A specialist unit of police investigators have finally caught up and arrested a woman responsible for numerous thefts around Spain, including San Pedro, Orihuela and Torrevieja.

Officers from La Rioja identified a 43-year-old woman, born in Spain and with last known address in Zaragoza, as the alleged perpetrator of fraud crimes specialised in the so-called theft or “magic change”.

The suspect is identified in similar thefts reported in the towns of Santander, Zaragoza, Valencia, Alicante, Jerez de la Frontera, Malaga, Benahavis, Marbella, Granada, Zubia, Motril, San Pedro de Pinatar, Orihuela, Torrevieja, Benijofar, Riojales and Santa Pola.

The investigation began as a result of a complaint in September at La Rioja, when a victim reported a theft. In the complaint, the victim explains that, when he was working in a commercial establishment, a woman approached the worker with a bunch of 5-euro bills, asking him to exchange them for higher-value bills, for a total of 500 euro, and, when the woman left the store, the employee realised that, somehow, she had taken 250 euro of the 5 euro bills that she had asked him to change.

The magic change scam sometimes also occurs when the perpetrator makes a purchase in an establishment of a low-priced product, at most 2 or 3 euro, and delivers a 100 or 200 euro bill for payment.

When the seller delivers the change, the author keeps it trying to hide part of the money to later show disagreement with the product purchased and request that the large valued bill be returned. At that moment the problems begin as the thief then hides part of the money, requesting the change in smaller bills again, always generating confusion and doubts in those who attend them about the amount delivered and the change received.

After an investigation, it has been possible to determine the identification of the woman in these cases, related to scams around Spain, thanks to the coordinated efforts of the different police operatives around the country.