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Huge increase in "deaf/mute" scam in Paris

Huge increase in "deaf/mute" scam in Paris

Old Sep 5th, 2011, 12:25 PM
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Early one morning when we were getting off the metro at the Arc, the gypsies were having their morning 'briefing'. A group of 10 or so were being briefed on the day's activities. Everyone then scattered and 'went to work'. We had already been witness to the ring scam so we had a big laugh when a man and a woman both 'found' a ring in front of us at the exact same second. (hey, it was early, not many tourists around yet). They both bent down at the same time and when they went to stand up their eyes met, neither said a word, they both just turned and walked in opposite directions. That's one way to get rid of them.
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Old Sep 5th, 2011, 03:44 PM
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I've tried telling tourists that they are being scammed, right in front of the "deaf" gypsy girls, but I'm surprised by how few tourists pay attention. Either they don't understand English, or they incorrectly believe that I'm the scammer. As I recall, studies have shown that if a bad person is criticized by another person while he is victimizing someone, people will spontaneously spring to the bad person's defense, no matter what wicked act he is carrying out.
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Old Sep 6th, 2011, 08:24 AM
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Wow. Just this morning I posted on this thread and then today I was pickpocketed in Paris. Something I honestly thought could never happen to me. Rather than post that story here, I'll provide a link as it has nothing to do with the 'deaf' scam, but still a number of issues discussed here fall into play -- including comments here about what "can't" be done since they are young girls.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...police-car.cfm
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Old Sep 6th, 2011, 09:23 AM
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There is a thread on pickpockets in Spain with some rather stronG, if not hysterical, comments.

Not long ago , I saw a documentary about organized crime groups from Romania ( yes, Romas )
operating in Madrid and Milano.
The children are sent daily to the city center (often near the train station ot ATM machines ) to steel.
They are supervised by adults, often their parents. The big shots live in huge homes back in the villages of Romania.
It was really sad to see the children exploited that way.
The Spanish and Italian authorities seemed exasperated and unable to stop the criminals.

Various scams in Paris (gold rings, def/mute. etc,) may be run by similar
gangs.
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Old Sep 6th, 2011, 09:28 AM
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I notices that several times the perps were referred to several times as Romanian. While there are indeed Roma in Romania, the bulk of the Roma population live elsewhere, particularly in the Balkan countries and originated on the Indian sub-continent.

Also, we need to be careful in painting any ethnicity with a broadbrush and using stereotypes. There is a long list of people of Roma ancestry who are distinguished in arts, music, theater, science, politics, etc. A few surprising examples of people that you would know who have roots in the Roma include Yul Brynner (who was an honorary president of a Roma organization) Sir Charles Chaplin who was part Roma on his mother's side, Rickie Lee Jones, Sir Michael Caine, Sir Sean Connery, Sir Roger Moore, even Elvis Presley traces back to Germanic Sinta roots.
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Old Sep 6th, 2011, 09:34 AM
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I left out that there were also two Roma past Presidents of Brazil.
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Old Sep 6th, 2011, 10:19 AM
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I have yet to see where anyone here has suggested or even hinted that all Roma are bad are even anything remotely like it. If someone posted "the guy who robbed me was tall", would everyone suddenly jump on the bandwagon to insist that not all tall people are bad? Of course not.

Such over reaction to a description of someone who has done bad things to even think it means people are trying to "stereotype" all people is just plain silly.

On the other hand it is simply insane to suggest that mentioning much of the petty crime in Paris (or elsewhere) is being done by Roma people is incorrect. Wake up and smell the coffee or at least get your heads out of the sand.
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Old Sep 6th, 2011, 11:06 AM
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Actually NP it wasn't your posts I was referring to and it wasn't you who was stereotyping if anything I applauded your actions and said so. I was talking about the broad brush strokes such as "The gypsy culture (or Roma culture, if that makes you happier) revolves around a sharp division between other gypsies and the rest of society. The rest of society consists solely of "marks," waiting to be fleeced, in gypsy culture. It's a culture based on scamming or stealing from anyone outside that culture."

That is an absolute statement.

Roma culture does not require stealing, although there are plenty who do. Jewish culture does not require chasing money although plenty do. Black culture does not require being lazy and shiftless although plenty are. I could go on and on, there is a place that goes beyond realism and turns into ethnic stereotyping.

I have had my pocket picked by Roma kids in Rome. I have also been mugged by Italians, Irish and Puerto Ricans at different times in Brooklyn when ethnic gangs ruled neighborhoods. I have been cheated by a Jew but have also been cheated by a Christian Evangelical for even more. So, what is the point?
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Old Sep 6th, 2011, 12:02 PM
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There are several Roma (from Romania - that is what they have told me since I talk to them) in my non touristy neighborhood. They are not thieves, just beggars. I wish they would find a better way to make a living, but they are good people who always ask me about my mother (every now and then they see me pushing her wheelchair through the neighborhood), and I have complete confidence that the one who sits directly in front of my building is more useful than a guard dog.

I do photo sessions for her at her request from time to time and she takes the pictures back to Romania.

http://i450.photobucket.com/albums/q...fe/roma008.jpg
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Old Sep 6th, 2011, 12:12 PM
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8226580.stm.

"Across Europe thousands of Roma (Gypsy) children are being forced onto the streets to beg and steal, and law enforcement agencies are seemingly powerless to prevent it."

Madrid police say that 95% of children under 14 that they pick up stealing on the streets are Roma from Romania.

Because the age of criminal responsibility in Spain is 14, there is little they can do.


Every day children from the camp head out into the city to steal and beg, and many are beaten by their minders if they do not return with money."


In Milan in 2007, just after Romania entered the European Union, police noticed a surge in theft and pick-pocketing carried out by Roma children. "

the BBC documentary .
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Old Sep 6th, 2011, 12:21 PM
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"So, what is the point?"


There is no point in stereotyping any group, but there is also no point in pretending that
the unfortunate reality of some Roma children and the existence of criminal gangs exploiting them is not a problem.
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Old Sep 6th, 2011, 12:55 PM
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Danon, I agree with your point 100%.

Some years ago my family - that was me, DW and 2 of our children then in the 2nd and 4th grades were visiting Rome - it was in the midst of the tourist season. We parked our car and walked down towards the Colisium where we saw a sight that was unusual even for Rome. There were groups of kids, presumably Roma all over accosting tourists and some natives alike (the non tourists were given away by their screaming at the kids in Italian). In the area in front of the Colisium was a police van and next to the van was a fenced in pen, full of the kids. The van would fill up with kids and a new one would pull up. There were plain clothed Italian police all over catching the kids as fast as they could and bringing them down to the pen while other kids were still picking pockets. We stood there with our backs against the wall watching the action.

After a while we decided to carefully walk back to the car. I dropped a couple of steps behind DW and the kids so that I could keep an eye on them. I felt footsteps coming up behind me and saw what seemed to be a 14 year old break into a run towards DW. It was obvious he was going for her pocketbook. Before I could react, a young cop made an amazing open field tackle of the kid bringing him down but the kid wiggled free and ran away. Later (it was a pretty good walk back to the car) we saw the kid again with his handler. Talk about stereotypes. The kid was handing over money to a guy in a slick shark skin suite, black enamel hair, jewelry, the works. The handler was adding the kids money to a roll of bills that would have choked a horse.

The next part of this story I have already repeated on this forum. When DD returned to her 2nd grade class, for show and tell she demonstrated how to pick pockets.
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Old Sep 6th, 2011, 01:35 PM
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Thanks for posting our experience.
In the BBC documentary, the kids in Madrid and Milan were supervised by adults or returned after
" work" to their scum parents who were no better than the man you describe.
Of course, they did not attend school or have any other normal
activities. Their
life was like something straight out of Dickens.
The most disgusting. was the sight of huge, luxury homes the crime bosses built in the
native villages - all on the backs of poor children.
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Old Sep 6th, 2011, 01:36 PM
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Sorry, your experience...
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Old Sep 6th, 2011, 07:04 PM
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The exploitation of children by adults is a worldwide shame. Child soldiers, child drug carriers, indoctrinating kids that their highest calling is to blow themselves up. It seems to be constantly escalating.
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Old Sep 28th, 2011, 02:05 PM
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Oh great. I just fell for one of them.
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Old Sep 28th, 2011, 05:47 PM
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The stereotyping of "dark" gypsies with long skirts who are a bit filthy may work to warn in many cases, but these scammers are not all like that.

I was on an early morning train from Vienna through Hungary to Zagreb and was the only one in first class except for a young couple. They did not fit the stereotype, in fact, they looked like clean-cut and prosperous young adults from Germany.

When the Austrian conductor came to collect tickets, there was a long dispute with the conductor by the young couple. It turned out the young couple had money but not in euros which was the only kind of currency the conductor would accept. So i offered to help. The young man handed me some Hungarian money and I gave the conductor euros for the girl's ticket up to the Hungarian border. (Remember, I have to pull out euros under the watchful eyes of this girl.)

At the Hungarian border, the Hungarian conductor came and again the same scenerio, I produce euros, etc.

At the last Hungarian stop, the young man gets off. The girl stays behind to "chat" with me. Her English is quite good. She says that when the train gets to the Croatian border, she has enough Croatian money to get her to Zagreb, so she doesn't need my help.

She tells me that she has been studying at a special hospitality seminar for three months in Lithuania and is now returning home. My alarm bells are beginning to sound. Do you see the problem here? The young man who got off and with whom she has been whispering throughout the train ride, she claims, is a "mere" acquaintance and is Hungarian. She's Croatian. She studied in Lithuania.

These are three languages that aren't exactly mutually intelligible. She has to be one heck of a linguist, even for an European.

She also has no luggage. So, she's going home after finishing her studies in Lithuania and she has no luggage? Just one tiny purse.

She sticks by me and I am more than grateful for her "help" at the ATM machine in the Zagreb train station. She can barely hide her disappointment at the little amount that I draw out.

Was she a Roma? Sure couldn't tell by her looks.

Was she a scammer? Most likely.

She at least got the young man to pay for her train ticket by exchanging his Hungarian Florints for my euros, then she watched as I exchanged my euros for Croatian kunas at the ATM machine in the Zagreb train station.

Aside from a shared snack, she got nothing more from me.

I escaped - why? Because I had my scottevest on with its 22 pockets and I always keep 50-100 euros and one credit card in an outside pocket. All she saw was what was in the outside pocket. The rest are all in the inside pockets. Unless she physically attacked me and unzipped all the pockets, she wouldn't have been able to get at much.

We parted friends.

Not all scammers are Roma and not all Roma have to look their stereotype.

When traveling one always has to be on the alert, you never know what the next scammer will look like...
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Old Sep 28th, 2011, 07:06 PM
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From the International Herald Tribune of 9/16/11(?). "Sarkozy Sets His Sights on Begging and Public Prayer. In an enhanced campaign against petty crime and criminality, the Gov't of Pres. N. Sarkozy, facing elections nest spring, has banned begging for the next six months on the Champs-Elysee from 10 AM to 10 PM as well as prayer on the streets outside crowded mosques according to Interior Mlinister Claude Gueant.
Mr. Gueant has also announced a renewed crackdown on non-French Roma who overstay their visas and sometimes work as pickpockets, saying that delinquent minors will be deported. Since January, 10 percent of people "who have appeared before a magistrate have been Romanian," he said in interview published in Le Parisien theis week. "It has to stop".
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Old Sep 28th, 2011, 07:17 PM
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Once on a trip to Provence, I was staying in Villeneuve-lez-Avignon but would boat ride or walk across the bridge to
Avignon. One day on my walk by the Carousel, I saw a sweet little dog wearing a jean jacket sitting atop an organ grinder.
I stopped to take a photo and as a walked away, this pre-teen
young gypsy girl ran after me screaming, you took a picture of
my dog, you must pay..s o I put a less than a franc coin in her hand and as I smiled away she tossed it at me.I. would have gladly given her some money had she not been rude
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Old Oct 7th, 2011, 07:52 PM
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You don't have to pay to take someone's picture. The gypsy girl was incorrect.
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