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Image captured by CCTV of one of the alleged thefts. SUR
Crime

Wave of shoplifting thefts hits Costa del Sol town: 'I've suffered 10 attacks in two weeks'

Owners of local pharmacies, supermarkets and shops have reported a spate of around 50 incidents, allegedly involving just two individuals, to police

Eugenio Cabezas

Torre del Mar

Tuesday, 26 December 2023, 16:33

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Business owners in Torre del Mar, on the eastern strip of the Costa del Sol, have reported a spate of around 50 shoplifting thefts in recent weeks to police.

"I am desperate, I have been robbed at least 10 times in less than two weeks," said Alfonso Monllor, who has a pharmacy in the Velez-Málaga municipality. The pharmacist told SUR a dozen businesses in the centre of the coastal town have also been targeted in recent weeks, totalling more than 50 attacks.

Monllor provided CCTV images of the alleged thieves operatinging in broad daylight to SUR. "They are easily identified, they are two men, about 40 years old. They have been caught and released, and the court does not send them to prison because they are petty thefts, committing crimes without violence," the pharmacist said.

National Police also showed Monllor at least 50 complaints from other businesses in the past few weeks, he added.

"I have even stayed inside the shop at night because I was afraid that they would keep stealing from me," Monllor, who has been running the business in Torre del Mar for more than two decades, said. "The staff are afraid, they chase after them and sometimes they throw away what they have stolen: creams, packs of medications, warming blankets etc. They are not very expensive products, but, little by little, it adds up," he pointed out.

According to Monllor, the alleged thieves, when they are startled by store employees, run away, although they have also confronted some workers, such as the manager of a nearby Mercadona supermarket. "They don't use violence, but they do argue, and until there is some serious physical violence they are not going to stop, how long do we have to keep putting up with this situation?" he asked.

The thieves have reportedly targeted the area around the central Calle del Mar, a pedestrianised area with many businesses. "There is more vigilance, but neither the Local Police nor the National Police can do anything if they are let loose again by the courts," Monllor said.

Drop in crime

Police sources confirmed to SUR they are investigating several dozen reports of alleged thefts and robberies in businesses in Torre del Mar. The central government sub-delegation in Malaga made "an appeal for calm among business owners and residents" and pointed out how crime statistics in the province show "there has been a decrease in the number of thefts and robberies in Malaga". However, "alarm bells ring" when there are "occasional outbursts" like this current one in Velez-Malaga.

The association of traders and entrepreneurs of Torre del Mar (ACET) said in a statement: "We have contacted the authorities and state security forces, so that together, we can resolve this situation as soon as possible.

"We would like to thank the police for their presence and, above all, for the prompt response to our calls. However, we know that putting an end to these acts is a complicated task. For this reason, we ask for everyone's cooperation and that we do everything in our power to solve the problem as soon as possible and avoid further damage. Let us not forget that together we are stronger".

It is not the only area of Malaga province that has suffered a wave of robberies in recent weeks. In Malaga city, the shopkeepers of La Virreina and Ciudad Jardín have been on alert after experiencing around a dozen thefts. The police investigation suggests the attacks were carried out by an individual, who usually used manhole covers to break shop windows. The alleged perpetrator has now been arrested and is in custody.

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