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‘Hugging’ thieves baffle Stockholm police

The Local/og · 8 Feb 2012, 14:50

Published: 08 Feb 2012 14:50 GMT+01:00

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“Even men have fallen victim,” said Gunnar Thun of Stockholm police to newspaper Metro.

“But in those cases it’s more of an embrace or a pat on the back.”

According to Stockholm police, one of the thieves usually approaches the victim, and without any words of greeting or warning, hugs the victim - sometimes even lifting them off the ground.

Meanwhile, an accomplice who is aware of the location of the victim’s valuables, takes the chance to pinch things from his or her pockets.

More than 20 people have so far been robbed by the gang, which have occurred over the past two weeks, mostly in the central districts of Södermalm and Gamla Stan, according to the Metro newspaper.

Police say that the victims are usually young girls and the missing valuables are mostly wallets and iPhones.

According to police, the attacks have mostly happened at night and the offenders’ details are sketchy.

They are now issuing warnings to residents and visitors to Stockholm to be wary of tactile strangers.

Story continues below…

The descriptions of the offenders are varying, and police have concluded that there could be as many as four members in the gang, according to the paper.

The Local/og (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:39 February 8, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
If they get caught, will their sentence be reduced for their gentle approach, or will this be classified as robbery and battery, since there is no other legal definition of theft that involves physical contact with or physical restraint of the victim?
15:43 February 8, 2012 by @s-reader
Do they ask for permission before they hug?
15:46 February 8, 2012 by chemo007
Are there girls in this gang?
15:49 February 8, 2012 by hipersons1
Just what Swedes need, another reason to avoid any contact whatsoever with strangers.
16:23 February 8, 2012 by BritVik
'Love me' but 'love my iPhone even more . . . .
16:26 February 8, 2012 by Roy E
Robbery and a hug, how sweet!
18:05 February 8, 2012 by Svensksmith
Another example of (t)huggery.
19:32 February 8, 2012 by nar klockan klamtar
In reality it is criminal assault in pursuance of robbery, and the criminals should be charged as such when brought to court.
19:45 February 8, 2012 by StockholmSam
This probably wasn't the happy ending the victims were hoping for.
01:07 February 9, 2012 by Daveo
It does not take too much to baffle the Stockholm Polis.
07:00 February 9, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
..one answer could be for the potential victim to have perpetual 'BO' or halitosis, as a deterrent
08:58 February 9, 2012 by CJ from Sunshine Desserts
Classic technique, distraction.....The other one is guys going round on bikes looking for folk talking on Android phones, cyckle by & grab..bye-bye telephone..come on Swedes get street-wise!
09:45 February 9, 2012 by John.Smith
Mouse trap in the jacket pocket should sort that out.
10:23 February 9, 2012 by Dave N
More well trained graduates of the Roma Academy of Crime honing their skills on the streets of Stockholm, I'd guess. You've got to hand it to them... they're simply the best. (And if you don't hand it to them, they just take it anyway!)
11:28 February 9, 2012 by ride
maybe they use other way to steal but not hugg,,swedes dont hugg much,they dont like contact with others
11:59 February 11, 2012 by Fredio
This is a really sad news, it will make the already closed Swedes, to turn totally Closed-UP.

More sad news for normal foriegners that are open and interested in getting to know Swedes, or befriend the 'hard to get people'...

I hope it won't be driven to a scare campaign to further demonise innocent friendly foreigners in Sweden, because that will be an evil wind that blows no one any good.

Ironic though that all the CCTV, every meter around Stockholm, the supposed huggers of guld..

Now to the hugger mafias, why not go hug the moving train instead? Sure there's more to grab that way..

To Swedes, a lesson: Such things can easily happen in a society like Sweden, where people don't think it's their business to look after one another! It is heart breaking to watch people walk pass by fellow human being in trouble, because to them it is the job of the 'police' or 'ambulance folk' to take care of them..
20:32 February 13, 2012 by bethrichardson
I'm American, and I still can't imagine allowing a complete stranger to hug me. How awkward!
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