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Trip Report Robbed in Rome... by a "Police Officer"?

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I wanted to write about an incident that happened to me and my family during our vacation to Europe. During our stay in Rome, Italy after sightseeing, we came back to out hotel in greater Rome. (about 5km from Vatican City) Our hotel was the Raganelli Hotel on Via Aurelia Street. Hungry, we asked the hotel staff where the nearest grocery store was so we could pick up drinks and snacks (such as crisps and Italian chocolates.) They told us there was a large grocery store nearby called Panorama (an Italian chain of grocery stores. Kind of like a Walmart in the U.S.) about 1km away, about a 10 minute walk. So we decided to walk to the store. In order to enter the lot of where Panorama, you had to pass a back street. There was no walking path straight to the store, there was only a direct path by car. So we had to take the back road. While strolling along, a black car pulled up next my mom, dad, and I. On the passenger side, the man dressed in a formal coat rolled down the window telling us to stop, claiming that he was part of the police. He then showed us his "police id card" Clueless, my parents and I thought he was an actual cop that was undercover so we followed his orders. He asked us where we were from, and we answered and said we were from the U.S. The whole time he remained sitting inside the car with another man who was in the drivers seat. The "officer" demanded to see our passports. My mom went along and took our passports out of her bag and handed them over to him. He analyzed them making sure they weren't fakes. He even smelled them. We though he was just checking to see that we weren't illegal aliens in Italy or anything. (Btw, were Asian. Filipino American to be exact) After analyzing our passports, he handed them back to my mom. My dad took them from her and put in his pocket. This time, the man demanded that my mom hand over her purse and my dad hand over his wallet. He said that he was checking to see if we were carrying any drugs or fake money. He snooped through my moms purse searching for drugs and went through the money in her wallet analyzing the cash. (She had US dollars, GB pounds, and Euros) he analyzed the money to confirm that they weren't fake. He smelled the money as well. We thought he was really just going through the pile making sure that out cash wasn't fake. He handed my mom pack her purse and then went through my dads wallet. Thankfully he didn't ask me to hand over my wallet. After the "officer" was done snooping through out things, he told us that yeah the money's real, not fake and also said that yeah we weren't carrying any drugs or anything.. which we weren't in the first place! He handed back our belongings and then said thank you.. and sorry for bothering you. Then he shook out his hands giving each of us a handshake saying sorry again to each one of us. Seconds later he and the driver drove past in that black car. Right after that incident, my parents and I thought he was just an undercover cop or something, doing random checks on people on the streets. At first when he stopped us, he thought we were Chinese. I thought that maybe there are illegal Chinese people in Italy who deal drugs and use fake money? I thought maybe he had mistaken us for one of those kind of people? It wasn't until we were making our purchase at Panorama that my mom realized that the cash in her wallet seemed thinner. She realized that her larger bills in USD and Euro were gone, however the smaller bills such as (5's, 10's, 20's and 50's) were untouched. Only all the 100 US dollar bills and 100 Euro bills were stolen. When he was going through the bills, we had no idea that he has magic fingers wand was actually stealing from us. In total the "cop" stole around $400 USD and 300 Euros. Im not sure if this man was a real police officer, just an extremely corrupt one (b/c I heard that the Italian government is notorious for corruption.) or an impostor. Scared and not knowing what to do in a foreign country, we just went along and followed his orders because we thought he was just an undercover cop. Thankfully all he did was steal cash. It's a good thing he didn't steal our passports, my moms purse entirely, or the camera that was around my neck. Sorry for the long post, I just wanted to get this out there. What do you guys think this man was? A corrupt police officer or an impostor? I've never heard read or heard about an incident like this. Yeah there are a lot of pickpockets in Italy which never seemed to bother us, however I never knew that there were fake police officers that steal money from tourists. in the end, we never got the money back, and we ended up not filing a report to the police because we felt as if they would be of any help anyways.

Tips for people traveling to Europe (Rome, Italy specifically): Don't carry a lot of cash, don't look like a tourist, don't fall for a fake cop like how we did, and be aware of your surroundings.

I hope this post prevents these thieves from robbing anyone else!
Safe travels

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