Handbag thief falls deadly: chasing man receives 2 years in jail and fine of €178,000

A man (22) who saw a handbag robbery happen, went after the thief and held him up struggling, was sentenced by the court in Málaga, Spain, to two years in jail and a fine of 178,000 euros. The handbag thief suffered two blows, fell down and died two days later from his injuries.

The facts date from 8 February 2015 in the resort of Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol. A woman who was on her way to work in a hotel in the morning was attacked by a man. He ran off with her handbag and fled. Passer-by Borja Salvador heard a cry for help and pursued the handbag thief. He could catch up with the man, resulting in a struggle.

Salvador dealt two blows in which the thief fell and landed on his head. The man died two days later from a brain hemorrhage. The court considers it proven that the handbag thief died as a result of the blows inflicted by Salvador.

The twenties have always maintained that he had only intervened to help the mugged woman and return her possessions. He also claimed to have seen the thief kick the robber cleaning lady. The police picked up Salvador a few weeks after the facts.


The deceased handbag thief was known for at least six facts, including robbery, theft and resisting arrest. As an addict, he used alcohol, cocaine, and marijuana frequently. Without these addictions, the imprudent punches would not have had the same effect, claimed Salvador’s lawyer. The court didn’t follow that view. The verdict is still involuntary manslaughter. The Spanish Penal Code looks only at the acts themselves and not at their ethical interpretation.

In the past, the 20-year-old who worked as a doorman in a dancing club was sentenced to two years in prison and has to pay 178,000 euros to the next of kin of the robber. Whether he should actually go to jail is questionable: prison sentences of less than two years – as in this case – often remain unfulfilled.

He was not immediately arrested and must report to the police in the foreseeable future. The case is big news in Spain. The far-right Vox party shames the verdict and praises Salvador’s intervention.

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