Gangs of foreign thieves targeting festivals in Netherlands: report
Gangs of foreign thieves are heading towards the Netherlands as the festival season kicks off, according to the Telegraaf. Every year, pickpockets steal thousands of smartphones at festivals and other events, many of which cross the border into a different country within hours, Rene Middag, coordinator of Mobile Banditry at the police, told the newspaper.
“They are really flown in for it,” Middag said. “It’s all very professional. They carry lists of events with them and communicate with other groups to make sure they get to each festival efficiently - and that they’re not at one place at the same time.”
Festival visitors make for easy targets, Middag said. “Their phones are often in sight. Because of the type of clothing, they are often in the back pocket. People think they’ll feel it if their device is taken out but believe me, they don’t. Even without distraction, it is a breeze for these pickpockets to strike.”
Many thousands of smartphones are stolen every festival season. Sometimes, the pickpockets keep their loot in lockers on the premises, but more often, they throw it over the fence to another gang member who makes off with it, Middag said. “If you want to get your smartphone back, you have to warn the police almost immediately,” he said. “The next day, the devices are often already out of the country, and then the chance that you will get your property back is very small.”