Video Shows Thief Stealing Bag on Beach During Live TV Broadcast

Caught red-handed.

A thief was caught stealing an unattended bag live on camera, during a broadcast from a beach in Barcelona, Spain. We're guessing he didn't see the camera—but it ended up being a huge mistake, as authorities used the footage to catch the criminal. Read on to learn what happened and about other thieves who accidentally made themselves famous.

Barcelona the Beautiful

YouTube/@ CrónicaBalear

The crime was captured in real-time while a tourist was being interviewed by Spain's TVE state broadcaster. While the interviewee was waxing lyrical about Barcelona's "beautiful beach and clean, cold water," the thief can be seen entering the shot in the background. He casually picks up the backpack and walks off with it. Soon afterward, the owner of the bag enters the shot and starts desperately searching for his property.


YouTube/@ CrónicaBalear

Police were able to track down the criminal and bring him to justice, thanks to the live video which was posted online. "Thanks to a video published […] on social media and the victim's complaint, today we identified and charged the perpetrator of a theft on Sant Miquel beach," Barcelona's Guàrdia Urbana police force said on Sunday. The stolen possessions were returned to their owner.

A Tourist Hotspot

YouTube/@ CrónicaBalear

Barcelona has long been a popular tourist destination—the city gets around 27 million visitors a year pre-COVID. Locals in Barcelona haven't always been happy with the influx of people taking over the city. "We've had a break from tourists for a year to think about how we want to deal with them," says Xavier Marcé, Barcelona's councilor for tourism and creative industries.

Barcelona Crimewave

Police officers on the bikes with flashing lights at night time traffic.

This bag-snatching incident is sadly not unusual in Barcelona—the city has become a street crime hotspot, with approximately 225 thefts reported every day between January and the end of May 2022. 27 instances of violent theft were recorded in the same period. Even the Afghan ambassador to Spain was mugged earlier in August, when thieves took off with the diplomat's watch. Deputy mayor and head of security, Albert Batlle announced a plan in May 2022 to attempt to deal with Barcelona's notorious pickpockets. "We don't want to spend this summer as though it's a hopeless fate that we have to submit ourselves to, like one of the plagues of Egypt," he said during a press conference.

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Smile, You're On Camera


Thieves are increasingly finding themselves being recorded in these days of live social media broadcasts and phone cameras. A man in Shubra Al-Khaimah, Egypt unwittingly broadcast his face to 20,000 viewers after stealing a journalist's phone during a livestream. He was found and arrested just a few hours later and taken to a police station where he made a full confession (although he could hardly deny it at that point). The moral of the story? There's always someone watching.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more
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