Sandy and Frances thought little of the gaggle of girls who flopped onto the bench they were resting on. There were more girls than could fit on the bench: half a dozen or more. They were pretty, 15-16-year-olds and with them was an adult woman. Their teacher, perhaps, Frances thought.
The girls cozied up to Sandy, making room for one more to squeeze onto the bench. They wiggled and squirmed, like impatient students in class, while the woman spoke to them. Sandy and Frances didn’t understand the language they spoke.
The couple didn’t notice that all the other benches were empty. They didn’t wonder why this gang, or “class,” had to crowd onto their bench. They were not the least suspicious of the girls.
“Why don’t we move so they can all fit,” Sandy said after a couple of minutes. He and Frances settled on the next bench.
“We needn’t have bothered,” he said, watching as the group immediately left the bench and the area.
Londoners Sandy and Frances had just flown into Barcelona to take a cruise. They were too early to board, but it was a gorgeous, sunny afternoon and they didn’t mind waiting the ten minutes before the gangway opened.
Soon they were in their stateroom, unpacking. Sandy opened a drawer to put away his wallet and, of course, you know: his pocket was empty. He’d had it in the cargo pocket of his pants, “secured” with two buttons. He told us how he went cold all over. How he checked and rechecked his pocket, not believing his wallet was really gone. But from the first instant, he knew exactly what had happened.
Are you groaning? Not another Barcelona story, please! I’m afraid so.
Sandy told us over and over how stupid he felt for letting it happen. There was a lot of money in the wallet, but his insurance would replace it. He just felt like an idiot. Although I’ve never heard of this particular technique, I assured him that this gang was well-practiced in the art of portraying innocence. They knew exactly how to behave, how to avoid rousing suspicion.
The thief hadn’t even unbuttoned the pocket. She didn’t need to. The gap between the two buttons was large enough for a slim hand and a wallet.
They got thousands of British pounds. I don’t think they’ll work for a while. We’re all safe from this gang, at least for the next week or two.