Snatch theft

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A cartoon illustrating snatch thieves in action.
These types of mopeds are typically used by snatch thieves.

Snatch theft is a criminal act, common in Southeast Asia, South America and Southern Europe, of forcefully stealing from a pedestrian's person while employing rob-and-run tactics. It is typical for two thieves to work together and ride a moped to make theft and escape easier. A person steers the vehicle while another, the snatcher, does the act of theft itself.[1] However, some snatch thieves work alone[2] or do not use a motorcycle to rob.

A growing problem in Malaysia, some instances of snatch theft have caused fatalities, when the person holding onto the handbag has been dragged by the motorbike or through subsequent acts of violence. This, combined with the apparent lack of police control over crime, has prompted outrage among its citizens enough to take justice into their own hands in apprehending thieves.

In Argentina this form of robbery increased by 118% between the years 2008 and 2009,[3] possibly because motorbikes have become a lot cheaper and more accessible to the public. In that country, the perpetrators are called "motochorros", a neologism from the words "moto" (motorcycle) and "chorro" (vulgar term for thief).


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