Barcelona. New Con Trick?

Old Apr 30th, 2009, 02:17 AM
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Barcelona. New Con Trick?

There has been plenty of talk on this forum about safety while in Barcelona against thieves and opportuntists.
Since this "new" method happened to my visiting friend (not successfully, thankfully) last night on the metro, I'd like to share it with you as something for which to be vigilant.

Going up the escalator on the metro, when we get to the top, the guy in front of my friend drops his keys, which land between the moving steps and the step-off plate. He bends over to try and grab the keys, this makes a pile up on the busy escalator, forcing my friend to nearly fall over him.

Meanwhile, the guy behind my friend goes for his wallet in the back pocket.

Luckily, he felt it happening and was able to grab the guy. The wallet we picked up off the escalator step-off plate.

I had advised my friend to not carry his wallet around in his back pocket but I suppose it just takes to be casual for one instant.

Nevertheless, I'm posting so that you can be more aware of key-dropping activity on the Barcelona metro. Keep your wallets zipped out of sight!
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Old Apr 30th, 2009, 03:17 AM
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It is simply a variation on an older method used on the Barcelona Metro which works like this:

you step into the car from the platform; a person immediately in front of you drops their Metro ticket or some other item to distract you. As you look down at the person who is fumbling to pick up the ticket or other dropped object AND often making noises to attract further attention, the accomplice standing either next to the door or out on the platform, reaches in and picks your pocket.
The other person grabs the "lost" object, jumps out, and the doors close.
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Old Apr 30th, 2009, 07:27 AM
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Anyone who in Barcelona or Madrid who keeps a wallet in his back pocket is asking to have it stolen - these two cities are IMO the most street crime-ridden in Europe - even with strongarm muggings - unheard of in most of Europe. Be very careful - Google Muggings and Madrid or Barcelona and you will find scores of posts about these incidents.
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Old Apr 30th, 2009, 07:44 AM
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Thanks for the head up, travel_buzzing.
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Old Apr 30th, 2009, 07:45 AM
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This is a typical issue in many cities worldwide with many variations. The person in front stalls for some reason as they . . . get on the bus . . . go into a busy doorway . . . enter an elevator . . . giving their partner the opportunity to pick the victim's pocket.

Don't put your wallet in your back pocket. Keep your purses/bags securely shut and in front of you, especially in crowds.
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Old Apr 30th, 2009, 07:45 AM
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I should never hit submit without previewing first! Heads up, of course.
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Old Apr 30th, 2009, 08:25 AM
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Anyone who in Barcelona or Madrid who keeps a wallet in his back pocket is asking to have it stolen>>

I would say I will tell my friend "he was asking for it" and see what his reaction is to that comment but actually, this time I have to agree with you to an extent. I told him numerous times that he needs to keep his stuff zipped away out of sight.

I'm sure there are many variations to the distraction-and-pickpocket technique. This is to give a heads up on this particular one, for travellers to the city.
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Old Apr 30th, 2009, 08:31 AM
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Not new. It happened to my wife a few years ago. They didn't get anything because she carries nothing of value in her purse, but they returned the glass case that they "found" on the floor.
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