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Attempted theft in Madrid

We were in Madrid sitting in a McDonalds of all places.. I had put my backpack under my chair for safety and we were looking out the window at traffic. A short while later a man came by and told me I better be more careful as a young man walked by pretending to be on his cell phone and tried to pull my backpack from underneath the table by pulling a strap with his foot. This is the one time we had our passports with us as we had just came in from Lisbon. I thought it was pretty nice of the guy to warn me... Interesting thread on people camera lenses - who would have thought..Guess it is time to by something more compact. Had a few cases in Madrid where people would get next to us for no reason. Usually I would just make a statement about "to be careful about pickpockets" and they would go on their way.

Posted by
950 posts

Steve, please dont put your bag on the ground separate from your body. I wouldn't do it in a U.S. city either. And certainly dont put important things in a bag that is separate from your body. Maybe a smaller bag would be better

Posted by
908 posts

This. I always put bags on lap or underneath table between my legs. A coworker had her wallet stolen while at lunch and her purse was hung over her chair. Not only Madrid but Barcelona, Paris, Rome, etc.

Posted by
3973 posts

We were once at a bus stop in Rome, and a young man was getting much too close to me. When I moved, so did he. One of the other locals, an older man, looked at me and gave me the lower-eyelid-pull warning sign. I nodded my thanks to him, and moved closer to my husband, putting my hand ostentatiously on my day bag as I did. The young man wandered off before the bus came.

Posted by
6027 posts

I'd never put a bag under my chair unless I had one chair leg through the strap. It's too easy for someone to distract you and slide it out using their foot. You think "oh, I'd feel that", but not really not if the distraction was good enough - and they are good. The same with hanging anything on the back of your chair. As Jessica said, any bag that isn't attached to your body, or a stationary object of some weight, it's fair game.

Posted by
6408 posts

I am surprised with covid 19 going around that u could and would want to sit in McDonald's. The Madrid metro area has had 60k covid 19 infections.

Posted by
454 posts

McDonald’s is open? Tourists are traveling in Europe now?

Posted by
167 posts

Sorry for my confusing post. The incident happened last year. My apologies..

Posted by
20597 posts

Maybe he just remembered. I always hang our day bag over the back of a chair and wrap one of the straps around one rung of the chair. Cannot not remove it without taking the chair with it. It is just a matter of precaution. I would never have anything loose or laying on a table that could be quickly grabbed if your were distracted for a few seconds. Especially careful on outside tables near a sidewalk. We had had reports of bags, pursues being taken when the person thought was between her knees. If you take it off, tie it down.

Posted by
4802 posts

I understand being "in-transit", but I really have tried to wean myself off carrying any type of bag. It is easier now that my phone is also my Camera, Map, Guidebook, etc. and if it is cooler, a jacket can hold everything I need; but I found I was carrying a bag out of habit and "just in case". Eliminating extra baggage has made my day easier, plus, I am sure, much less a target.