Please sign in to post.

Backpack stolen on train to Rome (from airport)

If you plan on taking the commuter train that makes many stops along the way from the airport into Rome, beware of scammers who prey on weary travelers who are fresh off the plane and disoriented. Watch your stuff, keep them wrapped around you at all times. They work in groups of 4-5 (or more), one will scout then notify his cohorts, several to distract you, one to nab the stuff. Don't sit near train doors, if you think it's easy for you to get on/off, it's easy for them to get on/off too. They know the timing of when the doors will open and close. They are not limited to just one distraction (e.g. bumbling fool dropping his coins), but they have backup tricks if the first one didn't work. Keep your hands on your stuff, wrapped around them.

If you lose your stuff, file a police report right away, note the location that you think it happened at. (And no, the police are not going to do anything about it other than to take the report and give you a copy). Keep a hard copy of your passport with you (separate from your passport of course) in case you lose your passport. Subway stations have photo booths that takes your picture for 5 euro. To replace your passport, have the hard copy, new photo (or if you brought one with you that's taken w/in the last 6 months), and the police report, it'll make life a lot easier.

Posted by
23370 posts

So is this relating something that happened to you or just general advice, or based on what you have heard?

Posted by
8293 posts

The use of the word " scammer" thrown about with gay abandon on these boards, is incorrect in this case. The OP was the victim of thieves. Because of the advice offered in the post about replacing a passport, are we to understand that the OP's passport was in the stolen backpack?

Posted by
13927 posts

Sounds like a good reason to take the Leonardo Express (which makes no stops) and not to try to save a few euro on the local trains. And to keep your passport in a money belt or neck pouch.

Posted by
9110 posts

Why does having a copy of your passport and a photo do anything for you?

You can walk into any consulate nekkid and have a new passport in ten minutes after you hit the front of the line. If you look anything like the picture they'll be looking at on the screen ( the one in the system is the same one that's on the passport chip which is the same one that's in the passport) they'll just push the button and use it. Consulates also have cameras.

'They know the timing of when the doors will open .....'
So does everybody else. It's right after the sucker stops and never before.

'Don't sit near train doors ....'

'.... even if a seat is empty. Always stand in the jostling crowd in the middle of the car.' Is that the included point?

What Nigel said. Is this based on a unique personal experience or just something your greenhorn neighbor told you?

Posted by
9110 posts

Actually, the whole post would make a pretty good three-part cartoon.

. Panel One. Wide-eyed American clutching his goods to his chest so tightly his fingers are turning white.

. Panel Two. Same thing, but the fingers have turned blue, he's squirming, and he's making horrible facial contortions.

.Panel Three. Same thing, but now there's a speech bubble and he's asking ( in his best Chow Oh River Dirty language mastery of a few polite phrases) the lovely Italian hottie sitting next to pick the lint out of his eye, and, while she's at it, to snag the gnat out of his nose since he can't get a paw free for even a second.

. Panel Four (optional). The gal is a pickpocket dressed as a nun and she really reams the poor dude.

Posted by
20597 posts

He was pickpocketed in Portugal because he was keeping his billfold, with nearly everything in it, safe in his front pocket. So now maybe an expert on how pickpockets work? While all of his comments are valid, there is still the basic point. If it is easy for you to get to, then it will be easy for someone else. And don't exposure anything of value (edited) in public. He had taken his billfold out prior to getting on the subway and put it back into his front pocket where no one can get it without his knowledge. Famous last words. They got it and of course he showed them exactly where to go to get it. In his other posting there was no reference to a stolen backpack but he did mention that he keep his passport in his backpack so are we to assume that he lost a backpack going into Rome. Someone is having a lot of bad luck or not traveling smartly. Should have been reading this board before he left instead of posting afterwards.

Posted by
13927 posts

Frank wrote : And don't exposure your valuables in public.

Oh dear, my mind went to exposure that could get you arrested. Thanks for the smile.

Posted by
11613 posts

Smile, Chani? I'm laughing myself sick.

You don't need a police report to replace a stolen passport, but it doesn't hurt. Temporary passport costs $135 and you will be given paperwork to submit with your permanent passport application so you don't have to pay the fee twice. Some consulates will refer you to a nearby photographer, or will take the photo.

So, Ed's walking into consulates nekkid and Frank's covering up his valuables - what is this thread coming to?

Posted by
20597 posts

You cannot be too careful when unbuttoning your shirt or unzip your pants to pull out your money belt. I am just saying, don't expose too much. Alright, I will edit it slightly.

Posted by
4354 posts

Smoking a cigarette...

Wait - what were we talking about?!?

Posted by
977 posts

I hate to generalise, but here goes, these sorts of experiences, unfortunately, for me, I have found these are the norm when travelling in Italy. It is the one country in Europe, France (Paris) runs a close second, where I feel l have to be more alert. I'm not a paranoid traveller. I take on the '**the don't *even** think about it' persona'*** I don't expect the worst. I take all necessary precautions re money, passport etc. On my two visits to Italy, I have been with people who have had the misfortune to be 'done over'. I think Italy takes takes the exploitation of tourists to a whole new level whether it be scams, taxis, restuarants, accommodation. Pity really.

Posted by
715 posts

Honestly, I really do not believe that " .... Italy takes the exploitation of tourists to a whole new level ." I doubt that is Italian policy. I have absolutely never felt the need to be more (or less) aware in an Italian city then any other city in the world.

Posted by
23370 posts

In a month and a half after throwing in this hand grenade this poster (total 2 posts, this one and a similar answer to another) has never returned to put any details to his/her story.

Posted by
8293 posts

Adelaide Judy says "I hate to generalize but ....." and then proceeds to do so. From her comments on Italy we can see that travel is not broadening for everyone.

Posted by
4498 posts

This thread would have been better left closed, especially given the way it was revived.

If one compares the levels of theft and scams in Italy to, say, Sweden, then for sure Italy is no so good. But the reality is that the vast majority of people travel to Italy and take reasonable precautions and have no problems. I find it ironic too that Judy says she takes such reasonable precautions and still condemns the country with the type of paranoia that we try to steer people away from here.

I know people that have been victims in Italy. But it's never been me and I never worry about it since I keep my valuables secure and am mostly aware of the various scams. I've encountered the roving bands of children and the "helpful" beggars at the train stations and so on. It's never concerned me. And it certainly isn't going to make my views about Italy negative. Even the people I know that have been theft victims still love Italy.

Italy has some petty crime issues. Chicago has some horrible gang violence issues. But those don't make me dislike either.

Posted by
11481 posts

I guess I've been lucky: have yet to feel the least bit exploited in Italy.

Posted by
30929 posts

Madster,

Which train from the airport are you referring to? The Leonardo Express doesn't usually make any stops (although there is occasionally a change at Ostiense).

Posted by
3 posts

We did not take the Leonardo Express, but the regular commuter train into the city. We bought the train tickets at the airport after arriving at Rome. First time in Rome, there was definitely some confusion on my part. Yes we got ripped off, thought I share our unfortunate experience so others can be on the lookout. We were warned, but all it takes is a few seconds if distraction. I enjoyed every other experience in Rome except for this. Take it or leave it, but just because my experience is not the same as someone else, doesn't make it any less real.

Posted by
30929 posts

Madster,

Thanks for the info. It sounds like you used the FM1 train rather than the L.E. You may want to bookmark THIS excellent website for future reference, as it has lots of great information on travelling in Italy.

That sort of theft is common in many parts of Europe, including the RER trains from CDG into Paris.