A FEMALE thief who ‘hugged’ victims in a tight embrace was caught red-handed trying to steal from an elderly man in a Costa Blanca golf course car park.

The activities of a 39-year-old woman- a Romanian national- prompted the Guardia Civil to launch operation ‘Jewel23’ after several hugging robberies in the Pilar de la Horadada area.

Her technique involved an elderly target being asked for information by her and she responds by getting the victim into a bear-hug to show her thanks, while stealing jewellery or a wallet.

In the event she encounters resistance, she would not hesitate to produce a violent response.

In March, officers had identified the woman and followed her to a car park at the Las Ramblas golf course on the Orihuela Costa.

She approached an elderly man but he thwarted her robbery which was recorded on video and the Guardia Civil arrested her.

The woman had multiple records for the same crime, and like with numerous other ‘huggers’, she always banked on getting bailed so that she could continue plundering in another part of Spain.

This time an Orihuela judge thought differently and sent her packing to prison ahead of her trial.

Hugging gangs- mainly non-Spaniards- have operated across the east coast of the country for a decade and have mainly targeted elderly people and tourists.


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