Theft, Commons and Antiziganism in Romania  

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I have a ton of things to do so that I can leave. However, part of the preparation is to look through local stuff and one such thing is this. The theft of a tablet in a small town, used subsequently to publish photos of the new owner, is a good opportunity to explore questions about policing, bias, antiziganism / racism and herd mentality.

20140806-selfie dupa jafIt seems that some guy’s tablet was stolen. Dude lives in a town close to Cluj, a city I recently mentioned in med school, Jay Abdo and somethin’s happenin’. In a strange, but not altogether unusual turn of events, somebody, presumably the buyer of the tablet, started using the previous owner’s accounts, such as Facebook, and posted photos of themselves (“selfies”) to his account.

ZBiM, who had apparently bragged in the past about stealing from a supermarket, posted the original owner’s appeal to the police. Radu Tock has supposedly tried to contact the police in his hometown and deplores their lack of tech savvy while simultaneously believing that they can track the posting IP:

  • in 2014 Romania you cannot catch the thief with photos, with face, with the login time (the IP can be found, there are policemen specialized in this)
  • the thief is identified as belonging to the Roma (Gypsy) minority, presumably due to his darker complexion, and has supposedly posted his name as “Iulian Bosu”
  • Blaj [the small town] police requested that I take the photos to them on CD and not by email, because they don’t have Internet. How is that possible?
  • if I were to catch the thief and take him to Police they would arrest me for sequestering him

The supposed victim also published on his Facebook account a photo of an article that appeared most likely in a local paper, where the police is interviewed and claim that they had not received the information Radu Tock claims to have given them. In his comments, he wonders if he should post proof of having told them and ends advising his friends to resort to vigilantism, “the only solution.”

LE: This is eerily similar to the theft of his entire house as reported by Andy Pascali. There as here, the truth is slightly less explosive than the headline: his neighbour had asked for permission to plant corn after the house was entirely stolen, and he answered he was going to think about it, then a few months later the neighbour went ahead and planted corn anyway. And there as here, the police took their own sweet time to do anything.

Most of the comments on ZBiM, as expected, are racist / antiziganist. People look at the photos and instantly know that the poster is the thief. My favourite, currently 6th/875315, belongs to one Mahorcu and was left on Aug 6 at 9:38 am:

And legally it’s the same, they’ll start with the presumption of innocence. That the man HAS now the tablet is not enough to consider him directly a thief, you still have to prove that he stole it.
He can say that he bought it at the periphery from one selling gadgets to drivers waiting at a stop light.
If you can prove it's your tablet with a bill with serial number (do not think fcbk account logged in is enough proof :) ), Police will seize it and return to you, but with no clear evidence that he is the one who stole it they will have to let him go.

PS. It's unreal how a gibbon that can synthesize this story with a phrase like "My dick’s gypsy." has like / dislike 52-1, while someone who discusses this issue with common-sense is 7-53 penalized simply because he dared not to start with the clear premise "That's a gypsy, clear he stole!" ...

Sadly, the main reason most idiots don’t see the self-evident logic of the above is that they think people who don’t automatically “blame the gypsy” censor themselves out of political correctness and not out of simple logic and common sense. They also miss entirely how foreigners do that to them (or understand it happens, but are happy to do it onto an even more disadvantaged group).

The above gathered 5 thumbs up and 2 thumbs down. Here’s a selection, translated, of some of the more “interesting” comments.

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About a year ago I had my own bicycle stolen here in Toronto. I filed a police report online, but nothing came out of it. Since then, I saw what could have been my bicycle on 3 separate occasions. I had that bicycle for a few years and bought it for a few hundred dollars from Costco in a sale. I probably can find the original receipt, if needed. So here’s the first observation: an Internet connection and/or better communication does not guarantee efficient Police work.

Even in UK police doesn’t get the Internet. Finally, in USA police is getting paramilitary gear and also does some pretty illegal things. The fact that the Romanian Police has a softer approach and is easily intimidated is better for Romanian citizens, because when they are too violent in pursuing small crime, they are also more likely to turn on you for no legal reason. Here’s the second observation: asking for more from the Police, if the prayers are answered, will invariably result in more abusive policing. In other words, the Police can’t wait to get more money and more gadgets, but that will simply mean spending time online surfing for porn and less doing their job.

But I have already written at length about the inherent ethical conflict in such expectations. The whole exercise above should also reveal a far more interesting and debatable topic. On the assumption that the Blaj police is doing as good a job as it can, isn’t this an attempt to get special treatment by jumping the queue in front of other small thefts or bigger crimes they may be investigating in an obvious example of the Tragedy of the Commons (where the Commons is Police time & resources)?

LE: And let us not forget the eternal question when it comes to A-list bloggers in Romania: are they really this dumb or are they simply playing at the level of their audience, in an eternal quest for clicks and Facebook shares?

Sources / More info: fb, arata-blaj/#comment-875315

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