Motorway warning

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rbg
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Motorway warning

Post by rbg »

Client of mine was travelling up from Barcelona yesterday in a hire car. Just outside Barcelona a motorbike pulled up parallel to them and managed to puncture their tyres .. the clients ( 5 of them) pulled off the highway and were stripped of all their belongings at knifepoint .. 2000euros, all their jewellery, watches, credit cards etc.
Apparently the gangsters target hire cars and also women travelling with kids.
Be careful out there..
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Post by carol sheridan »

I frequently travel alone in Spain, and it is difficult to know how I could be careful, apart from the fact that I drive a very battered, ten year old Nissan Micra with French plates.
My daughter and son in law will be hiring a car at Girona airport to visit me and I will advise them to drive onto the hard shoulder, keep the doors locked and telephone the international emergency number - isn't it 112? - in the event of something like this happening.
I wonder what the Spanish police are doing about these crimes?
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Kate
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Post by Kate »

Would it be ok if I quoted you more or less in the next PO Life on this? It's the kind of thing we need to warn people about but I havent heard anything about it myself!
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Post by rbg »

No prob, I'll get the full details if you like from the clients tomorrow..
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motorists beware

Post by Kathy »

This thread also warns about driving in Spain.
http://www.totalfrance.com/france/forum ... hp?t=41140
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Post by john »

My brother lives in Spain,and he tells me that this sort of activity,mostly perpetrated by Eastern European gangs,is becoming quite a problem,particularly around the big city areas.

Carol asks what is being done about it. Well,the truth is that up till now,not a great deal,but,because it doesn't sit terribly well with Spain's tourist friendly image,pressure is being put on the Guardia Civil/Mossos de Esquadra to get off their a*ses,out of the bars,and clamp down on these hijackers.

To be fair,when the Spanish Police put their mind to a "zero tolerance" campaign they do a good job,as witnessed in the clean up of Benidorm,Magalluf etc.

Time will tell.
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Kate
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Post by Kate »

No prob, I'll get the full details if you like from the clients tomorrow..
That would be brilliant - merci :D
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Post by Chris »

Beware of the La Palme services on the A9 north of Perpignan.

It is frequented by unsavoury types who will, for example, approach you when you are filling your car, carrying a 5L bidon, and ask for 1 euro (sob story about running of ouf petrol, got to visit sick child in hospital etc etc) if you don't pay attention a small urchin will deftly pinch something out of your car or wallet while you are distracted; also the scam of letting a tyre down while you are inside then offering to "help" you is very common here.
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Post by carol sheridan »

Kate, whilst you are here, so to speak, thank you for the information re the walks to the Tour de las Massane. I have started out from both ends, i.e. Valmy and Laval, but the whole walk is too much for me. Nevertheless, in the one and a half hours I did (three hours round trip) I was really delighted with the views. The paths are steep and rocky, but I take my time and use my walking stick a lot. I wouldn't like to try the paths after heavy rain, as there is quite a lot of loose scree and gravel. I was astonished when a cyclist came past me on the very narrow, incredibly steep path from the bridge at Valmy -he was bouncing down 2' drops over the large boulders. Oh, to be young and fit again.
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Post by carol sheridan »

I have seen comments on other forums to suggest that this is an urban myth - did it really happen to the clients themselves or are they reporting what was told to them by someone else? I would love to think this kind of thing doesn't happen, but I am pretty sure I have seen TV news reports of groups using 'stingers', like the police use to stop people. It is hard to see how someone on a motorbike could slash tyres of a moving vehicle.
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Post by rbg »

This is not an urban myth. The guy in question is coming to do some biz in France tomorrow - he rang me to cancel his hotel and restaurant bookings last night. He's certainly not a bullsh%tter - I'll get the whole low down later and fill you all in.
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Post by groslard »

I think people are ignoring Chris's posting
"Beware of the La Palme services on the A9 north of Perpignan.

It is frequented by unsavoury types who will, for example, approach you when you are filling your car"
This is much more common than tyre slashing etc
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Post by rbg »

No harm to be aware of all the gangsta methods .. I know I'm real blasé normally on the road .. I'll have my antenna up now for anything a bit dubious...
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Post by groslard »

I have to say that Barcelona is the worst city I have ever come across for petty theft
I had a credit card fraud and my son had his wallet lifted....
We are both very experienced travellers , who have avoided trouble in place like Hamburg and all over Asia
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Post by rbg »

Well , just off the phone to the client and he's the story from the horses mouth:
Himself and four women were trying to exit Barcelona city and were about 2 miles from the Ramblas ( ie not on the motorway). There were on a main road with 2 lane traffic, stuck at the traffic lights in their rental car, looking at maps and looking very sitting duck-like.
Two guys pulled up in a moped behind them and stabbed their back tyre. Himself didn't realise what had happened and just thought it was a puncture .. the two gangtas started banging on the window telling them that they had a flat. So himself pulls into a side street and they begin to unload all the luggage looking for the spare tyre ( there wasn't any btw - citroen car). Stranded on the roadside, with all their valuables in the car, the moped returns and one guy distracts them while the other clears out the car of all handbags and valuables ( in this case, the family jewels, 2000euros and all their passports)
A knife was pulled as they were making their getaway and after a bit of a chase by himself, the gangtas rode off into the sunset with their haul. Himself was reluctant to give chase and leave the 4 women vulnerable on the side of the street so he left them off.
The municpal police were in the vicinity and helped them out. They had to make a report etc.
Now, they are leaving from Barc on Wed with no passports .. I'll ring the Irish embassy tomorrow and see what they say.
So there you have it - car jacking Spanish style
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Post by HelenAE »

The slashing of car tyres comong out of Barcelona seems to be quite a problem. I found this when searcing for something else about the city

http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/ ... -tips.html
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Post by PaddyFrog »

carol sheridan wrote:I have seen comments on other forums to suggest that this is an urban myth - did it really happen to the clients themselves or are they reporting what was told to them by someone else? I would love to think this kind of thing doesn't happen, but I am pretty sure I have seen TV news reports of groups using 'stingers', like the police use to stop people. It is hard to see how someone on a motorbike could slash tyres of a moving vehicle.
Sorry to Disappoint everyone It happened to me! muggings!! 18 Months ago, clever, wise, Astute Londoner, Idiot Me, and I didn't see them coming. :cry:

As I was pulling up at a set of traffic lights just before lunch, a gang of what I can only describe as South American louts/ or they could have been Kosovan on Lambretta's were weaving around me, when the lights changed they were in front of me, a Motorcyclist indicated to me that I had a flat tyre, which I did on the offside rear.

Presumable he was part of the gang.

Now this is where my sensible part took over!
I drove to outside one of the main Hotels and got out, there were Scooter riders hanging around but as soon as I stopped outside the Hotel they cleared off.

We took the luggage out of the boot and transferred it into the back seat, locking the car.

I undid the nuts, jacked up the car and changed the tyre.
The Concierge came out and was Talking to Anne and told her this was a common occurrence in Barcelona.

What they do they either steal from the car when you open the boot or/and when you unload your luggage they steal that as well.

It is so bad in Barcelona that there are two Tyre places open 24 hours a day just to change tyres.

When I replaced my tyre I was the 5th that morning, and of course they charge top dollars ( or in my case Euro's).

On the Motorway stopping at the Air's is more dangerous and Tourist and Spanish equally get robbed.

The only advice I can offer is never stop on a Spanish air where you are the only vehicle, always use the Petrol Stations.

If your tyre gets punctured continue to drive until you can stop somewhere there are lots of people about, after all your tyre is knackered.

The luck of the Irish was with me, We had left early and still caught our plane to Turkey.

Incidentally travel with a French Passport to Turkey no Visa Fee, Brit, Irish and Spanish you pay one???.

I did not report it to the Police because my description would have been to vague and they would have as much chance catching them as the Police do in catching the conmen flogging Video camera's without any guts to the Tourists in Perthus.

rbg we all tend to be vigilant at home but let our guard down when on holiday.


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Post by carol sheridan »

Oh dear, Michael, I was hoping it WAS an urban myth. I think if it happened to me on a motorway I would drive onto the hard shoulder, keep all the windows/doors locked and just sound my horn continuously, until they moved off. Would that work? I don't know the number for police in Spain - would 112 be O.K.?
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Post by carol sheridan »

I would welcome any practical advice on what one should do in such circumstances.
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Post by PaddyFrog »

Carol.
The Emergency numbers are:

112 all Europe. Urgent police attention, Ambulance, Fire brigade etc.

Specifically Spain.

If you want to report assault, robbery or accident to the police 902 102 112.

Road accidents or information about weather and traffic congestion

900 123 505.

I presume you carry pepper spray in your hand bag, ( I do in the glove compartment) but if they get hold of it they can turn it against you.

They like all crooks are cowards and only target isolated area's, be prudent where you stop and be visible.

Cris has already mentioned La Palme services on the A9. the police did a raid there a few years ago and caught big time drug dealers.

I suppose we have to be restrained in our attitude, you only have to read in the UK and US papers about people who have had a go and have been knifed or kicked to death.

But I have had a go in the past numerous times and only after when the adrenalin has gone I have realised what a idiot I was, but I did it the next time.

If you maintain the air of confidence normally they will seek out someone else, but now days the Eastern European and South American thugs operate in a world where life is cheap.

As they said in "Hill Street Blues" Be careful out there.
Michael
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Post by carol sheridan »

Thank you, Michael, I have put the numbers in my diary.
I don't carry a pepper spray because I know in the UK it would be classed as an offensive weapon, and also I have no idea where I could get one.
The whole of my life here is virtually devoted to finding the MOST isolated places in which to walk, but I have always felt safer there because there is so little to attract villains. I can't see them lurking for hours on the off-chance of a mad old woman parking up a steep, unmade mountain track.
I do have to use the autoroutes occasionally, when I want to get to the airport at Girona, or go further afield in my wanderings, and I just hope that the obviously poverty-stricken nature of my car would make me less likely to be a target.
In general, although I would love to think I would fight back, I know that in the real world I value my life and limb more than my meagre possessions, so they can have my 100 euros and my bank card, which I can cancel with a phone call anyway. I am too old for heroics!
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Post by ruby »

This is what happened to us..... we were traveling down to Tarifa making stops on the way, we were on the motorway (alicante way) and pulled off at a service station to get food/use toilet! anyway my boyfriend stayed in the van but with the doors open (as it was hot) he was looking at the map having a cigarette etc.... i was inside using the facilities... so a car of lads pulled up (Spanish plate) and one of them walked inside others stayed in car and one lad approached my boyfriend - he pointed to the floor near our back tyre saying we have a leak or something, my partner thought that it could of been brake fluid or something - so he lent down to look under the van - as he did he saw somebody the other side entering into the van drivers side so he ran round and told the lad kindly!! to step back and get out ........ the guy was going for a bag and whatever else was there - he was not keen to leave the stuff, it became a scuffle then led into a fight - as my partner did not want to lose our possessions...... anyway they fought then the car pulled up beside them and the guy jumped in and off they went empty handed. This was lucky that we were (not sure how to put this - able bodied, ummm ..young - stupid some may say) but if they had a knife or the others joined in this could have been very serious.

We were in a 66 plate van and were 26/28 years of age - and i don't think we looked liked English! or the sort that they pray on.

Just thought id add this as its first hand experience.
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Post by rbg »

PaddyFrog wrote:[It is so bad in Barcelona that there are two Tyre places open 24 hours a day just to change tyres.

When I replaced my tyre I was the 5th that morning, and of course they charge top dollars ( or in my case Euro's).

Yeah, the client was more upset about paying 385euros for a new tyre than he was about the car jacking!
Daylight robbery in both cases!!!!
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Post by Steve&Julie »

Just in case it happens, where are the tyre places?
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Post by PaddyFrog »

Steve&Julie wrote:Just in case it happens, where are the tyre places?
Will try and find my bill
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Post by rbg »

Buddy of ours was here over the weekend and my partner told him the story of the "tyre slashin gangsta".
Thankfully so, as the same scam was pulled on him yesterday on his way to Barcelona airport.
He just rang there to tell us all about it - he couldn't beleive it was happening to him as the story was so fresh in his ears...
He kept driving, ruined the tyre and pulled into a busy looking hotel with lots of people milling around. The guy in the moped disappeared!
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