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French police seek Belgian victims of muggers’ gang

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French police have issued a call for possible Belgian victims of a brutal gang of muggers operating in the south of France during the summer.

The call comes from the gendarmerie of the Var region, which takes in Provence, Alpes and Côte d’Azur – all popular holiday destinations for Belgian tourists.

During August, a travelling band of thieves targetted tourists in the region by attacking them with green spray-dye and then, while their victims were disoriented, robbing them of money and any other valuables they could take, including jewellery and expensive watches.

The victims were mainly older people. The robbers would pretend to help the victims, all the while checking out their clothing and possessions for other valuables.

A number of members of the group have been arrested and are in custody. But police are looking for other victims to strengthen the case against the accused.

Given how many Belgians holiday in that part of France, it seems reasonable there could be others who were victims of such an attack, but have not reported the incident.

Based on official reports that we have prepared, several victims have already received their jewellery back,” the gendarmerie said in a statement.

But a number of jewels have not yet been returned to their owners. So we invite people who may have been victims of a theft in similar circumstances to come forward.”

Victims can contact the investigating team at Gassin-Saint Tropez by phone on the number 0033-0494979532.

The spray-dye trick is also well-known here, local police said.

They throw liquid, but also yoghurt or other substances ‘accidentally’ on potential victims. The perpetrators then apologise and try to clean the stains themselves, to steal jewels or wallets in one fluid motion.”