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The moment where the suspect allegedly strangled his first victim, a shop assistant in a supermarket in Ciudad Jardín Fuengirola Se Queja
Crime

This is how police arrested the 'mataleón' thief after he strangled two women in Malaga

The thief would allegedly surprise his victims from behind, causing them to lose consciousness, before robbing them

Irene Quirante

Malaga

Wednesday, 1 May 2024, 13:02

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She sensed footsteps behind her and, almost automatically, fear struck. A woman walking alone at night usually has all of her senses on alert. It was not that late and, as she turned around, she saw that a very tall, burly man had been walking a few metres behind her in the Suárez area of Malaga city. She was worried, but tried to remain calm.

The woman decided to cross the street and make a detour, instead of going straight home, to check if the man was really following her. Her fear was confirmed. The suspect, a 40-year-old man originally from Cameroon, then lunged at her and allegedly put his arm around her neck. He was trying to strangle her in an attempt to rob her.

She was able to react and shouted as loudly as she could for help. The man allegedly tried to punch her to stop her resisting, but she fortunately avoided the swing. The suspect ended up fleeing without achieving his goal.

It happened on Sunday 28 April about 11.30pm. The victim, still trembling, called the National Police force and told them what had just happened. She described the attacker as very tall, wearing green trousers and a green T-shirt with a military print.

When she gave a description of the thief, the officers knew it was probably the same man who had robbed a supermarket in Ciudad Jardín a few days earlier. They had seen the video recordings of the store, which showed him allegedly robbing a shop assistant using the "mataleón" technique, robbing someone while keeping the victim in a stranglehold. He then locked the woman in the shop's toilet.

Two plainclothes officers heard the alert about the second victim and, from the direction the robber made his escape, suspected he might have headed towards the north of the city. The police were in an unmarked vehicle when they saw the man running across a street in the Arroyo de los Ángeles area.

The officers became suspicious as he seemed to match the description given by the last victim. They approached him with one of the officers asking him for street directions to find out close-up if his clothing matched the description given by the woman.

The would-be thief must have sensed it was a police officer and ran away from him, running through several streets in an attempt to lose him. After a few minutes the police team managed to catch up with him. However, according to sources, the resistance he put up was such that, despite being reduced by the plainclothes officers, they needed the support of more police patrols to arrest him.

Once he was detained, it was clear to the officers that it was the same thief who had allegedly robbed the shop assistant at the supermarket in Ciudad Jardín. The victim he had tried to rob that night recognised him on the spot without any doubts.

The suspect himself, according to sources, allegedly admitted his actions. Apparently, while the officers were putting him in handcuffs, he tried to convince them he was sorry: "I'm not going to do it any more", he said.

The man, it seems, was an old acquaintance of the police in Malaga, although he had not been seen in the city for some time, until he allegedly was responsible for the two robberies - one of them attempted - on two women in just four days.

On Tuesday 30 April, the arrested man was brought before the court, which ordered him to be remanded in custody on bail "for robbing several people". He is being investigated for one of these robberies with violence.

The "mataleón" technique consists of surprising victims from behind by passing their arm around their neck which causes them to lose consciousness. At that point, the thief steals their belongings and flees. This is an extremely dangerous manoeuvre as it can lead to respiratory and neurological injuries and even death.

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