The long-standing problem of pickpocketing in the old city center of Mostar this year culminated in the appearance of an organized group of criminals who, pretending to be refugees from Syria, rob tourists and citizens and scatter counterfeit money, in which they were caught several times.
This information was confirmed by the police of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton (HNC), as well as the director of the Mostar Tourist Board, Mensud Durakovic, who interrupted his vacation in order to solve this problem and asked the HNK Ministry of the Interior for an intensified police patrol.
“There has always been pickpocketing during the tourist season and it is not just an issue of Mostar but every tourist place. But what is happening in Mostar in the past few days is unbearable, because people who work and live in the old town do not see how to deal with it. I had to ask for more police involvement, ” Durakovic told.
He explained that the police in this tourist part of Mostar are patrolling in civilian clothes, but that the problem has become so widespread that citizens, traders, and tourist workers daily face robberies, distribution of counterfeit money, and aggression by criminal groups in Mostar.
“I am glad that the police reacted immediately and further intensified the police patrols,” noted Durakovic, stating that this problem cannot be solved without the professional help of the police.
That the situation is extremely difficult has been confirmed by many traders and caterers who said that there is no day without a dramatic situation due to some of the criminal acts.
The owner of a souvenir shop explained that the other day he caught a person in his shop who, under the guise of a woman from Syria, tried to steal a wallet from a tourist’s bag.
“Fortunately, she didn’t succeed, since we noticed her in time, but she escaped and we couldn’t catch her,” said the owner of the Mostar souvenir shop, stating that this is just one in a series of examples.
What is worst in this story, according to people in the old part of the city, is the fact that they found out for themselves that this is an organized group coming from Romania or Bulgaria and while pretending to be refugees from Syria, one person seeks compassion from the one to whom he is addressing, while another robs the same person.
“It’s an organized group that obviously has a well-thought-out work plan. It’s mostly men who tell sad stories with small children and ask for help with food, while their associates rob that person. There’s also a large number of people playing covered Muslim women, and in fact, they have jeans and tans under their dresses, so they can easily change their clothes on the run,” explained the owner of one of the facilities, Klix.ba writes.