2012

Hotel registry on display

Hotel guests: read all about ’em

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So much personal information on display at quaint, old-fashioned hotels like the one we recently stayed at in Bali. Which rooms are occupied? What…

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Phone thieves: Florin & Friend

Child phone thieves answer questions

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Florin and his 13-year-old pal emphasize that they are not pickpockets—they are phone thieves. They steal phones from tabletops, not from people. The distinction…

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Bob Arno pickpocketed in Bali—video

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What kind of monkey business is going on when the thief rejects cash and throws bills taken from the pocket onto the ground? Watch…

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A road warrior self-portrait taken in a hotel mirror

Bag theft epidemic at Atlanta Airport carousel

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Atlanta Airport Police tell a business traveler that luggage theft from the carousel is currently an “epidemic” and “out of control.” The busines-traveler-victim plays…

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How a pickpocket steals from a jacket hung on the back of a restaurant chair.

Pickpocket steals from jacket on cafe chair

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A strategist thief is one who creates his own opportunity, one who operates on a specific plan, one who steals with malice aforethought. The…

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Phones on cafe table

Smartphone theft and police response

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Since recently coming to understand the high numbers of smartphone theft in Barcelona, the manners in which they’re stolen, and the strategic refusal of…

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credit card shimming

How a stolen credit card number makes cash for a fraudster

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All this talk of stolen credit cards and “skimming.” Then what? What happens after you’ve swiped your card through a tampered-with ATM, gas pump,…

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Carrer de Ferran, Barcelona

Barcelona bag-snatch and the lucky victims

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Barcelona police are eager to report a theft when they catch the thief and return the victim’s property—if the following story is any indication….

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Al'alla, a retired pickpocket in Tangier

Barcelona’s Ronaldinho pickpocket technique

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Thieves who operate on the principles of stealth, motion, or impedence strive to minimize contact with their victim. Zero face-time is their preference. Minimal…

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Bob Arno in Barcelona with two of the three "table-top boys."

Smartphone theft: thieves are magicians

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Smartphone theft Smartphone theft is out of control. Phones are flying off cafe tables right under the noses of their owners. The thieves are…

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mossos d'esquadra

Barcelona police prevent theft-report filings

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Barcelona police are turning away theft victims who come to report the theft of their phones. Why? The victims can’t provide the stolen phones’…

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Barcelona police refuse to file reports of stolen phones without serial numbers

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Bob and I visited the Barcelona police station for information and found the usual line of victims reporting thefts. I asked a young Norwegian…

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The postcards are pulled away along with the wallet.

The Pickpocket’s postcard trick

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Kharem is another opportunist who doubles as a minor-league strategist. When we first met him, he was prowling the perimeter of a breakdance performance…

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