Suspected Thief Caught in Background of Live TV Interview

A man who was filmed on live TV allegedly stealing a bag on a beach in Barcelona has been arrested, police have confirmed.

The incident occurred while a tourist was being interviewed on Sant Miquel beach by Spain's TVE news station about why he loves the Catalan city.

In the clip, the man can be heard extolling the virtues of the city's "beautiful beach and clean, cold water."

However, the actions of a man decked out in a dark blue vest, black sweatpants and baseball cap caught the eye of viewers at home and the broadcasters.

In the video, he can be seen approaching an unattended black bag. He is shown seemingly looking inside the bag before picking it up and making a swift exit.

Seconds later, a man can be heard shouting. According to 20 Minutos, the voice heard was that of the apparent bag owner, saying that he was robbed.

The man taking the bag was caught on camera, prompting the news station behind the broadcast to put its weight behind efforts to apprehend the suspect.

Marta Ribas told 20 Minutos: "When we got to the newsroom and saw those recorded images, that's when we realized what had happened and we brought it to the attention of the police."

On Sunday, police confirmed they had apprehended the suspect, attributing the arrest to the video provided by TVE.

"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," the Guàrdia Urbana said in a statement.

Crime remains a source of serious concern in Spain with a Eurostat report from earlier this year finding it has witnessed almost treble the average number of robberies seen across Europe.

Incidents of this kind were a source of particular concern in Barcelona prior to the pandemic with El Pais reporting that, in 2018, the city witnessed a robbery every 12 hours.

While there is a distinction between robberies and thefts, with the former involving the use of force, the El Pais report stressed that the majority of these robberies "tend not to be violent."

In June, American travel influencers Mel and Erik went viral after sharing a video highlighting how they ended up being robbed during a visit to a restaurant in Barcelona.

A security camera at the venue captured the theft, which saw the perpetrator sneak one of their purses off a nearby chair before escaping with his ill-gotten gains.
Mel and Erik live in Spain but felt it was important to share the clip in order to encourage others to stay vigilant of these kinds of crimes.

A screenshot from a TVE interview.
The TVE interview. A holidaymaker was speaking about the virtues of a visit to the beach in Barcelona when the alleged thief struck. TVE