Pickpockets in the tourist areas of Venice Italy aren't taking kindly to a TikToker who records them on video and loudly shouts "Attenzione pickpocket!" ("Attention, pickpocket!") to warn people in crowded areas that fast-fingered fiends are in the vicinity.
The woman, who posts her videos to @cittadininondistratti2 ("Cittadini Non Distratti", or "citizens not distracted") is 57-years-old Monica. She told Newsweek that she and a group of 40 others been alerting crowds about pickpockets in their midst for 30 years.
While police in Venice do little to stop the pickpockets, they are furious about the videos, which they say are illegal to post.
As reported in Newsweek:
The group has been active for a while. In a 2020 report by German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, a Venice police officer told reporters they do not support this form of vigilante justice.
"It's forbidden to put these recordings on the internet," Diego Brentani from the Venice Police Union told Deutsche Welle. "Especially if they are minors. It's forbidden to get physical—even if the people concerned are known pickpocketers. As long as they are not caught red-handed, the presumption of innocence applies."
Brentani added: "A citizen may not simply attack another citizen."
In the videos, Monica points her camera at a crowd, and the suspected pickpockets cover their faces and make a hasty and embarrassed exit to get away from the camera while everyone else looks dumbfounded. I watched over 20 videos and it seems that she targets the same 10 or 12 men and women (who work in teams of up to four people at a time and dress like tourist to blend in). Monica said the people are part of a criminal organization.
I don't understand why they haven't been arrested yet. One of the videos clearly shows a woman reaching into the purse of a woman in front of her and then quickly removing her hand when she realizes she's being recorded. In another video, a man walks up to Monica and spits at her.