Have You Ever Been Robbed in Europe?

Old Apr 28th, 2016, 10:56 PM
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Me neither.
My car has been robbed when parked - as always - in my street and my neighbours were homejacked - thieves came with shotguns and asked for car keys of their Porsche and their expensive Volvo.
I never wear safety belts, armoured underwear or such. I spend 90% of my time in Europe, of which about half traveling.
My home has been visited once. In the neighbourhood of my parents, a woman has been stabbed to death by a guy escaping from an asylum.
My daughter got her smartphone stolen twice - once at school, once in a movie theatre. Now she pays attention.

In France I witnessed a theft of a purse in a car stopped at traffic lights. One of my colleagues was burglared in a hotel - in front of Gare du Nord.
Another colleague was pickpocketed but saw it and retrieved his 2 cell phones.
Another friend was put a knife to his throat and asked to freely give his laptop and cellphone. On RER close to Passy.

outside Europe :
We have been robbed in a luxury resort in Mexico by tourists, not cleaning ladies. (Ipad cellphone and such), I was nearly robbed by alkies in Chicago. We were scammed in Marocco : hired a guide, paid the price and were kindly asked to pay the same amount to come back from excursion.

On the plus sides, I lost my wallet in Paris metro and was given it back. I forgot my passport in Thailand and was given it back. I left a backpack on the street at the foot of my car in Mexico and forgot it - somebody ran after me to give it back.
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Old Apr 28th, 2016, 11:53 PM
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I haven't been, luckily, but I was with friends whose money belt was taken on the Paris Metro Line 1 by a group of Romanian [per the police] men who slit it and tossed it around while the train pulled into Bastille.

A friend had a gold chained pulled from her neck by a cyclist on State Street in Boston, around the corner from her office.

Another friend lost a Nikon to a cyclist at a Barcelona cafe, many women friends have lost purses in Back Bay Boston and the French Quarter in NO, all chairback thefts.

I came close at an ATM in the heart of Lisbon.

I have been the victim of credit card fraud several times.
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Old Apr 29th, 2016, 12:39 AM
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Once in my own home, when we had a break in, and once, entirely my own fault, in the toilets at a German motorway service area. Unlike in most places the cubicle weren't floor to ceiling, and desperate as I was I didn't pay attention to my bag on the floor until I was done so to speak, when I noticed it had moved. My purse, full of cash to pay a hotel which didn't accept plastic, was gone.
Had to cancel all my cards, apply for a new driving licence etc. The travel insurance paid out though and covered all my costs, including 90% of the missing cash since I could prove I had taken it out of my bank that morning.
The German police were lovely btw, and later someone found the abandoned purse with all the cards and drivers licence still in it, only the cash was gone.
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Old Apr 29th, 2016, 12:53 AM
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Never, and I live in Europe and I travel a lot across the continent.
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Old Apr 29th, 2016, 01:33 AM
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Burgled once.
Mugged once and bag taken from me.
Money stolen by a child at an ATM within a tube station, as the money was dispensed, a small child appeared from below and took the money.
Car broken into once and radio stolen but this was a long time ago.

Was followed by someone when I got off the bus and followed me to my apartment. He wanted money. I moved out the next day.

Had bag stolen from a restaurant. Bag contained keys to the apartment, money, phone etc. Very unpleasant as I had my daughter with me at the time.

Credit card fraud in Sweden but that was several years ago.
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Old Apr 29th, 2016, 01:47 AM
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I once watched how a tourist was pickpocketed in Rome.

We were standing in a public bus. He was an American, dressed like a caricature of a tourist. His fat wallet was hanging half out of his hip pocket and a young guy with Arabian looks started fumbling at the man's pocket.

I warned the man in English but he frowned at me. What else could I do?

The boy needed two or three minutes to pull the wallet out of the man's pocket. He obviously was a novice but could not resist the invitation.
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Old Apr 29th, 2016, 01:59 AM
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I was robbed in Dublin, in 1986, by some little kids on roller skates. I was at a phone booth, and the skated past me and grabbed my wallet, which was balanced on the little ledge below the phone.

I was also robbed once in the US by a kid who ran past me and managed to neatly slice off my coat pocket, where my wallet was. I suppose that's a rip-pocket, not a pick pocket. I think the kid must have seen me put my wallet there.

Because of these two incidents, I stopped pulling out my wallet in very public places. I used to carry a little small change and bus tickets loose in a pocket or handbag, so I could retrieve them without revealing the location of my wallet.

Lately I've given up wallets altogether, even at home. I carry a small coin purse, a small billfold, and a little pouch that has my ID, and another little pouch that has my credit cards. No one is likely to get all four of them. I still carry in addition a small amount of money, bus tickets, etc. loose in a pocket or handbag.
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Old Apr 29th, 2016, 03:03 AM
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I see what you mean, fortunately these 'doors' have a tendancy to disappear.
I went to chinese toilets where these 'doors' stopped at mid level, meaning you were .. er.. and you look your neighbours in the eye.
Happily I knew none of those neighbours.

In Belgium the same robbery happened to somebody someone knew. (I hope I can win a litterary prize with such an overture).
Her bag was stolen. She was panicking and somebody called her at home saying her bag had been fond and was sent to her. Nothing was missing. She was overjoyed. A few days later she gets invitations to an opera in Bruxelles (50 kms away from her home). So she thinks that it is her week of luck.
She goes with her husband, spends a lovely evening. She comes home. ALL her furniture had been stolen. The thieves had made copies of her keys in her bag and lured her away to empty her house.

We do live in a hellhole ;-)
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Old Apr 29th, 2016, 05:15 AM
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A few years ago, while I was sitting in a Gare de Lyon train awaiting departure from Paris, a couple of young men launched the paper-in-the-face ploy. My shoulder bag was safely across my chest but I noticed a hand moving toward it and reacted loudly, with desired effect. Same trip, someone tried the old coin-on-the-ground con but barely got through the first sentence of the pitch before I walked briskly away. Politeness must be discarded in matters of security.
However: Long ago, younger and dumber, in fact before video games, I was playing pinball in Soho London and fell for a favorite distraction at the time, a handful of lumpy English coins falling on my feet. By the time I looked back up my handbag was gone. Police told me the usual victims were housewives at the post office, which was cold comfort. None of these threatened any bodily harm, which as a long-time neighour of Detroit I appreciate. Back home in Canada, my house was broken into on three occasions within 15 years, a good deal scarier experience. And a few weeks ago, in a different area, several nearby homes lost goods left in unlocked parked cars, while my always-locked vehicle was untouched. Live and learn.
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Old Apr 29th, 2016, 05:52 AM
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OK, all of this did happen back in 1981, and Amsterdam may have improved since then, but I scarcely need say I have never returned, nor am I ever likely to in future>

Amsterdam has changed a lot - you just do not see that in recent years at least to the extent it was in the wild 70s and 80s - I feel very safe in the Amsterdam of today - with proper caution as always.
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Old Apr 29th, 2016, 05:53 AM
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Unfortunately, I do not travel a lot, or at least how much as I would like to. So my experience is not very valuable, I guess. Ânyway: I'm portuguese, living in Portugal. I've been to Greece, Italy, Spain, France, England... the only two times I was robbed were in Portugal, in my own city, in my neighborhoods! Shame on me, perhaps.
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Old Apr 29th, 2016, 06:29 AM
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No. Back in the 90's I was mugged about a half mile from my home when a guy came up behind me as I was walking and grabbed my purse from behind. I fought, he won when the strap broke and he ran and jumped into a waiting car.
That has made me super vigilant in Europe and other countries.
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Old Apr 29th, 2016, 07:10 AM
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I had a traveler's check stolen from the pocket of a suit hanging in a closet in a hotel in Paris. Refunded by the company, so no loss. Quite a while back, before ATMs.

My son was mugged in Barcelona. No physical harm. Lost his cellphone.
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Old Apr 29th, 2016, 07:13 AM
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<Amsterdam has changed a lot - you just do not see that in recent years at least to the extent it was in the wild 70s and 80s - I feel very safe in the Amsterdam of today - with proper caution as always.>

Thanks for reading my post and posting your reply, PalenQ. I guess that Amsterdam (like New York) has changed for the better since those bad old days, when you had backpackers sleeping rough everywhere, riots often occurring and being quelled by tear gas and water cannon, and streets that were abandoned and boarded up because they had been taken over by drug dealers and addicts. But even so, having said that, the memory of my visit and the idea of ever returning there still freaks me out, I'm afraid.
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Old Apr 29th, 2016, 08:01 AM
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There was one more time I was robbed in Europe and it is a lesson for all. We were in the Vienna train station on the way to Prague. I put my small backpack on the ground next to me, was distracted for a moment and it was gone. luckily there was nothing valuable or important in it - just my laundry from the night before. It was a nice backpack though.
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Old Apr 29th, 2016, 08:20 AM
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Basingstoke's story reminds me of a State Department story. At the end of each foreign tour State employees are required to undergo a physical. You can have it done at post or in DC. The story goes that one woman, choosing to have it done in Washington, was returning to Foggy Bottom with a stool sample which she carried in an old pocketbook. You guessed it! Some unlucky thief snatched her purse. I would like to have seen and heard his expression when he opened the container.
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Old Apr 29th, 2016, 08:56 AM
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In 55 years of travelling to Europe I have never been pickpocketed, mugged, or otherwise robbed. And neither in Asia, Africa, South America, or for that matter North America.

However, on my first visit to Istanbul, only a few years ago, I was scammed twice: once by an unofficial taxi (I was tired and off my guard) and once by a shoe-shine guy with the dropped brush trick.
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Old Apr 29th, 2016, 09:09 AM
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The Key is that something can happen anywhere.

If we're going beyond europe I once saw a woman's purse stolen by a youth on a bike in very upscale Greenwich CT. We were having lunch in a sidewalk cafe and her table was next to the parking lot - and she had hung her purse on the back of a chair. A youth sped by on his bike and picked up the purse and was around a corner in seconds. She didn;t even now it was gone until a waiter raced over and told her.

And a friend (the same one that lost the camera) had her pure stolen in the parking lot of a supermarket in very tony Southampton NY. She had finished shopping and wheeled the cart out to the back of her car with her purse in the seat of the cart. She went to the front door to put a bag with wine bottles into the front seat. And by the time she got to the back of the car 2 kids on bikes had grabbed her purse and were almost out of the parking lot. She chased them and eventually found the purse but wallet and cash/cards were gone.

But this is VERY simple. Do not let go of your purse in a public place - any public place.
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Old Apr 29th, 2016, 09:33 AM
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I was robbed on the way back to my hotel in Paris. It was our first evening after dinner. We stopped in a small shop to pick up some snacks. My partner is a fast walker so he was a bit ahead of me, when a few guys came up to me and started saying something in French. I kept walking, but one guy kept putting his leg in front of me as if to trip me, what they were doing was slowing me down even more. My partner looked back and saw that there were about 5 guys hanging around so he shouted at me to get moving and for them to leave. They had gotten me toward a doorway by this time, at which they pushed me in, grabbed what they could from my pocket (a few Francs) and ran off. I was a bit paranoid after that, but I got my confidence back after a day or two. It did not help me bond with Paris and it remains as one of my least favorite European cities.
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Old Apr 29th, 2016, 09:34 AM
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I've only ever been robbed in The US by bar tenders purporting to sell beer or waiters with begging bowls.
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