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Thieves in French trains. Message to authorities about major risks.

Thieves in French trains. Message to authorities about major risks.

Dec 7th, 2010, 12:31 PM
  #1  
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Thieves in French trains. Message to authorities about major risks.

Be careful when travelling by train around Europe, specially in Paris. Stick to your belongings 100% of the time. It´s not new that the streets of Paris are full of pickpockets, mainly in the tourist areas, even inside churches. I´ve seen them in action and heard about many cases. However, I want to raise the topic of robbing on board the trains like the TGV. I didn´t pay attention before during previous trips to Paris, but now I got surprised when two of my bags were stolen while the train was still at the Montparnase station. The MODUS OPERANDI of these thieves is as follows: during boarding time, they get in the train cars pretending they are passengers and sit down in any seat at one end of the car in order to have a good view of all the real passengers, waiting for any minor distraction. People puts some bags in the overheads, sit and relax waiting for train departure. A few moments before, thieves act by quickly standing up, stealing the bags and getting off the train before doors are closed. Regardless what I´ve lost, my message to the French authorities and all those in charge of European trains is that I´m impressed how terrorists haven´t taken advantage of the lack of security/safety since there is no procedure at all in place to have ONLY real passengers boarding a train while on stations. There must be a simple way to prevent that. The same easy way these thieves take someone else´s belongings off the train, the same way someone could place an undesired artifact on board and leave the train before daparture. I really hope never happens something like that.
fernando is offline  
Dec 7th, 2010, 12:34 PM
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There must be a simple way to prevent that.>

and a simple way to protect your bags - keep your eyes on them until departure. thanks for the warning to do just that.
PalenQ is online now  
Dec 7th, 2010, 01:32 PM
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This can happen anywhere, thanks for the warning.
awygn is offline  
Dec 7th, 2010, 01:40 PM
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This luggage theft procedure has been practiced and perfected for decades. It can happen on any train, not just the TGV. For defense, put your luggage in the overhead rack above you and keep your eyes on your luggage whenever the train is in a station.
spaarne is offline  
Dec 7th, 2010, 02:14 PM
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Thanks for the reminder, fernando. I admit I've become rather blasé over the years about my luggage on French trains.

And it does seem as though it would be rather simple to keep non-passengers off trains.
StCirq is offline  
Dec 7th, 2010, 02:14 PM
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Yep - definitely keep your eye on your bags. Several of our bags have some sort of strap with a clip - designed for clipping one bag to another, like when you have a roller with a small bag sitting on top. If our bags our out of our immediate control, like at the end of a train car, we try to clip them to a pole or at least to each other - makes it a little harder for someone to snatch a bag and get away.
november_moon is offline  
Dec 8th, 2010, 06:29 AM
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Glad I read this today..will be taking the train from Nantes to Paris on Friday..unfortunately, I have a couple of bags. Guess I will be paying much better attention to them now.
Sojourner_M is offline  
Dec 8th, 2010, 07:25 AM
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I think the OP was advising of how easy it would be for a terrorist to plant something on the train in the luggage area. Although he said he lost his bag, the point was that there is no security on the baggage area which not only allows theft but also allows putting toner cartridges on the train very easily.
RonDace is offline  
Dec 8th, 2010, 08:37 AM
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but also allows putting toner cartridges on the train very easily.

Why bother with toner cartridges? Any containers would do if luggage is not screened.
Michael is offline  
Dec 8th, 2010, 08:54 AM
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Same with trains in the US ..no checks so this is not just a European problem..and buses too
avalon is offline  
Dec 8th, 2010, 08:55 AM
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Yes, someone can bomb a train. They can also set off car bombs, gun down people in a crowded market place, or any number of terrible things.

I suppose that France could impliment luggage and passenger screening for trains, but then it would make train travel much less efficient, more costly, and time consuming. I can see why they don't do it. Plus, unlike a plane, the damage someone can do with a train is finite.
november_moon is offline  
Dec 8th, 2010, 09:20 AM
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The last time I took the TGV I had to show my ticket before being allowed on the platform. But I gather that this was due to exceptional circumstances since the point of the post is that anyone can get on the TGV before it departs.
Michael is offline  
Dec 8th, 2010, 09:38 AM
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Friends just back from Spain say that every long-distance train they took had airline style security checks. A complete hassle but unfortunately may be necessary - meant to deter terrorists but probably would deter un-ticketed thieves from boarding trains. Take the good with the bad.
PalenQ is online now  
Dec 8th, 2010, 10:09 AM
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How the heck can someone reach for MY bag when it is in the overhead bin, and they have to lean over me to get it?? I think people must be putting their bags in overhead bin, then leaving their seats for some reason for this to happen. Now, leaving bags in the luggage area - ok, can see that happening.
Travelnut is offline  
Dec 9th, 2010, 08:57 AM
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Travelnut, I think the OP is talking about the luggage racks at the end of the car, where you may not be sitting.

I've seen people lock up their luggage in these areas. Good idea, but I just never seem to do it. I keep a close eye on mine, to the point of irritating the hell out of my husband. I can't help it. You can take the girl out of New York, but you....yeah, you know the rest.
YankyGal is offline  
Dec 9th, 2010, 12:40 PM
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Sometimes the rack directly overhead is already full of bags, and you may have to hunt around for any open space. It's not a given that you'll always be able to view your bag from where you're sitting.
Holly_uncasdewar is offline  
Dec 9th, 2010, 12:40 PM
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The luggage areas near the doors of rail cars are there for the convenience of passengers, and luggage thieves. YankyGal has the correct paranoia. The InterCity from Amsterdam to Brussels used to have locks at the luggage area, available for one euro.
spaarne is offline  
Dec 9th, 2010, 01:44 PM
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well, I was reacting to this part:

"People puts some bags in the overheads, sit and relax waiting for train departure. A few moments before, thieves act by quickly standing up, stealing the bags ..."
Travelnut is offline  
Dec 9th, 2010, 02:01 PM
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That's what I was responding to, Travelnut. Sometimes the only available space in the overheads may be behind you.
Holly_uncasdewar is offline  
Dec 10th, 2010, 12:10 PM
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This is a problem as it is very difficult to keep track of your bags when they are at the end of the car, unless you happen to have a seat assigned right next to them. Even then, someone could quickly grab it and go out the door. Now those would be big bags, suitcases, of course. So if these thieves want small daypack type things, they would be grabbing them from the overheads.

It wouldn't be difficult to do that, Travelnut, I don't understand why you think that would be so hard. It's just a small rack over the seats, you can reach it easily from the aisle. It isn't compartmentalized, you could easily have something you own put up there right next to someone else's legimately. They aren't "bins", anyway, they are just open racks in all the TGVs I've been on (meaning no door to open, it's not like an airplane bin.

Fernando, what TGV did this happen to you that you lost something and what kind of bag was it, how big (was it in the overhead racks and not the luggage space at the car end?).
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