Parisian Pickpockets

Old Jun 9th, 2013, 09:59 AM
  #121  
 
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Which link is that Raincitygirl ?
One link ("online") seems to go nowhere ("This is not where you wanted to go. Please insert more details...") and the other ("Louvre strike") seems only to be about the Louver employee strike in protest of the pickpockets.
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Old Jun 9th, 2013, 11:48 AM
  #122  
 
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The link is provided by Dani, who left a comment on David's blog. This is her comment:

"The irony of me answering the question, “do you speak English”? with “no, I don’t” always seems lost on the young women that ask me. I’ve lived in Paris for 20 years and I do believe the problem has gotten worse. There are more groups of kids working the crowds and they are better organized and better trained by their “bosses”. Here is a very good report that explains why the French police have an extremely difficult battle on their hands.

http://www.france24.com/en/20120615-...aris-petitions

The best thing to do is be prepared for possibility of getting pick-pocketed. Follow tips given above and provided by the American consulate (such as have a copy of your passport and a list of your credit card info and contact numbers to report stolen cards accessible). Be vigilant and street smart. The sad fact is that if you are in a touristy area you can count on it that you are constantly being checked out as a potential victim."
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Old Jun 9th, 2013, 12:23 PM
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Yes, thanks NYCFoodSnob, that's the one. Sorry about that Mathieu.
It was an interesting clip.
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Old Jun 9th, 2013, 01:15 PM
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Thank you both for that link. It's very interesting. I'm surprised at how involved the whole tracking process is, and at the dedicated efforts of both the Romanian and French authorities in administering it. I was equally surprised at the brazen attitudes of the young offenders.

After all my visits to Paris in years past, last October I had the ring scam tried on me outside the Musee D'Orsay (I was prepared, and accidentally knocked the ring out of the insistent girl's hand into the river). I then had my wallet lifted a few days later during my last 30 minutes in Paris, at Gare du Nord, after paying for a final beer at an outdoor cafe outside the station while observing the colourful circus of police, vendors, musicians and loiterers going on there. I didn't realise my loss until I arrived at London St. Pancras a few hours later.
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Old Jun 9th, 2013, 06:56 PM
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I was surprised at how brazen they were too, I am sure they are well coached.
That is too bad about your wallet though.

I had three creeps working in tandem try to rip me off in the Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence last October as I was waiting for the train to Naples.
I was onto the first two and ran them off although creep number two got right into my space in front of my locked suitcase and leaned in practically in my face as he waved a bit of cardboard under my nose. He had one arm fully bandaged and held out in front of him, I had seen other people with bandaged arms like that around Florence and thought it was a sympathy tool for begging. He almost got a kick in the groin but backed off right before I raised my foot. I suddenly realized that his arm was actually under his jacket where he could use it for pick pocketing and that was likely a stick that he had fully bandaged. Very tricky!

What really fooled me and I thought I had been so vigilant was the man who sat down next to me with a suitcase and looked like another traveller.(the other two looked feral). He was in on it as I discovered when creep number one started sidling up from another direction and I just happened to glance at the seated man and catch him signalling to this guy. I stood up, grabbed my suitcase and faced the seated guy and told him off. He just got up like nothing had happened and walked away.

When I got to Naples and the cab driver was lifting my suitcase out of the trunk the lock fell off the front pocket of my suitcase. The driver dropped it, threw his arms in the air and said "that wasn't me!"
The man with the bandaged arm had managed to unlock it.
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 11:42 AM
  #126  
 
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Reading this thread has me not wanting to visit Italy (at least the tourist places) or Paris again (after my Sept trip). I spent 3 weeks in Germany and Austria in '11 and never had a problem (and never had to worry about it). I was constantly approached by polite men offering to carry my suitcase up a flight of stares at train stations. I won't be able to accept any such offers in Paris. It's a shame we all have to be on guard there.
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 11:47 AM
  #127  
 
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Susan001 that would be a shame. Yes these things happen but they are not the majority of people's experiences.
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 12:12 PM
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Oops. Meant "stairs" not "stares." I must be tired. Jamikins, I'll probably continue to visit these places, but I'm certainly going to be on my guard at Paris Nord.
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 12:56 PM
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susan that would really be a shame. I absolutely love Italy and Paris and it would take a lot to keep me away. As annoying as my experience in Florence was, I wasn't frightened and in a way it was sort of amusing.

I will be going back to Italy at the first opportunity. It is just good to read about the kind of things that are out there so that you keep your eyes open and your wits about you.
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 01:35 PM
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I would think it extremely reckless to let anyone carry your suitcase anywhere.

I would expect them to just take it and run. It seems that you are VERY trusting - to me incredibly so.

But then as a native New Yorker things that seem obvious to me are - I have learned - not so to a lot of other people. (My father taught me about the shell game and similar when I was 7. I just assumed everyone knew about these scams.)
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 01:46 PM
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Unless you are quite elderly or pregnant I too would not need or want someone to carry my suitcase up the stairs. Its just a tad too trusting to me..I do realize some people are being nice but it will only take one negative experience for you to see how its not the best idea ,, even in Germany etc..
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 04:58 PM
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nytraveler: normally I would say no, but struggling and tired, I finally started saying yes. My instincts are good -- these were business people, or sometimes a husband (with his wife kids) who was obviously just trying to be helpful. I saw this repeatedly in Germany. It makes me think well of the country.
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 05:09 PM
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The "bandaged arm" thing was done to us in St. Petersburg--BUT holding out one of the very lovely scarves they have there. It was pretty cool.
We decided we should fill a condom with water, and let them have at DH's bag at his waist. LOL
I could STILL identify the "boss" of that gang of roma children on Ligne 1.
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 05:33 PM
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Water pistols are your friends, seriously. Never used one, but if you're in the paranoid crowd it would seem pretty simple.
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 05:41 PM
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ha ha, susan, I was married to a German for 22 years, don't bother thinking too well of the country because you encountered a few gentlemen, I can assure you they most certainly not all like that, lol
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 10:34 AM
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"I would think it extremely reckless to let anyone carry your suitcase anywhere." What a sad state we are in that we must distrust EVERYONE.

"Unless you are quite elderly or pregnant I too would not need or want someone to carry my suitcase up the stairs." I am neither -- but just retired from teaching, so not young. The suitcase got heavier and heavier with every flight (I also was wearing a backpack with camera gear).
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 07:20 PM
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Sorry Susan I have enough travel experience that I pack light, a 22 inch suitcase and my messenger style purse/bag, I suppose a less experienced traveller may not realize or think about all the times they will have to lift and carry their bag.

Its just a fact of life that there are people who try to make profit off of others naivety, it would be nice if we could trust everyone.
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 09:26 PM
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A small suitcase packed lightly does not an "experienced traveler" make.
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 09:27 PM
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Justine: I carry a 22 inch carry on. I agree the backpack was a mistake. I'm carrying a lighter security purse this time (with compact camera rather than DSLR and heavy lenses). Of course it would be foolish to trust everyone.... perhaps I was naive to trust a few.... but in the moment it felt chivalrous and helpful... and I accepted the help from people who didn't look at all like scam artists. Point taken though.
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Old Jun 12th, 2013, 07:14 AM
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yes well whatever sparkchaser, I am very experienced having visited Europe, and more specifically france most often , for at least last 4 decades, often for weeks , even months at a time , and I don't lug a huge case since I know how many times I have to lift and carry the thing.. and while chivalrous people do exist but you cannot count on them being around. I have learned to count on myself period. I have of course been with family and friends , but have done some solo trips and then one really learns to be self sufficient.

I have also done enough train travel to recognize inexperienced travellers, since they are the ones struggling with stupid big bags usually trying to get on the trains, lol If you have done that once before you are unlikely to ever repeat the experience.
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