The campaign launched jointly by the Urban Guard of Barcelona and the Mossos d’Esquadra in May against watch thieves has resulted in the arrest of 229 people and a first judicial sentence that prohibits two detainees from approaching a hotel and the Casino of Barcelona , both next to the Port Olímpic of the city. The operation, called Titani, was launched last May after detecting a boom in luxury chronograph thefts, especially from tourists, in an upward trend that had already been registered in 2019, before the pandemic. This type of theft already represents 7.5% of all violent robberies registered in the city, in a spiral that affects the main cities with a strong tourist impact.

In the case of the two people who have been prohibited from approaching the place where they carried out their assaults, the way of acting of the gangs of thieves has a very defined pattern. One of them arrived in the area by car, used for the subsequent escape, and together with others they carried out surveillance tasks on possible victims. Once one was decided, two more people came into play, one to distract the wearer of the watch with a question and another was in charge of executing the robbery by means of a violent assault. The entire group communicated through mobile phones and headphones to warn about the presence of police in the area.

The three detainees are free but neither local nor regional police have evidence that they have been arrested again. Criminal groups specialized in this type of crime are usually roaming and when they notice police pressure they flee the country to avoid convictions.

The latest operation involving the violent theft of watches recently ended with the arrest of five people and the identification of two more. In a first phase, three people between the ages of 35 and 42 were arrested as alleged perpetrators of four crimes of robbery with violence, two minor injuries and one belonging to a criminal group and the intervention of money, watches and half a kilo of hashish. This week two more people were arrested in Santa Coloma de Gramenet.

The so-called “Titani group”, since its constitution on May 23 and until October 16, has resolved 114 investigated cases, and has assumed the investigation of another 34 red-handed arrests made by police units on public roads.

The Mossos, after the summer tourist season, maintains its action plan called Tremall to fight against multi-recidivism in the city, with violent robberies on public roads. The Mossos Territorial Unit for Multi-Reoffenders is in charge of investigations related to specialized organized criminal groups with high geographical mobility. His latest operation has dismantled a gang of seven people.

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By Chavez

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