2011

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…

A devious scorpion scam

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…

A platform for pickpockets

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,…

Criminal scavengers, and poets as well

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…

A seafood orgy with thieves

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…

A pickpocket party begins

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…

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

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…

A missing wallet, nakedness, email from a thief

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…

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…

A lowlife, drug-addled pickpocket

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…

Getting used to cameras on me all day

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…

Bob Arno teaches pickpockets to steal moneybelts

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…

Just listening flatters the thieves

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…

Pickpockets, meet the film crew

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….

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…

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

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…

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

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…

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

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…

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

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…

Bob Arno “Pickpocket King” National Geographic documentary

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…

“Travel Advisory” eBooks available

“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…

Barcelona Street Scams

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…

Bait and switch—part 4

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…

Bait and switch—part 3

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…

Bait and switch—part 2

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,…

Bait and switch

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…

Bob Arno on “Pickpocket King”

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…

Italians petition against “Pickpocket King” documentary

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…

My book of thieves now available for Kindle!

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….