Police in the West Fjords have arrested a hitchhiking couple from Switzerland, ending their six week long spree of petty crime.
Two weeks ago, a break-in was reported at the grocery store in Norðurfjörður, a small rural community located in Árneshreppur, which is, with a total of 74 inhabitants, the least populated municipality in Iceland.
Immediately suspicion fell on a young Swiss couple, a man and a woman, who had hitchhiked their way to the area and set up camp near Krossneslaug, a geothermal swimming pool located at the end of Norðurfjörður's single road.
When questioned by police they admitted to the crime, and were escorted to the store where they apologized to staff and paid 50,000 ISK (377 USD; 335 EUR) in compensation for the stolen merchandise.
Nonetheless, the two burgling hitchhikers remained at Norðurfjörður, and declared their intention to stay until at least September.
It has been confirmed that they are the same couple that stole a bag of duty-free goods from an Icelandic mother and daughter who gave them a ride to Reykjavík from Keflavík International Airport in April.
After DV published the women’s story, where they warned others about the thieving backpackers, the bag was returned to City Hostel in Laugardalur, with a note of apology.
Both locals and members of Norðurfjörður's close-knit summer house community expressed their unease with the pair’s continued presence in a closed Facebook group.
“This creates an air of insecurity, everybody is on their toes, locking their cars and houses, and keeping a watchful eye on the hitchhikers,” said Linda Guðmundsdóttir, branch manager of the Norðurfjörður grocery store, to Vísir on Friday.
Eva Sigurbjörnsdóttir, chairman of the district council, told Vísir that residents also suspect the pair to be responsible for the mysterious disappearance of various food-items from local households in the past few weeks. Additionally Eva told reporters that prior to the break-in at the grocery store, the two had attempted to leave the restaurant at nearby Hótel Djúpavík without paying their bill, but were stopped on their way out the door.
On Sunday the West Fjord Police returned to Norðurfjörður, arrested the couple and brought them to the station in Ísafjörður for questioning.
This morning the Commissioner of the West Fjord Police then issued an indictment against the the two, and their case was immediately heard by the District Court of the West Fjords.
The pair confessed to all charges, and just before noon were sentenced to 60 days in prison each, which they will only have to serve if they break probation in the next two years. They have now been released, and the Directorate of Immigration been made aware of the sentence.
Earlier this month a seal pup was stolen from the Sheep Farming Museum at Hólmavík, in the neighboring municipality of Strandir. The cases are not known to be connected in any way, but both have shaken the communities of this secluded and ordinarily peaceful area.