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'Watch Out There's a Thief About' -

Go Local - July 2012

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With the heat already here and the tourists following close behind it will be, 'watch out, watch out, there's a thief about' time again. Wallets in back pockets and handbags under tables or on shopping trolleys are particularly vulnerable and these people are so quick. My friend just sent me an email which I reproduce in part. They stayed overnight in a hotel in Madrid prior to flying to America ''We went to the lobby cafe for breakfast (which we discovered later was not owned by the hotel), my wife went to order coffee and croissants while I paid the 80€ room bill. I joined my wife and sat with her, after 5 minutes we went to leave, only to discover her handbag had been stolen.

We are seasoned travellers and well aware of the many "pickpockets" that tour around Europe, but the window of opportunity to steal this bag was estimated at 15 seconds. We lost passports credit cards and cash. We had to cancel our flight to Miami, our cruise, in fact the whole holiday. It was a nightmare. We found out that the coffee shop had no CCTV and was not owned by the hotel." They believe that two women in flowing dresses that walked past just before hooked the strap of the bag with something they were carrying. Remember to always be particularly alert in crowded situations, shops or in public places where tourists congregate such as airports, railway stations, markets, bus stops, entrances to monuments and the like; these are the thieves paradise. Be suspicious of people moving against the flow of a crowd, invading your space or unnecessarily jostling you.

Keep bags tight to the body, don't leave them on a trolley. Always have the flap on the inside and keep a hand on the bag where possible. Zips closed. Never hang on the back of chairs in restaurants or put on the floor. Preferably keep cards/cash in a less accessible place. Is it necessary to keep your keys with tags carrying your name and address? For men is the back pocket of your trousers the best place to keep your wallet? The most convenient maybe but also the easiest to get at. On holiday when often large amounts of cash are carried consider a money belt. Not always the most comfortable way to carry stuff but one of the safest. Don't be a 'loads of money' character displaying large wads to all and sundry, carry only what you can afford to lose. Make sure you keep a record of your Credit Card Numbers etc. Separately from the cards and the telephone numbers to cancel them.All the above hints are of course common sense but when we're out enjoying ourselves or on holiday they often go by the board. 

Above reprinted from article written by David Reeve for the bulletin of the Javea International Civic Society.