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Pickpocket working with kids by the river

I’m pretty sure I almost got pickpocketed last week walking along the river quay in Paris. While walking past the vendors along the river on a day that was busy but not packed, all of a sudden, we were in a crowd of folks stopped. Several young children were right in front of me and I had to stop or trip over them and a large man bumped into me from behind and said ‘pardon’ as I felt a hand on or in my right back pocket! I reached immediately for my left back pocket where I had my wallet. There was some pushing and when I stepped through the children, I turned and there was no tall man behind me. I’m pretty sure I dodged a bullet. Be careful.

Posted by
4231 posts

I had a similar experience in Rome Termini a few weeks ago. I got lightly bumped into from behind and just to be safe I put my hand in my front pocket to protect my phone as that's only thing of value that was in any pocket. I don't know for sure if it was an attempt or just my imagination, but when I got on my train to Naples I noticed that one zipper was open on my backpack. Maybe I had left it open, but I really doubt it. The only thing in that pocket was a mask and my sunglasses case, and both were still there. The only thing of value in my backpack would have been my tablet and laptop and both would have been hard to get to in a different zippered compartment.

Posted by
2456 posts

A good reminder not to keep anything valuable in your pockets, especially your back pockets. Glad you got lucky.

Posted by
3931 posts

In a Paris cafe a few weeks ago we were sitting with our backs to the railing next to each looking out onto the street. Two gentleman sat next to my husband, his jacket was hanging on the back of the chair. He sensed a movement by his jacket and put his hand there. By this time the waiter had come over and asked the gentleman if they weren’t eating to have their drinks by the bar. They got up and left. The waiter told us he is always on the alert for pickpockets. This was across the street from the Galleria Lafayette. PS, the only thing in his pocket was a pack of gum.

Posted by
2977 posts

Scott, deep sigh of relief for you my man. Whew.

Mister E, you could be the best comedian on this board.

Barbara, I guess I'll be putting my jacket on my lap from now on. Geez. I could see how a jacket or anything hanging on a chair would be noticed by pickpockets. I keep my valuables in my front pocket down deep, so someone would have to nearly have sexual relations with me to get to it.

If they want to steal something from my backpack all they're going to get is water and granola bars.

Posted by
387 posts

sounds like a pickpocket attempt. Another way this happens is when leaving the metro. The person in front of you stops just after the exit turnstile and the person behind you "bumps" into you.

Posted by
639 posts

I was targeted while boarding the bus in Palermo. They were successful in getting my empty wallet - which was planted by me. It was promptly returned but a smiling elderly man as I sat down. I suspect he was one of the thieves. How could he possibly have known it was mine since it had nothing inside to tie it to me and since I had not realized that it was gone I was not acting as if I was missing anything.

It happened to someone while sitting and enjoying coffee in Berlin at Alexanderplatz. It happened to an individual just hours before leaving Barcelona headed to the U.S. It happened to someone boarding the train in Cinque Terre. Another repeatedly passenger yelled “thief stop” to notify the victim.

It’s so critical to be aware, with a functioning plan to safeguard oneself and valuables.

Especially happy that you were okay.

Posted by
1537 posts

Very sorry that this happened to you. We all need to be on high alert in Europe, as the cops won't blink an eye on crime against tourists.

Posted by
852 posts

Smith & Wollensky in Chicago - 2017 - staff had advised all patrons to keep purses/bags in their lap or at their feet and not hanging off the back of their chair - the outdoor seating area is open to folks walking past. Sure enough, the table over from us, her purse got nabbed (she ran after them and caught them).

Paris - 2021 & 2023, zero issues as a solo traveler. ymmv.

Posted by
23425 posts

Pickpockets seldom work alone. There is always a need for a distraction to make the work easier. So developing an awareness for a distraction makes it easier to avoid the attempt. Loved the report here of the young lady who lost the credit cards and money from her bra. Second, for big Mike, the posting from the guy who lost his billfold from the tight fitting front pocket. Pickpockets are pretty good at their business -- lots of practice -- and you should never over estimate your ability to deter.

PS I think the fake billfold is not smart. I do not want the pickpocket to think I am a good target or encourage one to get close enough to grab the fake billfold.

Posted by
4290 posts

Barkinpark, that is a pretty blanket statement. I am really hoping you don’t have experience across the board to support that - or you will absolutely qualify as having the kind of trips douglass posted about. I think having stolen things in various countries in Europe where I received no help would definitely qualify as troubled travel.

On the other hand, I forgot my purse on the back of my chair in Albania last night in the hotel restaurant and had it delivered to my room 5 minutes later.

Posted by
18519 posts

TexasTravelMom, I seem to remember you mentioning you left your purse in a bar recently too? You might want to consider a thin settel cable to your left foot.

Barkinpark, yup, I watched the French police watching some young ladies in long skirts picking the tourist clean under the Eiffel Tower several years ago.

But the statement, while I am certain is with the best of intentions, illustrates a need for a better understanding that when discussing mahy topics there is no common Europe. Every city and every region and every country is unique. To wit I have seen the police in a different European country watch and quickly drag away a pickpocket just before she hit her target.

On my trip about a month ago I spent quite a bit of time in a city that i am somewhat familiar with and myself and most of the locals in the bar all had our phones sitting on the bar in front of us. That same trip I went to a neighboring country's capital city and while sitting at a bar table on the street side in front of the hotel late one evening wiht my phone on the table not 2 inches from my hand, a young local lady approached and suggested it would be better to put my phone in my pocket. I bought her a beer so it wasnt all bad.