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Man arrested after 'hugging thief' attack

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09:09 CET+01:00
A man has been arrested in Gävle in northern Sweden on suspicion of having stolen a 20-year-old's wallet while doling out an impromptu hug in an apparent copycat attack of a gang operating in Stockholm.

The alleged attack occurred at 4am on Saturday morning when the man approached the 22-year-old to offer a warm embrace.

The hapless victim swiftly discovered that he had been relieved of his wallet, telephone and other valuables and pursued the man, who was later arrested.

The Local reported last week on a recent wave of unorthodox hugging attacks in Stockholm.

According to Stockholm police, the hugging thieves usually work in groups with one approaching the victim, and without any words of greeting or warning, launching forth into a full-scale hug - sometimes even lifting their victims 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.

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