25 May, 2023 @ 19:00
1 min read

Police in Spanish capital catch luxury hotel thief who even stole the room safe

A stolen room safe
National Police

POLICE in Madrid last week apprehended a 53-year-old man on suspicion of stealing items from luxury hotels in the city – including the entire safe from one room. 

The Mauritanian national was arrested by the National Police force at the Adolfo Suarez-Madrid Barajas Airport, according to Spanish daily El Pais, when he was reportedly trying to make his escape to the Canary Islands. 

He is alleged to have stolen expensive clothes, computer equipment and jewellery worth a total of €172,000. His suitcases also contained passports and cash. His victims were a group of young Canadians and a Swiss tourist. 

The alarm was first raised when the Canadians returned to their luxury apartment-hotel on Gran Vía on May 17, to find that the door had been forced and the room ransacked. 

They swiftly reported the incident – including the disappearance of a Rolex watch and their passports – to the police. 

A stolen room safe
The room safe recovered by the National Police in the man’s luggage.

The authorities managed to find the suspect on the security camera footage, in which he could be seen carrying ‘three giant suitcases’. 

The suspect, who has a criminal record for similar thefts in the Canary Islands, even asked a hotel employee to help him with the luggage as he brought it out to the street to get a taxi. 

The devices that he had stolen were showing their location at Barajas airport, according to El Pais, allowing for the police to track and arrest him. 

The officers found not only the missing belongings from the Canadians’ room, but also other items including a Louis Vuitton bag worth €27,500 and a Rolex worth €20,000. Part of that haul was, El Pais reported, inside a still-closed safe stuffed into a suitcase. 

The authorities managed to link the theft to a similar one that had taken place on the same day, from the Swiss national who was staying at a Gran Vía hotel close to the Canadians’ accommodation.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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