Five Belgian tourists travelling in Rome spent several hours at the police station after a fight with scam artists who stole money from them. The incident occurred Friday night at a bar in Trastevere district, according to reports in the Belgian media.
The five friends were having drinks when they noticed one of their phones was stolen by a man in the bar. Seconds later, a second man appeared claiming he could help.
“He claimed he would help my friend get his cell phone for 200 euros,” Yannick S. told Het Laatste Nieuws. “We accepted, paid and he actually got the phone back.”
Later in the evening, the five Belgians met the two men walking together and realised they had been working together. “We talked to them because we wanted to get our money back, but suddenly other men appeared. We got trapped and the situation went wrong,” added Yannick S.
We were faced with a choice: to get hit, or hit someone, he added.
A fight broke out, and one of the suspects was punched in the face. The carabinieri then intervened to break up the fight.
The suspect injured during the fight was taken to the hospital with a broken nose. He and his accomplice are accused of extortion.
As for Yannick and his friends, they voluntarily went to the police to testify. “We stayed there longer than the men who stole from us,” he said. “From 11 pm to 4 pm, we were interviewed one by one and we had to fill in all sorts of documents, which ruined our entire evening.”
In the end, the tourists could not recover the 200 euros they had paid for the cell phone.
The Brussels Times