Desperate Thief in Heraklion

On a January night around 3 a.m., an 18-year-old woman appeared at Heraklion Security Police to report the theft of her handbag a few moments earlier. She said that the culprit was a tall, thin young man dressed in black, and that her handbag contained only her ID card, 16 euros and some papers.

At the same time, at a different Heraklion police station, officers were talking to a young man who had walked in and admitted to stealing a handbag 50 minutes earlier.

The young man, from Northern Greece, had travelled to other Greek cities in the hope of finding work for a better life, and also in order to buy his medicine for a long-term health problem.

Unfortunately all his efforts were in vain and so he had come to Heraklion on the ferry from Rhodes five days earlier. His money soon ran out, he was unable to find work and so poverty, hunger and despair led him to think he would be better off in prison. He decided to steal the young woman’s bag and hand himself in.

The police officers led him to the Security Police, where he was identified by the victim and taken before the public prosecutor. The court found him not guilty and the police officers, moved by his story, collected enough money to buy him a ticket home so he could start anew.

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