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Pickpocketed getting on train at Rapallo (Italian Riviera)

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My husband was pickpocketed on the train when we boarded in Rapallo and although we lost nothing, I think it is still worth sharing the experience to remind others to be alert to the presence of petty thieves.

We are born and bred New Yorkers and over the past 15 years we have spent many weeks traveling in Europe, using its trains, and we consider the Italian Riviera one of the most trustworthy places on earth.. This happened in January, when the Italian Riviera is not jampacked with tourists. In fact, being just about the only visible tourists among the locals may have been why we become a target. Plus, it just never crossed our minds that might be thieves targeting us there. It was a pretty, relaxing day!

When the southbound Inter'City train arrived at the station at Rapallo, the door to our car was not functioning. Neither were several other doors. We scrambled to find a functioning door to board the train. My husband, carrying a duffel shoulder bag, grabbed my rolling bag so we could move faster.

Once aboard, he started moving through the cars to get to our seats, still dragging my bag, while other departing passengers were desperately trying to find working doors where they could leave. Two young women got between me and my husband, who was awkwardly struggling with our bags while he searched for our seat numbers.

Something clicked in my head and I suddenly called out to my husband to "Just let these girls go by you." But my irritated husband basically ignored my request. I stared yelling louder to mind these girls behind him -- at which point the girls suddenly headed back in my direction, as if they'd just noticed they were in the wrong car.

I gave them lots of room to pass and then hurried to catch up with my husband -- except now the girls began yelling at me: "Signora! Signora! Signora!° When I glanced back, they were both pointing at the floor of the compartment. Lying there was what appeared to be my passport holder.

I rushed back to retrieve it and the girls just beamed and waved goodbye. When I picked it up, I realized it was not mine, but my husband's, with his passport still inside. I raced to catch up with him, and he was so shocked when I handed him his passport folder -- which had been jammed deep in his front pants pocket, underneath a fleece vest and jacket. Deeper in the same pocket was his Iphone and wallet. The bulky passport holder was such a tight fit into his front jeans pocket that there was simply no way it could have fallen out on its own. He never felt anything amiss.

We then both conducted a frantic search through all our pockets and belongings to find out if we had been robbed of anything. We hadn't. All that had happened is that one of the girls had gotten hold of his passport and thrown it on the floor of the train.

I still can't figure out why. Had they just done it just to insult us (especially me once I began raising a ruckus about their behavior)? Had they been hoping for a wallet and simply had no use for a passport, and figured they'd look less suspicious if they "helped" me find what they'd tossed away?

We were quite relieved, needless to say, that the upshot of the entire incident was not a spoiled vacation but a vivid reminder that we were not immune to getting robbed. I don't like saying those girls did us a favor but they certainly taught us a lesson.

We still love traveling in Europe! Hope this cautionary tale helps others.

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