I have traveled extensively.. and in Barcelona was the 1st time I tried to get pickpocketed. I am a pretty big guy - and never been a target before or maybe am just lucky no one has ever tried.
I was warned by friends in Toledo before arriving in Barcelona of this pickpocketers to be careful. I thought of this as I arrived into the city and moved my money/wallet into a zipped pocket in my convertible travel pants as I came into the train station. I was glad I got the advice I did - it helped prevent the pickpocket.
I was getting on to the metro. It was crowded and some guy was standing in the entrance - and was in my way blocking me and telling me he was lost - and if I knew how to get to such and such. I had no tolerance to this - and just told him I was not from here and told him to get out of my way. It just seemed odd too that someone from Barcelona was telling me he was lost and how to get to such and such - that is what raised the red flag.
Then I felt someone - trying to unzip the zipper to my pants. I looked to my left and saw this older guy - I was like, what's up - what are you trying to do ?? Really??
So I slapped him and threw him out of the train as the doors were closing. He just kinda looked stunned and rolled off and him and the other guy just walked away brisk as the train pulled away.
Then a girl from Germany there - said she has witnessed many pick pockets on the metro. She was no help during the incident but I think she was surprised what has transpired in my incident.
I spent the next 5 days in Barcelona - went everywhere and did everything and yet no other attempts.
I did not worry that much about it after - but was just a bit more careful and thought through what and how I was going to carry things.
So my post is to bring people aware the "set up" - metro entry distraction by one person and the other goes for the pick.
So watch it in the stairs and getting on and off the metro, seems like a place where they work.