Crime researcher turns robbery victim

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One of Norway’s foremost experts on criminal violence, police academy researcher Ragnhild Bjørnebekk, has confirmed that she wound up as a crime victim herself over the weekend. Bjørnebekk became one of the latest to be robbed in Oslo, at a shopping center on the city’s east side.

Bjørnebekk told newspaper VG that she had noticed a man standing behind her in the checkout line of a grocery store at Bryn. She realized that he “was closely watching what went on around him.” She didn’t realize, however, that he apparently registered the pin code to her bank card as she tapped it in for the cashier.

When she rolled her purchases out to her car in the parking garage of the Bryn shopping center, she also noticed another man “patrolling” the parked cars. She unloaded her things and returned her trolley, only to find the man who was behind her in the checkout line standing near her car.

He asked her for some directions, speaking poor English, which she later realized was a ploy to distract her from the other “patrolling” man. The latter apparently opened her temporarily unlocked car and stole the wallet out of her handbag.

The two men then apparently acted quickly. A check of her bank account showed a string of withdrawals from minibanks (ATMs) right after she drove out of the parking garage. “The account was empty before I even had a chance to get it blocked,” Bjørnebekk told VG.

Asked whether  none of her personal “antenna” picked up any suspicions, especially given her professional experience, she said yes, that she “absolutely” was suspicious about the men in the garage. She just didn’t realize they’d robbed her, and she was not physically harmed as other robbery victims in Oslo have been.

She also said she later “reacted that persons have such a high degree of greed, such low moral standards and empathy that they make a job of traveling around and stealing others’ money and property by picking out easy or vulnerable targets.”

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund