(Hürriyet Newspaper, 20 January 2011)
An operation by the Istanbul police resulted in the capture of
52 people, including 26 women and four children, members of
a pickpocket gang. The Istanbul police determined the names
and addresses of the gang members at 65 addresses in 15
provinces and launched the raid, the biggest in recent years.
During the subsequent interrogations police learned that 'star'
pickpockets had transferred to the gang from other pickpocket
groups. The transfers were even reflected on Google, where
a search using the words 'star thief' turned up pickpockets who
wanted to earn more money. The 'stars' invited potential
employers to use Google to look at news reports about
themselves and even included video clips.
Police said that the thieves used 'Gypsy language' in their
telephone conversations as a kind of code. According to
police, some of the gang members own gas stations and
apartments in luxurious neighborhoods.