Firenze

Watch your wallets and phones

It is spring and it seems that is when the pick pocketers are more on the prowl.  There are larger crowds, so making it easier for them to work.  Also more people are out giving them a better choice.  Moms always keep the bags and phones on you this is no guarantee, but they do like to strike the moms with strollers and if you leave on the stroller they will get it.   Some areas that some moms have reported in the past are markets, buses, trains, and stores.

Here are true stories some happened in the past two days.

Be alert! Today someone took my wallet from my handbag when I was in a bookshop. I was approached by a man who asked me how much something cost and I directed him towards the shop assistant. When I went to pay for the book I wanted, no wallet! Great distraction technique, I was trying to be helpful while his accomplice must have taken it. Have cancelled cards, filled in a police report and tried to work out if I’ve forgotten anything. What a rubbish start to the long weekend! …Rebecca

Oh no.. I have been there as well:( I just caught a gypsy with her hand half way into an old ladys purse on Tuesday at piazza San Marco.. So be careful! …Stine

I had my wallet stolen on the number 6 bus last October. I was taking my son to school and had just validated my ticket, which I put back in my wallet which I then slipped into my purse. At San Marco I felt the very slightest, barely-there tug and immediately checked my purse, all the while thinking I had imagined it : no wallet! I immediately accosted a man standing next to me and accused him, even searched him (he was willing to be searched which, retrospectively, made me realize that he WAS indeed the culprit)… Anyhow, a few weeks ago I was on the same bus at the same hour, there was the same man eyeing a group of Indian tourists… I immediately warned them and got a menacing glare from the thief… so, if you take the number 6 bus between 8-9 in the morning, BEWARE. The man is often on that bus (seen him other times too), always standing by the door, always eager to help with information, looks a little rough, as if homeless. He has an accomplice whom he hands the goods to at who gets off at the next stop, hence I was unable to find my wallet on him.  …Iris

Also beware in the Cascine Market – my son caught a guy trying to take stuff out of the hood pockets while I was distracted by a stall, the guy hadn’t realised we were together…pushchairs and strollers are really easy targets..This is Florence’s busiest weekend so be extra vigilant as all the thieves will be out.. Alyson

Also beware of carrying your handbag in your hand by the handles or even loosely on your shoulder. I had mine snatched out of my hand by a guy on a Vespa who sped past the wrong way up a one-way street. All happened in a blink of an eye. The second time someone tried it, I clung onto my bag and was dragged up the street until the guy on the Vespa have up and sped off. Always walk on the pavement with your bag near the wall and not on the road side!! …Jacqueline

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  1. On Friday, March 30, I took the #11 bus from the Oltrearno to San Marco. Shortly before entering the square, I moved from my seat in the rear of the bus to the middle door to prepare to exit. A man at the door tried to make eye contact and became very solicitous, as if he was trying to help me. As the bus came to a stop, he suddenly put his body between me and the door and positioned his legs and arms in a spread-eagle fashion that would have prevented me from exiting. (That was the first hint that someone who had tried to be “helpful” might have something else in mind.) At the same time he mumbled something unintelligible to a woman behind me. (This was the first hint that he had a companion.) She immediately came in behind me. I felt her body pressing up against mine and realized they had effectively “cornered” me between the two of them and the post in the middle of the exit way. I had a camera in my right hand and my pocketbook securely around my neck and shoulder. I instinctively reached for my pocketbook with my left hand and secured it close to my body. It was then that the man brought his arms down, gestured as if to say “Ok, you won,” and bowed to let me off the bus, “Prego, Signora.” It all happened in less than 30 seconds, but was quite unsettling. I moved into the crowded bus stop ahead and watched as he walked off into the park and she left in a another direction. As an American visitor, I was surprised to see almost no police presence in this busy square or in most of Florence during my recent visit last month. I feel it is important to post this so that others will be aware of the tactics of these thiefs.

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