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Warning not all pickpockets look dodgy!

Newcastle,Australia
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47 posts
47 reviews
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Warning not all pickpockets look dodgy!

I have recently returned from 12 days with two friends in Venice and Menaggio. I am convinved that I had money stolen from my wallet on the train from Milan to Venice. I say convinced because I did not know it happened until several hours later and not sure how they managed to pull it off. I am a fairly experienced traveller, this is my third visit to Italy and I have been to several other countries over the last 30 years. I try to be on guard with my handbag and wallet and remember being so in Milan Central station. We arrived in Milan on Easter Sunday with tickets booked for the train. When we boarded a well dressed older couple were sitting in our seats. There was some discussion with one of my friends as to the seats and looking back on it both of them managed to separate us. The lady did not want to give up the seats and refused to move but her husband seemed more reasonable. As I was struggling with my suitcase he helped me put it on the overhead rack and that is the only time I can think I was distracted from my handbag, (I remember the last time I had it open) and think that is when she must have slipped her hand into my bag, all of 20 seconds. When we settled he left (I thought to find their seats) she stayed in a spare seat for about 15 minutes then left. I did not open my wallet until shopping in Venice several hours later and found all money gone (250 euro & $A250 I know too much, luckily I had separated 250 euro to another bag). My dedit card and other ID was still there so it wasn't a complete disaster. I feel quite foolish as I was constantly reminding one of my friends who has not travelled much to be careful. So not wanting to sound too alarmist please be careful. PS we still had a great time in Venice.

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Milan
Milan
Lombardy, Italy
Venice
Destination Expert
for Venice
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9,524 posts
48 reviews
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1. Re: Warning not all pickpockets look dodgy!

You wonder what they will invent next ..... They are probably well practiced and experts on this .....

Norwich, United...
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54 posts
42 reviews
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2. Re: Warning not all pickpockets look dodgy!

Very adept pick pocket to take the money out of the wallet and return the wallet back into the picket!

Newcastle, United...
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146 posts
228 reviews
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3. Re: Warning not all pickpockets look dodgy!

What a set of rascals. I try to keep everything strapped to my body in zipped up pouches but there are always scam mercahnts ready and willing to spoil people's holidays.

Don't let them put you off.

Brussels, Belgium
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35,974 posts
3 reviews
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4. Re: Warning not all pickpockets look dodgy!

Interesting new variant on the distraction scam! I assume the "wife" must have already passed on your money to her accomplice, as she wouldn't otherwise have hung around - I wonder whether she was waiting for another opportunity with someone else, or just to make sure that if you raised the alarm, she could demonstrate that she didn't have anything on her.

Thank goodness you were canny enough not to have all your eggs in one basket.

Newcastle,Australia
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47 posts
47 reviews
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5. Re: Warning not all pickpockets look dodgy!

Yes I am thinking that she must be very bold to sit there with us. I am assuming that she passed on the money for that reason. They must sum up the opportunity they get and see what is possible.

Sydney, Australia
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152 posts
20 reviews
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6. Re: Warning not all pickpockets look dodgy!

A similar thing happened to us in Rome last year when we took the regional train to Orvieto. The train was pretty empty and we were sitting in our seats with our luggage next to us waiting for others to pass before putting it on the overhead racks. A mother and daughter with a small child team kept coming up to us and telling us we had to put our bags on the racks. We kept telling them to go away and we'd do it when we were ready. They were very persistent and while I wasn't budging my husband decided to put his bag up.

Next thing you know I see his wallet sitting on the seat opposite me. I grabbed it and they only went away when we forcefully told them to leave us alone.

Long story short - nothing was missing from the wallet and a lesson learned. There was not a lot of money in it but it was a deep sports wallet and the money was very low down in it so if you made a cursory glance it would appear to be empty.

Carmarthen Wales
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for Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire
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7. Re: Warning not all pickpockets look dodgy!

It happened to my wife in Prague a few years ago, only a little girl of about 10 was standing tight to her when the changing of the guard in the castle happened, so it must of been the little girl.went to the police station,and there were all nationalities there reporting their losses, happened every day at the guard change, and she had her bag zipped up and across her front, so you cannot be too careful

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Prague
Prague
Bohemia, Czech Republic
Newcastle,Australia
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47 posts
47 reviews
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8. Re: Warning not all pickpockets look dodgy!

With our train it was very crowded and the luggage racks on the ground near the seats were already full. With the train filling up I was aware I was blocking the passageway which is why I let the man help me. I also had my bag across me and zipped up. I must have pushed it to the back of me to get it out of the way. While this was a sorry experience we did have lots of genuine help while we were in Italy.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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151 posts
54 reviews
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9. Re: Warning not all pickpockets look dodgy!

ABC news just aired a story about the rise in pickpocketing in most of the popular cities in Europe. They showed some amazing videos of just how good these people are at taking things. We are going to do our best not to get ripped off on our upcoming trip.

Melbourne, Australia
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1,501 posts
23 reviews
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10. Re: Warning not all pickpockets look dodgy!

When travelling on trains, I ensure my handbag is locked so I dont need to worry about anyone grabbing my purse or passport while I am distracted with my luggage.