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Jerusalem Pickpocket

I just returned from a week long tour of Isreal with 4 days in Jerusalem. I was pickpocketed for my first time while in Jerusalem. It was just outside the Damascus gate of the old city on my way back to my hotel. The street name is Ha-Nevi'im and is also known as the "street of the prophets". It was my cell phone which was pickpocketed from my front pants pocket. The way that the pickpocket worked was to approach me with a fanfold set of postcards from the side. As I tried to walk away from him he continued at me aggressively and pushed into me holding the postcards up in front of my face. I pushed away from him and then realized in about 2 steps that my cell phone was missing. But upon turning about i was unable to identify him. Because he approached me from the side and from behind I didn't get a good look of him before or while it was happening. This happened at about 4:30 in the afternoon in plain sight in this market area. My wife and myself tried asking for help from the workers of the coffee shop at the spot which was Ha-Nevi'im street number 14. They did not say anything to us but only went about their work. I reported this incident to 2 police officers further down the street. They said I could fill out a police report at the nearby station but did not give me directions on how to find the police station. They did not go out of their way to help me but appeared to be putting me off on what was for them a minor issue. The next day I had some free time from my tour and I was able to locate the police station on Salah E-din Street which is just outside the Herod's Gate of the old city. Here I talked with a number of officers about my complaint. After waiting about 1 hour and 15 minutes one of them took my details. He told me that they had security cameras in many locations and that they would do a check of these to investigate. I was given a case ID and a password for a web site where I could check in on the status of my case. While at the station I also spoke with a couple from Holland who were reporting a very similar pickpocketing from Nablus Road which is just one street over from Ha-Nevi'-im. The pickpocket in their case also used the fanfold postcards as a distraction and also bumped into the women as he took some items from a wallet she was wearing around her neck. I kept checking the website to see any details of my case. After about 2 days the police had posted that my case from dropped because they were not able to locate a suspect. Unfortunately I was not careful or prepared enough to avoid being pickpocketed. Fortunately my cell phone was not an expensive model and although I didn't expect that I would be able to recover it I did feel like I should report it. I did report the phone as stolen to my carrier so that it would be put on the "blacklist" but my understanding is that it is still possible for the stolen phone to be reprogrammed for resale.

Posted by
351 posts

Curious how it is you were “ on tour”. It is shelter in place in Israel, with mandatory quarantine at a verified address before they allow you to enter.
Very suspicious about the validity here.

Posted by
8505 posts

The pickpocket in their case also used the fanfold postcards as a distraction and also bumped into the women as he took some items from a wallet she was wearing around her neck.

Most pickpockets work fast and get away. Removing someting from a neck wallet is not that easy. Hmmm........

And Israel is on lock down.

And first time poster.

Posted by
4 posts

My tour of the holy land was with 205 tours and was from Mar 1 through Mar 11. After getting back to US it took me a while to put this together and get it posted. The tour was impacted by the coronavirus. We were not able to go to Bethlehem and several other west bank sites due to closures in the west bank. We stayed at the Olive Tree Hotel in Jerusalem for the last 4 days and although the government had put closures on the west bank our hotel was still running an open buffet for breakfast and dinner for the tour groups in the dining room which held over 100 people at a time. No food shield over the buffet items as we are used to in the US. During this time there were no restrictions in Jerusalem.

Posted by
4 posts

The women who was wearing a wallet around her neck did not have all her items zipped up. The "wallet" had some zipped sections and some other sections in which items such cards could be slid into. She lost her drivers license, her visa (which was a slip of paper not a stamp in the passport) , and shopping receipts which were not in the zipped section . She was from Holland and at the police station with her traveling companion in order to get a police report. Her understanding was that in leaving the country without her visa she would have to pay a fine for losing it unless she had a police report. I am new to the rick steves site and that is one reason for the delay in my posting. you will find my same post on tripadvisor which I posted earlier after my return. If you do a little searching on trip advisor you will find that the area around the damascus gate also has other cautions about pickpocketing

Posted by
4 posts

We returned to Boston Logan airport on March 11. There was no quarantine. There were no restrictions or special advise given upon going through customs. Several people in the tour group, which was from our church, were asked by their employers to work from home for 14 days before going back into the office. My wife and myself are retired so for us we decided to implement a 2 week stay away from our grown kids and grandkids just in case we picked something up in the hotel Jerusalem, which it seems we didn't. Shortly after arriving home the many different social distancing guidelines started coming out from the local, state, and federal government.

Posted by
6701 posts

Thanks for letting people know. This goes to show that the professional pickpockets are anywhere with high tourism, and a place like the Old City of Jerusalem is prime. I’m sorry your trip was during what has turned out to be a trying time for the world and hope you can go back some day,