At 76, Josefa was able to fool the police, and everyone else around

POLICE were shocked to discover that a 76-year-old Spanish woman had been responsible for multiple robberies in the southern city of Málaga

Her record showed that she had been caught 40 times for theft, but they had never experienced such a case… never even heard of one like it!

What began with a British tourist running barefoot through Málaga, ended with the unexpected arrest of an old woman with a long, criminal history. Once caught, Josefa (fictitious name), with her missing teeth and dishevelled appearance, feigned confusion:

“Where am I? What am I doing at the police station?” she asked officers from the National Police robbery unit.

She would ask staff, so timidly, if it were possible to rent the apartments, and her polished act almost fooled the officers. Perhaps she had Alzheimer’s disease and got lost, they wondered. But when they took her fingerprints, they were stunned! Josefa had been arrested 40 times under eight different names since the 1970s. And, admitted one officer: “She almost got away with it.”

The police operation, codenamed “Net Curtain,” began in a luxury apartment in the historic centre of Málaga on 19th September. A family of Manchester tourists had rented the apartment for their holiday. While on the balcony, they saw a woman, Josefa, open the door to the property with her own key and try to steal from them.

One of the tourists yelled out and ran after her, without stopping to put on his shoes. He chased her downstairs and down the nearby streets, but had trouble catching up with her.

“The man was strong and athletic but she managed to dodge him,” said an admiring officer from the Local Police, who helped the tourist. He was barefoot, sweating and agitated, and their initial thought was: “Another drunken tourist!”

The man gestured for the police to come with him, and, a few metres away, in Los Mártires square, several members of his family had caught Josefa.

“She’s a very old-looking woman,” said Rafael J, from Málaga’s Local Police force. And, said “We found it very strange, but we could tell something odd was going on,” said municipal officer Ramón.

The officers thought the woman was just disorientated. She was wearing humble, dark clothing, as if in mourning. Her hair was dishevelled, and she looked as though she wouldn’t harm a fly.

But the person in charge of the company renting out the apartment, insisted that she had been caught inside the property. The officers went up to the luxurious home, and agreed it was “impossible” for her to have been there by accident.

Josefa was then taken into custody at the provincial police station, where, despite her convincing performance, officers were able to uncover her long, criminal history.

Robbery Unit, members were not aware of the woman, but various district police stations did. She was living in the heart of La Palmilla, one of Malaga’s most impoverished neighbourhoods, and was an expert in fooling and cheating others.

She has been a thief “all her life”, be it robbery or petty theft, but always stealing from properties. But she’s not that smart because she has been in and out of prison several times.

As she was fleeing from the tourist, Josefa, carrying 20 sets of keys, dropped two sets. These keys opened the front doors to tourist and residential apartment buildings, all owned by the same company.

The Robbery Unit had a few unsolved cases in the same area and decided to investigate further. And, fortunately for them, the cleaning and maintenance workers remembered her. “She would ask them, very timidly, if it were possible to rent apartments there, or something else,” said one officer. They also revised the security footage. Some of it had been lost, but one of the blocks still had the recordings.

In the footage to which EL PAÍS has had access, Josefa is seen checking that there is no one on the stairs, and calling the lift for the floor where she is planning a robbery.

That way, she made sure she had a minute to enter the apartments and take the first thing she could find: computers, phones, bags, cash. On one occasion, she even found €1,000 to steal.

But on 11th October, officers stopped her again, charging her with at least three more robberies, and a judge has sent her to prison. The National Police are now investigating how she was able to make copies of the keys to the tourist apartments.

Her modus operandi allowed her to steal periodically because most tourists don’t report robberies, and no one believes those who do, feeling they just want to claim insurance.

The locks are never changed, and, a few days later, there are new tenants, with new loot!

At 76, Josefa knew exactly what she was doing!



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Posted by on Oct 31 2019. Filed under Local News, World News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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