(Romanian) Criminal Minds

You might remember I wrote a nifty little post about promoting fear in the press a short while back. Well lately the British media has been in full force, scaring their readers about dem ole sneaky snake Romanians (don’t you know they’re from Eastern Europe? Run for your lives!)

Here’s one from the “Daily Mail”, a rather sleazy gossip newspaper, with a piece about how Romanian gypsies build giant mansions near Unicorn City, all paid for by crimes in England. What crimes you ask?

These are the gaudy mansions the family of Roma gipsies built after stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds from commuters, snatching mobile phones and cash as they dozed on late-night trains from London to Kent.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds sterling stolen from sleeping passengers? Damn that’s a lot of pockets being picked, eh? But why are these British commuters carrying so much cash and why are they such easy targets? Ahh this is why (scroll to bottom of linked article):

They [the gypsies] were captured on CCTV boarding trains just before midnight, knowing that many of the commuters would be drunk.


And if that weren’t enough, apparently there’s a “chewing gum mafia” operating in Britain wherein gangs of Romanian are stealing as much as 800 pounds sterling (jackpot!) worth of gum! How dare they?

My favorite line comes from the Telegraph on the subject:

Constable Walton said the thieves were hitting the likes of Tesco, Asda and Sainsburys, which carry a lot of stock.

He said: “There has certainly been a dozen or so incidents. “The highest value theft of gum was £750 – £800. It beggars belief that they could load up a trolley and walk out with it.”

Yes it beggars fucking belief that people can steal chewing gum. That Constable Walton sure is a law enforcement genius. I used to have a friend in America who stole TVs the same way. You walk into the store, load up a TV into a cart (trolley) and walk out like you own it and most of the time nobody stops you. If they do, you just run.

But why are “gangs” of Romanians banding together to use their criminal wiles to outsmart the intrepid and doughty members of British law enforcement?

Constable Walton for the defense, Your Honor:

I have done some investigations and in Romania if you go into a shop and purchase goods, as opposed to change they will give you sticks of chewing gum.

Sherlock Holmes is alive everybody!

Those of you who have been around a while might remember my post Playing the Change Game, talking about a custom in Romania wherein you might receive a piece of gum in lieu of change from a purchase at a corner shop. So technically Constable “Sherlock” Walton is correct, eh?

Except that it’s been years since I’ve seen any shops do this (in the old days there was simply a shortage of coins in circulation, something long since resolved). You were also actually buying the gum and therefore it went on the register receipt and so it isn’t exactly “money”. Furthermore a piece of gum was only given as change in the equivalent of 10 bani, about the equivalent of 2 British pence.

So these “master criminals” are in effect stealing pennies, loading them into cars, burning up liters and liters of gasoline, driving them thousands of kilometers and then cackling in delight as they make huge profits. Those sly geniuses! What will they think of next?

Using my amazing powers of prediction and deep inner knowledge of the Romanian criminal underworld, I must in good faith warn the British police (and our stalwart friend Constable Walton) that they need to be on HIGH ALERT because soon these wily crooks will be stealing lots and lots of matches!

Now if that doesn’t strike fear in your heart, you must have ice water in your veins.

12 thoughts on “(Romanian) Criminal Minds

  1. Uhmmmm…at Gara de Nord in Bucharest the lady actually gave me a gum as change for 10 bani just a few days before meeting you. Think I should denounce her? :)


    1. “Lower your weapons and put the hands above the head,then with your feet,easy,move the boxes with chewing gum ,slowly, you englishmen, directly in our romanian vanes,nice and easy,nice and easy,nobody will be hurt!”


  2. I not understand why british papers want to have huge ratings with these articles about “chewing gum thieves” coming from the “eastern countries savages” in our “precious realm”; if i’m an onorable british citizen(a tax payer for our beloved queen) and i reading these rubbish papers, the only conclusion from these articles in my mind is like that “the british economy is in danger,these foreigners make damages for our beautiful english budget stealing our precious chewing gum!” (this is xenophobic and an invitation to hate).
    “Where are they come from?” “Romania?!” “Oh,My God!!!” “We are Lost!”

    If one day i will going in a trip on London to visit beatiful places some like Buckingham Palace, i will going at his gate where is that soldier who guarding the entrance and i willl make huge bubbles from my chewing gum in front of him! “here is your chewing gumm,in my romanian mouth” and then splashing the bubbles in his face,expecting that he will make scaring moves,he ,normally, must be like a “stone”.
    Ha ha ha ,this is my little “revenge”


  3. As a British person coming to Romania later in the year, I put you on notice that I intend to steal back our precious chewing gum. And bring my nephews and nieces with me to beg so I can build a mansion back home.

    Seriously though, if you choose to read a load of right-wing xenophobic nut-job newspapers, you’ll have endless ridiculous story fodder.


  4. Sam,

    Thank God I read your piece about “Gum Thieves” I am coming to Romania soon and will buy a chewing gum belt to stash all my gum in, as I travel about this wild, reckless, lawless place where Gum gangs roam the land! Ha ha

    God Bless Romania and all the lovely, wonderful Romanian people!

    Bill from California


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