Is time finally up for Portugal’s 86-year-old pickpocket grandmother?

She is 86 years old, “as apparently agile as a youngster” – and known as “Quina Carteirista” – an accomplished pickpocket who has allegedly used her own grandson as decoy as she fleeces people of their wallets and personal items.

But in all the years that Joaquina Gonçalves has been operating, despite dozens of arrests, she has never gone to jail.

Her victims, inexplicably, have withdrawn their complaints at the 11th hour, reports national tabloid Correio da Manhã.

But this time, things may be different.

Quina Carteirista’s latest victim – a grandmother herself – has vowed: “I am not going to be like the others. I am going to maintain my complaint and she will pay for what she has been doing all her life”.

Emília Vaz told CM she had no idea she’d succumbed to Quina’s skills, as she was watching her granddaughter take part in a procession. But “police were there watching, and arrested her”.

CM explains that Quina has never known any other way of life.

Locals around her home in Ermesinde say she has always kept to herself, left her home every day in the morning to return in the evenings.
“No one knows where she spends her hours”, writes the paper, revealing that she travels to fairs throughout the country and places with large concentrations of people “where she moves through the crowds without anyone noticing”.

Locations where Quina has been arrested range from Viana do Castelo, to Porto, Braga, Santo Tirso, Espinho and Fátima.

Fifteen years ago, she is believed to have used her three-year-old grandson as a decoy. The child was “removed to an institution”, says CM and now no longer speaks to his grandmother.

Now, it just remains to be seen if Quina’s latest case gets to court – this time with magistrates in Porto.

According to noticiassominuto – who refers to her as “the country’s oldest pickpocket” the date set is May 18.

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