Police in Athens have detained 30 suspected members of a racket believed to be behind dozens of tourist muggings in the capital last week alone.
Most of the alleged members are Roma women from Bulgaria, and some are as young as 12, according to police who said four Egyptian nationals are believed to have played a key role.
The suspected ringleader, a Bulgarian man, is thought to have pulled the strings from his homeland. He remains at large, as do another 21 suspected members of the racket being sought by police.
The racket operated in busy spots in the capital, including the foot of the Acropolis and the Kallimarmaro Stadium, with members posing as tourists.
They would often ask their potential victims for directions using maps, distracting them so their accomplices could pick the victim’s pocket.
The racket is alleged to have worked with two hotels in central Athens and to have rented a property to accommodate some its members.