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the lady spanishes

EX-FLEET STREET JOURNALIST DONNA GEE SHARES SOME REMARKABLE TALES OF COSTA BLANCA LIVING

Look out, there's a Costa criminal about!
20 November 2015 @ 21:55

The gullibility of Brits in the Spanish Costas, and not only tourists, never ceases to amaze me.

Virtually every day I hear that someone or other has been the victim of a pickpocket or handbag snatch.

The experience of being mugged in public is both traumatic and disruptive, particularly if your passport happens to be among the stolen items. Which is why I have always been ultra-careful when it comes to protecting my possessions.

I have never been robbed – unless you count the evening I found 45 euros in notes on the floor of the Irish bar in El Raso and gave it to a tipsy punter who claimed he had dropped it. I realised when I got home that the money had fallen out of my own purse!

OK, that was stupid – but nowhere near as daft as those male tourists who wander around Spanish markets with their wallets wedged in the back pocket of their shorts. And the women who leave their handbags on a table or chair while they chat to friends, only to discover when they come to pay the bill that they have no money…and no handbag.

It happened to a friend of mine a while back. She went for a coffee after a busy day at work, plonked her handbag down alongside her and when she next looked - whoosh, it had vanished.

The sting was that this particular lady invariably carried all her documents, including her passport, in that bag, not to mention a considerable amount of money. It was an experience that will live with her until her dying day – and the saddest thing of all is that it could have so easily been avoided.

My friend has been living in Spain for some time, but most of the victims of the petty thieves tend to be tourists. They are so hell-bent on enjoying themselves that being robbed is the last thing on their minds. What juicy pickings for the villains...

I follow a regular procedure with my handbag. When I am in a public place, I always wrap the strap around my wrist so it can’t be snatched. And when I sit down, the strap goes under a chair or table-leg so it can only ‘vanish’ accompanied by an entourage of furniture.

Oh, and I NEVER take a bag to market – I carry cash in notes and wedge them into my bra. It means that no-one can rob me without being arrested for indecent assault!

My advice to men is that if you go anywhere where there’s a large crowd, leave your wallet at home, in your hotel, or hidden under the carpet in your car boot. Put the cash you need in your trouser pocket (not the back one!) and to make the fortress impregnable, how about keeping your hand in your pocket as you walk around?

While Spain’s Moroccan and Romanian communities are thought to be behind the majority of bag-snatches, I suspect the perpetrators come from more diverse roots. What one does have to concede is that these ladrones, however much reviled, have a remarkable skill.

One person I know had her purse stolen from the handbag on her shoulder as she browsed her way around a crowded department store. The thief not only unzipped the bag and removed the purse without anyone noticing – but also zipped the bag up again!

It was the best part of half an hour before my friend realised she’d been robbed. And the way it was done suggests that the perpetrator could make a decent living as a stage magician or in a circus.

But then, theatre audiences are not quite so generous to the sleight-of-hand merchants as the mugs they feed off every day…



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3 Comments


Feeg said:
28 November 2015 @ 09:18

It is nigh impossible to steal a handbag-purse-or wallet if it has a mini-minder alarm attached. If the article is taken the m-m goes along with it as does its ear-splitting 130+ decibels alarm. The thief gets such a fright at being the center of attention, he drops the bag and takes off. Well worth the few euros for peace of mind. Anyone wants one, send me your email. Rgds


leoleon said:
28 November 2015 @ 09:54

I'm sure there are a million stories of how people are robbed, some tragic some funny and some satisfying for the victim.
Perhaps I can relate a few incidents that happened to friends.

1 - An old trick, popular in Italy too. Sitting in the car at traffic lights, with
windows open of course. It does get warm in the south. My friend had her handbag safely on her lap. Her husband driving. A kind gentleman approached the drivers side and explained that the back tyre was flat. The driver got out to investigate. It was indeed flat with a big gash in it, as if stabbed with a knife. The kindly passerby had disappeared into the crowd. While still scratching his head in confusion, an accomplice leaned into the the passenger side and whipped out the lady's handbag, which she was not actually clutching tightly at that moment. Constant vigilance is difficult when you are anticipating a nice holiday in the sun.

2 - A very satisfying moment for another friend, who had some experience on the Costas. Again at traffic lights, windows open. A rather elegantly dressed lady approached the lone female driver and asked directions. My friend had developed the habit of putting the passenger seat belt through her handbag handle. Whilst attempting to give the lady directions, she noticed through the corner of her eye that an accomplice was trying to snatch her bag. He was foiled by the seat belt of course but the intended victim realising the scam, threw a punch, at the lady who was leaning at the open window and split her lip. She fell back onto the floor screaming. Her accomplice abandoned his futile attempt to steal the bag and ran to the aid of his lady friend. At which point the lights changed to green and my friend sped off, feeling somewhat elated.
Stay alert folks - Not just in Spain, but in all countries, including your own.
Cheers
Leo


anthomo16 said:
28 November 2015 @ 18:40

I think it is a sad comment "gullible" I am not a tourist nor are many of my friends but unfortunately we have had our bags snatched by unscrupulous villains who use children or illness as a cause to momentarily stop the vigilance - so sorry I do tgake exception to the word gullible


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