Rio beach robberies

This item appears on page 17 of the February 2014 issue.

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Nov. 15 and 20, gangs of young thieves swarmed the Ipanema and Arpoador beaches with clubs and grabbed jewelry, cell phones, beach bags and other items from sunbathing Brazilians and tourists. The dozens of hoodlums made several such arrastoes, or “big drags.”

This style of robbery, common in the 1990s, is difficult to stop because the thieves scatter over a wide area. Police are stepping up beach patrols.