There is a new page in the Pickpocket Playbook for the infamous Circumvesuviano train.
A young couple with a baby in a stroller wait by the train’s door until a mark (i.e., you) gets up to exit at an upcoming station. The “father” blocks the door with the stroller and gestures to the mark that he needs assistance with lifting the stroller from the train to the platform. When the mark obligingly bends over to help, the “wife”, who has positioned herself behind the mark, picks his pocket.
I was fortunate. Having endured two back operations, I knew I could not lift the stroller. When I shook my head “no” and tried to get by the “father”, I turned just enough to catch “mother” going for my wallet. I scampered out the train door unscathed just ahead of her.
Unfortunately, Mr. Steves’ suggestion that the first car is safer, because the train driver is present, proved counterproductive. When my friends tried to exit behind the pickpockets and join me, the train driver, who was watching all this, slammed the doors shut prematurely. This forced them to go on to the next station; by the time they caught a train back, we had lost over an hour of sightseeing time. My friends even pulled the emergency cord, but the train driver ignored it; clearly, he was in league with the thieves.