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Curios-seeing someone being pickpocketted?

Curios-seeing someone being pickpocketted?

Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 06:59 AM
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Curios-seeing someone being pickpocketted?

I'm reading all these Italy posts since I'll be going for the first time with my mom in November and several poeple say they witness other people being pickpocketted?

So shoudl you/do people say anything to warn other people about it or do you just mind your own business?
smiley525 is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 07:06 AM
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It happens so fast that there is no time to warn people. That's why pickpockets are successful-- they are superfast. In the moment it takes for you to register what has happened, it is over and they are gone. But if I was fast enough, yes I would warn people.
ddgattina is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 07:08 AM
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Are you kidding? Of course I would let them know.

A couple years ago we entered Portobello Market area in London. They had posted signs warning of pickpockets. As we entered I saw three early teenage girls and a "mother" with them entering -- in "gypsy" dress. As they passed the signs, the "mother" went over and pulled the signs down and threw them on the ground. I was walking beside this group as one girl started unzipping a backpack on another girl ahead of her bit by bit with each step. I stepped up to this girl and told here the girl behind her was getting into her backpack. She turned around, glared at the thief, and moved on quickly. The thief gave me the finger and walked away. I would have loved to have spotted a policeman and pointed them out, but no doubt there was nothing they could do as nothing had happened.
Patrick is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 07:12 AM
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Ok, that makes me feel better, it sounds like most people aren't saying anything, but it's just cause there isn't time.

That makes me wonder what happens if police are around or you point it out to a police officer later. What is the pinishment? It shouldn't matter that they weren't successful, just that they were trying.
smiley525 is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 07:14 AM
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I slapped a pickpocket!
Here's a link to the post I wrote about it...


elberko is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 07:18 AM
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My next door neighbors arrived at the airport in Rome and were immediately robbed by a guy bumping into her and grabbing her purse she was clutching at the same time. As soon as this person bumped into her, she instictively knew it was a pickpocket and she grabbed at her purse, but it was already gone. Meanwhile she was standing not 10 feet from a uniformed policeman holding a machine gun. She went hysterical to him, wondering how they are going to stop terrorists when they can't even stop a simple pickpocket. While getting new passports, money, credit cards, etc. she was told over and over again this happens so often. And the police just shrugged their shoulders saying there's no way to stop it. So ddgattina is right. Usually no one sees it, it all happens so fast.
Patrick is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 07:20 AM
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We saw a woman falling for the bracelet scam in Paris. The guy already had the bracelet on her wrist, and was asking her to pay. When she protested, I told him he would either take the bracelet off, give her the bracelet for free, or I would call the police. (All this was in French, and the woman had no idea what I was saying.)

The man removed the bracelet, and angrily pronounced me "a bad woman" in English. The poor tourist he was scamming was quite grateful, but remained baffled at what had just transpired.

I have to add, however, that the scammer angrily followed us for a while. We ducked into a cafe and he left. If I ever 'rescue' anyone again, I'll pull out my cell phone and dial the police.
mebanese is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 07:26 AM
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It's actually a slight irritant to me that I see people walking around London - tourists AND locals - without a thought to whether their bag/rucksack is secure; and it I feel that it's not then I will stop them and suggest that they zip it up. It's not that I think that London is particularly bad per se, just that there are generally very large crowds and it makes it easy pickings for the gangs that are operating.

Talking of which, I will also inform anyone around me - be it on the street, tube or in a bar - to watch their things if I see 'gypsy' thieves approaching (as previously mentioned by Patrick). Unfortunately for those of us who live here we are all too well aware of exactly what they look like and how they operate - sometimes visitors aren't as alert, not having experienced it before, so I do try to give warnings.

As to your actual question, I think that you can only judge the circumstances but IF you deem it safe enough, then yes, you should shout something. I hardly think that you should risk your life for the sake of someone's Amex...
Tallulah is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 07:51 AM
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I very seriously DOUBT anyone is going to be attacked or mugged by a pickpocket that you happen to interrupt..they are petty thieves, not murderers, and since the whole thing is about being undetected I suspect the worst you'll get is the "you're a bad person" routine as mentioned above.

But it is the sort of response above that tells me there are a LOT of people who wouldn't lift their voice, much less a finger, to help some victim, unfortunately.
TopMan is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 07:59 AM
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What am I missing here, TopMan? What response "above" suggested that lots of people wouldn't do anything? All the responses I'm aware of show the desire to do something and most show us actually DOING something, not just talking about it.
Patrick is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 08:07 AM
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I saw it happen once to an American guy a few yards in front of me in Rome.

He was such an obvious target - his wallet was bulging out of his back pocket.

I ran up and told him he'd just lost it. His reaction dumbfounded me - like I'd interrupted him in the middle of an important conversation with his friend!

It took him 20 seconds to register I might be telling the truth - by which time the kids were across the road and out of sight.

I wondered why I'd bothered ...


Steve_James is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 08:15 AM
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I think TopMan is referring to the post saying you shouldn't risk your life for the sake of someone's AMEX.

That said, I think the vast majority of people would instinctively warn someone they thought was in danger. I've done it on the Paris métro - saw three American girls with purses that were flapping open and a couple of sketchy guys eyeing them. I just walked over and quietly suggested that they close their purses and keep an eye on them. They were thankful.

Now, whether you can actually assist someone as a pickpocketing episode is in progress - probably not, as it happens so fast. But I wouldn't hesitate to try.
StCirq is online now  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 09:13 AM
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I've Said in a loud voice, watch your handbag when I saw someone trying to get into someone's bag. I also stomped on a pervert's toe and had him tossed from the train.
cigalechanta is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 09:46 AM
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I have also warned people loudly if I think something is about to happen, and I am not embarassed to do so. Cig, I would like to hear more about the guy you had tossed from the train.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 09:53 AM
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I almost forgot--I did witness a pickpocketing once in Paris. I saw a guy bump into a big Irishman. I didn't notice what happened, but the Irishman did and he immediately grabbed the pickpocket around the throat and yelled, "I want me wallet!! Give back me wallet!!" At first the pickpocket resisted, so the Irishman tightened his grip. The pickpocket's entire head turned red so finally he handed back the wallet. The police were standing close by and laughed and did nothing as the pickpocket staggered away. One of the Irishman's daughters caught the whole incident on video.
P_M is online now  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 11:22 AM
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I was standing on a bus in Florence when the woman next to me whacked a man next to her with her travel umbrella.

It seems that he was trying to open her purse.
ira is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 11:23 AM
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I would have warned her, but I didn't know anything was happening until the man yelled in pain.
ira is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 07:35 PM
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I saw it happen in Barcelona and it freaked me out for the rest of the trip. It usually happens really fast. In this case several other people saw it and they chased the guy down. You really have to be alert to what is happening around you. Don't make yourself a target by wearing lots of jewlry, having big handbags and putting valuables in backpacks. If you notice people watching you or following you be even more alert.
cf5657 is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 09:22 PM
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Then there's the old "escalator" trick. 2 guys rushed in front of me as we were on the esc. in Paris. The 1st street urchin was bending over as he was trying to pick up his dirty train ticket, we're nearing the top-and I'm figuring-if this a-hole doesn't pick up his stupid ticket I'm just going to push him out of the way. Well, as the commotion was happening, the other street urchin is now reaching for my husband's wallet in his back pocket. Luckily the urchin was not fast and my husb. felt it. From then on (1990's)I have carried any and all $$ in a thick leather zipped "purse" slung across my shoulder and arm across it.
24krose is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 10:25 PM
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A couple of years ago I was walking with my gf in Leicester Square on a weekend night. My gf felt a tug on her bag and turned around to find a pickpocket who had just unzipped the outermost pocket. We were in a huge crowd and there really wasn't much else we could do other than stare at the thief who just stared back. Luckily, the thief didn't get anything (only had cigarettes anyway) but it did freak me out for the rest of the time. Since then I use a backpack with two zippers and I tangle the zippers together when I travel.
JWitt is offline  

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