2011

Hotel Oddity #22

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This very cup, holding this very fine pen, sat on a desk in our room. The coffee cup was from the hotel’s restaurant. The…

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Naples postcard

Postcard from Naples

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A postcard from Naples! I recognized the image of the thirteenth century Castel Nuovo right away. It was an old postcard, but lots of…

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A devious scorpion scam

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Intruder on the loose. In the midst of all the excitement of the premiere of our National Geographic documentary, and all the television promotion…

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A platform for pickpockets

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Denouement. None of us wanted to leave the park. After the demos, the dinner, and the as-yet-untold experience on the buses, after the conversation,…

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Criminal scavengers, and poets as well

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Bob gets cold feet. Overnight, reality began to percolate and bubble over the exhilaration of yesterday’s thieves’ challenge. By morning it was clear to…

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A seafood orgy with thieves

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Dinner with thieves, continued. Carafes of white wine land on the table. I join Andy and Lou and have beer. Among much laughter, the…

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A pickpocket party begins

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Dinner with thieves. It’s 3:00. The film crew’s still perfecting camera angles, lighting, and table arrangements. I’ve taken my seat as requested, so cameras…

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Overly careless behavior repels thieves—but don’t try it!

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Anticipation. Frank has RSVPed by email, with enthusiasm. But what about the others? Will they come to our dinner? I wonder about the restaurant…

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A missing wallet, nakedness, email from a thief

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Thieves find us, more. It was a big day for us, and for the whole documentary team. The lowlifers stealing Bob’s wallet, finding Marc…

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Andy demo: "The best pickpocket"

The best pickpocket, self-proclaimed

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Thieves find us, continued. We’re not looking for pickpockets; just busy filming pickup shots on the bus for the documentary, when known thieves Marc…

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A lowlife, drug-addled pickpocket

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Thieves find us. “Police, police! She took my wallet!” That’s Bob screaming at ear-splitting volume. Not his usual reaction to pickpocketing! Usually, he turns…

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Getting used to cameras on me all day

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On making a documentary. As I said, you’d think a documentary is just a camera following the action—but the action must be lit and…

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Bob Arno teaches pickpockets to steal moneybelts

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Day Two, Meeting with Thieves. It rained. We stood waiting in the drizzle in a park behind some kiddie carnival rides, pretty certain they…

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Just listening flatters the thieves

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Thiefhunting, Day One, still more. This is an old-fashioned town, lightly touched by the 21st century. Vendors ply the streets like the horse-and-buggy days…

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Pickpockets, meet the film crew

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Thiefhunting, Day One, more. We’ve been standing in the tiny coffee bar more than an hour, speaking loudly. Eventually, the owner throws us out….

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Frank's hand

The human side of cold, heartless criminals

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Thiefhunting, Day One, continued. Bob and I were on a high, having found a talented pickpocket team on the first bus ride of our…

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Bob Arno “Pickpocket King” National Geographic documentary—part 6

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Thiefhunting, Day One, continued. As we synchronize our thiefhunting plans with the film crew, I’m newly appreciative of Michele, our London-based sound recordist, who…

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Bob Arno “Pickpocket King” National Geographic documentary—part 5

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Thiefhunting, Day One. Fully half the day is spent rigging hidden cameras. I’m wearing a button camera attached to an awful button-down shirt that…

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Bob Arno “Pickpocket King” National Geographic documentary-Part 3

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“They’ve bugged our room,” I postulated to Bob in the taxi from the airport. “I bet they hid video cameras inside.” That aspect of…

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Bob Arno “Pickpocket King” National Geographic documentary—part 2

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“Are you wearing a bra?” That was one of the first sentences directed to me upon landing in our location city. We did not…

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Bob Arno “Pickpocket King” National Geographic documentary

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Day 1—TIME TO MAKE an announcement. Our long-dreamed of, long-worked-for project has become reality. Bob and I are making a documentary about pickpockets. The…

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“Travel Advisory” eBooks available

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Get yer eBook now! If you like my posts, you’ll love my book of thieves, Travel Advisory: How to Avoid Thefts, Cons, and Street…

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Barcelona Street Scams

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“I, too, was a victim of Barcelona street scams…” said more than a hundred people. And they described their own thieves, con artists, fake…

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Bait and switch—part 4

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Buy-a-Brick (continued from Part 3) (The making of ABC 20/20: Bait-and-Switch) The lawlessness of Naples stunned us all. Even Bob and I, who have…

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Bait and switch—part 3

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Souvenir Sucker Our friend Russell, a magician, works a considerable amount of time each year in Asia. A streetwise New Yorker, he knows pretty…

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Bait and switch—part 2

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Buy-a-Brick (continued from Part 1) Our first clear capture of the actual swap occurred on a sidewalk. The partners were running after their customer,…

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Bait and switch

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Your greed + a deal too good to pass up = bait and switch: Buy-a-Brick “Pssssst. Come ’ere. A brand new video camera with…

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Bob Arno on “Pickpocket King”

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Hi, Bob Arno here. First, thank you all for passionate comments (here and here) on our National Geographic documentary, Pickpocket King. To a certain…

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Italians petition against “Pickpocket King” documentary

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In Naples, Italy, media reports concerning our upcoming National Geographic pickpocket documentary have stirred up serious controversy. A large number of citizens have become…

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My book of thieves now available for Kindle!

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I’m thrilled to announce the availability of my book, Travel Advisory: How to Avoid Thefts, Cons, and Street Scams on Amazon for the Kindle….

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