police, often betray less avowable intentions.
Pierre, for his part, works on his qualities as a physiognomist. “Ever since this guy stole from me, I’ve been attentive to people around me. If I meet him, I recognize him. I would like to say two words to him… ”.
* The first name has been changed
** Toulouse, Blagnac, Colomiers, Tournefeuille and Saint-Gaudens, i.e. an area with more than 600,000 inhabitants, according to 2018 data from INSEE.
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