July 12, 2011
I have just returned to Rome from Paris where I had the unpleasant experience of having a "gang" trying to rob me. At the station of Denfert-Rocherau, while waiting for the train to take me to Orly airport, I was accosted by a well-dressed gentleman (with specs and a brief-case) who politely asked me if I was waiting for a train to Orly. I said yes. He stood there for a couple of minutes and then moved off. I suspected nothing at the moment. When the train arrived and I entered it, I found a seat near the entrance and sat down. A young woman entered soon after, came to me, and indicating that she was pregnant made a sign asking me to give her my seat. I stood up and offered her my place. As I stood up, I found myself surrounded by a group of about five or six young women, one of whom asked me the time. Meanwhile, a brown-coloured man standing close by, made signs to me to be careful. I got the message. I moved away from where I stood in the middle and took up a standing place behind the women with the result that they couldn't manage to steal anything off me. The "pregnant" woman got up from my seat in another minute, walked to the nearby exit and got off at the next stop. So did the young women who had surrounded me. A French lady, who, I guess, had been watching the whole scene, whispered to me before getting off the train: "I'm so sorry; those were pickpockets!"
What surprises me is that the travelling public knows who the pickpockets are, but the police don't!