The moment you tell your friends, family and colleagues that you are visiting or moving to Barcelona one of the first things they will say is “Watch out for pickpockets”.
People are quick to tell you not to get pickpocketed, which is nice, but it’s not exactly helpful. The advice that you’ll rarely be given though is what to do after you have unfortunately been pickpocketed. From first-hand experience here is what I have found to be the best steps.
Step One – Stay Calm
This may be easier said than done. When I realized my wallet had been taken I was initially upset, that quickly turned into anger. I went through a full range of emotions, and while it may be beneficial to get those out they ultimately will not aid in getting back your possessions. Stay calm and keep a level head. You will need to take action to get back on your feet.
Step Two – File a Police Report
This is the most important step! Filling the report, unfortunately, will most likely not get your belongings back. They very rarely recover stolen items. The report itself though is required for almost every other step. A certified police report is required to get temporary travel documents, money transfers, as well as file insurance claims, if what was stolen was of high value i.e.: a camera.
To file a report head to the nearest police station, in Barcelona it is located at:
Comisaria de Policia de Barcelona (Ciutat Vella): Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 76-80
This police station has an English speaker there, which is very helpful as many Spanish police officers will not speak English.
The process to file a report will not take too long, you will be asked a few questions and asked to fill out a few forms. Make sure you receive a stamped copy of the report!
Step Three – Money
I had 10 Euros in a pocket in my purse when my wallet was stolen. It wasn’t much but it let me eat while I was sorted out what to do. It doesn’t sound like much but 10 Euros can go a long way if you spend it wisely at a grocery store. I immediately contacted my bank and informed them that my card was stolen. They put a stop on the card and fortunately it was not used. They issued me a new card, if you speak with the right representative they can often FedEx a new card to you. If you are staying in one location long enough this is a great feature to know. While you are waiting for this card to be delivered you will need money. If you have family or friends back home that you can contact do so and ask them to please wire you money. The key to getting money wired is that you need ID to get the money. If you have ID you can have money transferred through Western Union. There are many of them located throughout Barcelona. If all forms of ID were taken as well as your money then hopefully you have a photocopy. If you have a photocopy only of your ID Western Union will not accept it. But fortunately, I discovered a place called RIA Money Transfer, they as well are located throughout Barcelona. They will accept a photocopy of an ID along with a copy of your police report and you can have someone back home wire you money via their website.
Step Four – Travel Documents
If your travel documents were taken it is imperative that you begin the process of retrieving them as soon as possible. Consulates and embassies are only open at very specific times. They typically will require an appointment. However if it is an emergency, which this most likely is, and you are traveling soon you can walk in within the appropriate times and get the correct documents. Below are links for the US and UK Embassies.
They may require passport photos, it is wise to have passport style photos on hand while traveling. Once through the doors, the process to get the required travel documents is fairly simple and will only take a few hours.
Remember consulates and embassies are NOT open on weekends.
Step Five – Try to Enjoy Yourself!
Having something stolen, especially your wallet can be a stressful and traumatic experience. Rest assured though that, although it may seem like it, it is not the end of the world. Your possessions are replaceable. So once you have sorted out all that you can remember to enjoy the beautiful and amazing city that is Barcelona!