French police nabs tourist-preying thieves
by FFE EU News staff
Photo source: AFP.
Tourists can now rest easy knowing their valuables will remain safe with them while enjoying the sights of Paris’ top destinations. This is all thanks to the police who have finally smashed the gang of thieves known to prey upon unsuspecting tourists.
12 people who were believed to be part of an organised gang of petty thieves were finally arrested on Tuesday. The gang was said to pocket €2,000 a day by taking advantage of tourists in landmarks like the Louvre gallery, the Eiffel Tower and the Musée d’Orsay.
The suspects ranged from 21 and 35 years and were from Eastern Europe. Most members of this “highly structured” gang stayed in hotels in the Saint-Denis area, north of Paris.
Police captain Stephen Gouad said “After several weeks of investigation, and after collaboration with the authorities in the first arrondissement, we uncovered this team of offenders, who were conducting pickpocketing on a large scale.” The thieves’ modus operandi involved posing as tourists and carrying cameras as they looked for victims.
A police source said that the Louvre was the gang’s “main field.” The source also said that they targetted Asians because they were believed to carry large sums of money.
The crackdown on the thieves was pushed when China asked Paris to improve security for its tourists early this year after a group of Chinese travellers were robbed shortly after arriving in the city. Paris also increased police reinforcements in tourist destinations after Louvre staff staged a walk-out because of aggressive pickpockets.