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Watch your wallets

Kingston Upon Hull...
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Watch your wallets

Visited the Saturday market in Heralion on 21.7.12. And, following excellent advice, left most of our cash and cards locked up in our accommodation

I normally walk a step behind my husband in crowds but a 5 foot 6 inch slightly built approx 70 year old weatherbeaten man (looked mediterranean) managed to get between us. He started dipping down and moving from side to side. A younger man kept calling to him and I thought the old man had got away from him and he was trying to call him back. Dementia I though. More fool me. I could not exactly see where the old man's hands were but became suspicious and tried to push him away from my husband (I did not call out not wanting to cause a scene).

As I pushed the old man, the younger one put his hand on my arm and started pointing to the right and saying something in his language. Distracted I looked right. Then they both disappeared.

Once we were clear of the crowd, my husband found that his wallet had been snatched.

There are no police around, went into a shop and was told there were no police. Had no map so not sure where we were in relation to the rest of the town, but managed to find our way back to the bus station.

We had to get the bus back to Stalis to speak to our rep, only to be told that the police station was in Hersonissos.

We lost money, and a couple of credit cards, but managed to cancel them within 4 hours of the theft. If we could have found a policeman in Heraklion we could have cancelled them earlier.

On returning home 10 days later happy to find no attempts had been made on the credit cards.

The authorities did not seem too bothered, or it happens so often they are immune to it. BUT. We had taken over 1000 euro's to spend in Crete, and I was so annoyed that I refused to spend money on anything other than what was necessary and returned home with 3/4 of what we had taken. Nor will we be going back even though the rest of the holiday was crime free.

Surrey, United...
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1. Re: Watch your wallets

What an awful experience for you both...it must have been horrid and I know when I have been a victim of crime in the past it does make you feel very vulnerable . However, please please do not judge the whole of Crete because of your one awful experience :-( ...as the thieves could well have been tourists.

The reason that there arent usually that many police visible in Crete is because basically there isnt that much crime around the island.

I have been travelling to Crete for many many years and have never had any problems with any crime what so ever, you were very very unlucky :-( thankfully the thief didnt manage to access any of your credit card which must have been a huge relief to you.

Galway, Ireland
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2. Re: Watch your wallets

Its an awful expericence, it happened to my mother in Italy in one of the main train stations - it was a distraction technique used as people were trying to get on the train. However, I would not let this put you off going to Greece. We have been going there for over 20 years and never had a problem. My mother certainly didnt let it put her off going to Italy. Next to greece, its our favourite place to visit and we have been back many times since my mother was robbed and never had a problem.

If you reported it to the police in Hersonnissos and got a police report make sure you make a claim on your travel insurance now you are home so you are not out of pocket.

Re: cancelling the credit cards - if they are stolen, dont wait to see the poilice, cancel them immediately, if they are stolen, chances of getting them back are very slim.

Ireland
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3. Re: Watch your wallets

A dreadful thing to happen to you, and I do sympathise, but to say you will not return is just silly. This goes on everywhere, the world over.

You (and me) are just lucky it has never happend before. London, Dublin, any supemarket, any theme park, any bar...you are probably just angry because you were "had" by the younger man distracting you.

I would be too!

But these people are clever and professional. Sometimes they are just opportunists. I would just learn from that awful experience.

London, United...
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4. Re: Watch your wallets

A very unpleasant experience. But if it has put you off returning to Crete, that is how you feel, and it probably doesn't help to have people telling you that you shouldn't feel as you feel.

Nor does it help for me to say that crime is still unusual in Crete - although pickpocketing does seem to be increasing - and that what happened to you in Heraklion could have happened anywhere, and was more likely to happen in almost any other city in the world. Statistics are meaningless in such a case: this happened to you in Heraklion, not anywhere else.

I hope your feelings will change, because it's a pity to judge such a wonderful place on the basis of an unpleasant experience. But if your feelings don't change, there are other wonderful places to visit. Just be careful with your valuables - and make sure your husband doesn't keep his wallet in his back pocket, the classic Best Spot for wallets to be snatched.

Edited: 03 August 2012, 12:28
Gloucester, United...
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5. Re: Watch your wallets

I can understand how your experience is putting you off returning to Crete, but it could have happened anywhere in the world where crowds gather. We were warned in Tenerife not to take wallets or purses when visiting the main market there because of pick pockets.

London, United...
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6. Re: Watch your wallets

It would be nice to know if Maria P is reading the responses to her post and if they are helping her get over her unfortunate experience. It was her first post, and perhaps she just wanted to vent her feelings and has now gone away.

Maria P, if you're still here, do give us a sign of life!

malta
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7. Re: Watch your wallets

Lourdes, France is a Religious Shrine and so you tend to relax your usual anti-pick pocketing attention.

I was sitting on a bench with my bag next to me - which I wouldn't have done in, for example, Barcelona. A police man came up to me and warned me that any where there are crowds you're bound to find pick pockets. Lourdes was no exception.

Derbyshire
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8. Re: Watch your wallets

An awful thing to happen and one that is bound to leave a bad taste in your mouth.

But pick-pockets operate in most places in the world.

There have been warnings aplenty for people at Olympic events to be especially wary.

There's even been TV reports about gangs of European pick-pockets coming to the UK particularly for that purpose.

I wouldn't automattically assume the thieves were Greek, nor would I assume they were tourists.

They are probably part of a gang, maybe from another country (don't want to put down where).

You don't say which pocket your OH had his wallet but it's never wise to have it in your back pocket.

In fact, when we go to markets or days out etc my OH always has his cash and any cards in a zipped pocket in the front of his shorts.

swindon,england
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9. Re: Watch your wallets

I was pickpocketed in Amsterdam,my pal i was with was mugged in Barcelona along with around 50 other fellow Celtic fans a few years back,certainly gives you a severe reminder to always be on your guard in any main town or city anywhere in the world.

There are some very good money concealers on the market which are well worth investing a few pounds in,i purchased one on e-bay and now never go abroad without it,also saves me paying out for a safe,so money well spent.

10. Re: Watch your wallets

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