Robbed in Barcelona

Old May 18th, 2014, 11:39 AM
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Robbed in Barcelona

Such a beautiful city but sadly it is marred by the blatant pick pocketing and scams that happen on a daily basis. We were unfortunately robbed at an intersection after pulling over when a motorcyclist alerted us to a flat tire. We were in high alert as it seemed odd how much he wanted to help us. We instead called the rental company who sent a man to fix the wheel for us. We stayed in the car until the mechanic arrived.

Once he was there, I stepped out of the car in order for it to be jacked up. And immediately locked the doors as I went to throw some garbage away (not more than 10 paces away). In that split second, my bag was taken from inside the car. The car doors had failed to lock because the trunk was open. I let my guard down for a split second and that was enough. Mind you, my husband was standing next to the car with the mechanic while this happened. He saw nothing.

And to add insult to injury, we had helped another tourist on our first day in the city to get his stolen bag back after a team of two ran off with it. This happened in broad daylight, next to a children's playground at an outdoor cafe. NO ONE ELSE HELPED HIM.

We also saw multiple tourists (some in tears) with the police, who again, can do nothing but shrug and say it happens.

Be aware. And be paranoid. We believe that the GPS on our dashboard was the giveaway that we were tourists. Side note, Enterprise charged us 217€ for the flat tire. Apparently the flat was NOT covered by the insurance that we paid for with the car.

I can't tell you how badly this ruined our honeymoon. No amount of beautiful sites or great food is worth being paranoid and distrustful of everyone around you. If you're hoping for a relaxing and incident free vacation, avoid Barcelona at all costs. It's just not worth it.
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Old May 18th, 2014, 11:51 AM
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What a strange post for a first timer on the forum.
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Old May 18th, 2014, 11:53 AM
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That's too bad, I have read about this trick in some places, such as the French Riviera, for example. I hadn't read about it in Barcelona but I guess that's because most people aren't driving in Barcelona.

And that is really an outrageous fee for the flat tire, also, 217 euro??? Wonder if you can complain through your credit card about that fee, getting them to demand proof of it? Not sure.

IN any case, I love Barcelona but I am a pretty savvy traveler who lives in a big city and is used to them. I have never been pickpocketed and have never even had anyone attempt that with me, but I don't really lend myself to it. But I think your report is a cautionary tale to people to be more careful. It's a tough lesson, but generally people motioning to you in your car to pull over, who are not police, are not to be trusted, and you can't leave car doors open in cities with purses on the seat or something like that. I wouldn't even do that in my own city and it's safer than Barcelona. I lock my doors just to get out to pump gas, even if no one is around, it's just habit. I know you thought they were locked, but those are the things to be aware of.

anyway, sorry about your experience on your honeymoon. Sometimes I think driving around major cities when you are tourists isn't really the best idea.
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Old May 18th, 2014, 12:16 PM
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I'm so sorry, I too have heard of this.

I find it helps to have a mental budget for the unexpected, i.e so many dollars will get wasted (or stolen) whilst one is on holiday; to plan for a quota of nasty things happening on vacation. It helps me feel a bit more in control of when things go out of control.
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Old May 18th, 2014, 12:33 PM
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I am very sorry this happened on your honeymoon, when expectations are so high, and something like this can sour the whole vacation for you.

I do not understand why people think posts like this are strange. If I had something like this happen to me on vacation, I might well sign up for a travel forum to tell other travelers about it.
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Old May 18th, 2014, 12:35 PM
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I am sorry about your experience. We never use rental cars in the cities, but rent them on the day we leave and venture into the country. Was paranoid about theft in Spain and when we visited two years ago, but had absolutely no issues; bought a slash-proof purse and had it cross-body the whole trip. If it makes you feel any better, a born-NewYorker friend of ours who has travelled via the subways since she was a child had her wallet stolen recently while visiting (they're now in VA) when she was arriving at MOMA via a cab. Think unfortunately it is a statistic for everywhere. We simply do not have pick-pocket mentalities (thank goodness) and do what we can.
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Old May 18th, 2014, 12:35 PM
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Maybe the posters are strange.
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Old May 18th, 2014, 01:40 PM
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My own experience re the tires being covered by insurance you purchase; they aren't and the glass also isn't routinely covered either but you can get additional coverage for both I believe.

As to your theft experience, yes it causes a lot of pain. The only time I have ever been pickpocketed was while riding the Barcelona Metro; has never happened in several subsequent visits.

I am not sure the GPS was necessarily a sign that you were absolutely visitors since Europeans uses them as well.
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Old May 18th, 2014, 01:45 PM
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Ditto to the OP post about Madrid IME. Hopefully knowledge of the enhanced potential for being a victim in these cities will help reduce the all too many stories like these. Many people do not get victimized - most but the chances are high IMO if you are naive to the very real problem.

The worst two cities in Europe by far in this regard as far as I can tell.
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Old May 18th, 2014, 02:26 PM
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Thanks for posting this. Theft and scams happen too often in Barcelona. And the police seem indifferent about it. The more publicity it gets the more pressure on the government to do something about it.

I'm sorry this happened on your honeymoon. Try to put it out of your mind and focus on the positives of the trip. After all your experience is nothing compared to the long, beautiful but turbulent marital road ahead of you.
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Old May 18th, 2014, 05:22 PM
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I'm sorry this happened - but you did break the cardinal rule. (And I would never walk away from my purse anywhere except my own home or my office - and then it's hidden in my desk.)

You NEVER let go of your purse - unless in your own hotel room with the door locked. If you are alone in the room and go into the bathroom - take your purse in with you. (This may sound ridiculous but in Mexico City a colleague of mine had her purse stolen from her locked room while taking a shower.)

And there is no need to allocate a budget for theft. Just be more careful.
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Old May 19th, 2014, 01:14 AM
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Sorry to read this has happened to you.
The car will indicate it is not locked when one door or the boot is opened by the central locking operating twice.
Referring to your comment "We believe that the GPS on our dashboard was the giveaway that we were tourists"
There are a lot of us here in Spain who use GPS, even package delivery services do. That is not the reason you were picked upon.
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Old May 19th, 2014, 03:21 AM
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I too am sorry to hear about your problem. Such a shame, especially on your honeymoon.
I hope in years to come you will remember the good things about your trip rather than the bad.
With regard to the cost for the tyre. If it was irreparable, as it possibly was if deliberately flattened then, without insurance to cover it, which is always a separate option, then that could well have been the actual cost of replacing it. In any case you called out someone to help, which wouldn't be free, and the tyre would have needed repairing, so that fee doesn't sound to bad.
Next time take out tyre insurance too. You may never need it, but it could save you a lot of money.
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Old May 19th, 2014, 04:12 AM
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My sympathies go out you as well, and I'm sorry that your vacation - even moreso your honeymoon - should have been marred in this way. However I admire your thoughtfulness in helping others both while you were there, and by writing about the incident to caution others here.
As a recent PP victim myself (in Paris, at Gare du Nord train station) I understand how you feel. It helps to talk/share about it, and I hope the better parts of being there will soon be remembered.
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Old May 19th, 2014, 04:27 AM
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"colduphere on May 18, 14 at 4:35pm
Maybe the posters are strange."

Is there a point to this?

Robert is defending his country, just as Bostonians defended their city when the French consulate warned travelers not to visit certain parts of the city.

Where is your skin in the game?
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Old May 19th, 2014, 05:49 AM
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So sorry this happened to you, especially on your honeymoon. But I hope this really didn't ruin it for you. The two of you where together and, it seems, got home safely and were not hurt while in Barcelona.

Putting it in perspective:
I had a friend in college who went on her honeymoon and the second day they were there, her husband got killed trying out a motorcycle. Yes, put the theft in perspective.
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Old May 19th, 2014, 07:44 AM
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"Robert is defending his country..."

I didn't see Robert as doing that. There are better ways for him to have defended 'his' country if that was his intent and he cared that much.
I agree with Nikki.
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Old May 19th, 2014, 08:08 AM
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Putting it in perspective:
I had a friend in college who went on her honeymoon and the second day they were there, her husband got killed trying out a motorcycle. Yes, put the theft in perspective.
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Old May 19th, 2014, 08:12 AM
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Barcelona has to be one of the worst pick pocket places in Europe.

I am double triple careful when I go there.
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Old May 19th, 2014, 08:23 AM
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In Barcelona right now...our visit number eight.
Never had a problem. I am not even more ferful than when in Paris or Rome.
Don't get it.
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