Modern day Fagins arrested in landmark raids
27 March 2006, BARCELONA — Police have arrested six Romanians for exploiting 15 children to rob tourists.
27 March 2006
BARCELONA — Police have arrested six Romanians for exploiting 15 children to rob tourists.
Tourists coming to Barcelona were the main target for the children whose parents have been accused of 600 offences of robbery, fraud and theft.
In the first case of its kind in Spain, police say they have been able to prove the suspects used the children to commit the crimes.
The case evokes comparisons with the character of Fagin in the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist. Fagin exploited gangs of child thieves to pick-pocket for a living.
Two couples were arrested in Badalona, an area on the outskirts of Barcelona, while the others were detained in Madrid, where they were hiding from police.
All the suspects were being held in custody apart from one woman who was released on conditional bail.
The children were in the care of the social services.
The operation, codenamed Bucharest, centred on three families, who together have 13 children.
Police said at least 250 crimes were committed by children Ander 14.
The suspects were named as Tanase Mihai, 39, and Daniela Mihai, 36, Cercel Gheorghe, 43, Margareta Gheorghe, 43, Anghel Paun, 40 and Adela V., aged 37.
One of the aims of the operation was to combat the bad image which the alleged crimes of these three couples were giving Barcelona as a popular tourist destination.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news