Recently I was coming out of the Metro across from the Arc de Triomphe. I was the last one of about six of us. I was going slowly behind my sister in law who has trouble with stairs. Suddenly a man going down the other stairs hollered at me that there were pickpockets behind me. Sure enough, when I turned around, three young men were there, and one dropped and then picked up and handed to me something from my cross body bag. It was just a plastic envelope that I use to keep a few itinerary papers in. The guys just disappeared, of course.
Now, I think I'm fairly aware, and I knew that area was a problem area. I'd had my bag zipped and in front of me, but he'd slid it to my side and unzipped it and taken something from it without me knowing. They had not been directly behind me when I started up the stairs. I was concerned with protecting my sil and had no idea. It happened in moments.
So why am I happy? It served as an immediate lesson to everyone else in my group that, yes, I was right. I'd been telling them all about the pickpockets and had given them all money belts. They'd mostly listened but probably thought I was being paranoid.
My passport and big money were in my money belt, under my clothes. My daily money and my phone were in my bra. Loose change was in my pants pocket. My cross body bag held my camera, but that was the only valuable thing in it.
No harm done. Everyone increased their vigilance and protected their stuff. And I was right all along.