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Thu Jul 12, 2018, 06:47 AM

If you travel to Europe this summer, beware of this: [View all]

Especially in public transportation and at train stations.....

There are trained bands of three to four, usually younger guys in their twenties. What they do is this: one of them smears some junk on the back or your jacket/shirt, whatever. Another comes up and "helpfully" telly you that you have some junk on your back and offers to help you wipe it off. When you look (which is what they want), you put your luggage or handbag down and take off your jacket (or whatever) to look, and indeed, there will be something there. In the second(s) while you are doing this, the third one grabs and runs off with your handbag/luggage/whatever. If caught, the "helpful" ones had no idea (of course) about any luggage or handbag you might have had, and don't know (of course) who could possibly have robbed you.

In Belgium, the only place this had happened to me before, it was either bands of Moroccans or Romanians. A band tried this on me yesterday evening in the Düsseldorf train station. First time in Germany (for me, anyway). This time, they seemed to comprise both ethnicities. I knew what was happening, of course, and when they told me I had some guck on my back, and took out kleenex to "help" me get it off, I knew exactly what was going on, and told them to fuck off, which they did once they realized I was on to them.

These bands of organized thieves are HIGHLY skilled at what they do, and if you drop your guard for even a second, you will be minus a handbag or a suitcase in no time flat. They only strike where they can make a quick escape into a crowd, and down stairs or out a door.

I now have a ruined jacket with the back completely smeared with pancake make-up. It's still preferable to losing my laptop or my briefcase full of documents or my suitcase. This being Europe, nothing will ever be done about these thieves, so don't expect any help from the police if you get robbed. They are not interested. Protect yourself by knowing in advance about the tactic. If someone comes up to you and tells you that your outer garment has been smeared with something, and offers to help you clean it off, tell them to get lost--forcefully--and hold on to your belongings as tightly as you can.

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Ohiya Jul 2018 #1
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