Invitation to steal

Purse hung on back of a chair in a restaurant.Bob and I must not be working hard enough. We’re just not getting the message out. We had a very good dinner at the intimate, chef-owned EVOO, in Boston, where we found this woman, happily oblivious to her open invitation. See her red-lined purse gaping open, behind her back? We brushed against it in the tight squeeze getting to our table, but she didn’t notice. We, or anyone, could easily have plucked out her wallet or cell phone. When Bob spoke to her, she admitted that she (or was it her female companion?) had already been a victim of theft from a purse hung on the back of a chair.

Men: hanging a jacket on the back of a chair is just as risky if you’ve got goodies in your pockets.

Might be a good time to read Purseology 101 and/or Pocketology 101.

EVOO serves a beautiful dish called Duck, Duck, Goose: duck confit, seared duck foie gras, sliced goose breast, lentils, haricot vert, escarole and sherry-ginger sauce.

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  • Hi J. The shoe-solution depends a lot on the kind of shoes you’re wearing, but it should be fine if it’s comfortable enough. Bob once put credit cards in his sock, and found that they worked themselves up as he walked. One fell out and got lost!

    I hate to say “it depends” again, but where will you be? Tokyo? No problem! Sao Paolo? Keep it concealed in a bag criss-crossed across your chest when you’re not using it. Or stick to the pocket-cam.

    The things is, you have to live life. You can’t live in fear. Just try to be aware and cut your risks. Research the crime and safety factor before you go, and prepare yourself according to your tolerance of risk. Good luck and have fun!

  • Would it be a good idea to store credit cards and a minimal amount of cash in my shoe?

    Also, what’s your advice on cameras? I have a nice Canon EOS but, I’m really fearful of bringing it out with me. It’s tough to conceal and easy to cut/remove the strap (I supose). Should I just stick to my little digital camera instead?

  • We saw exactly this at the Oktoberfest in Munich last year, where people get so drunk they pass out. We saw a man sprawled in the grass with his arm outstretched and his phone in his hand. We were making a German television show about pickpockets there (on RTL network). Our producer took the phone out of the man’s hand as our crew filmed. Then he tucked it into the man’s pocket and tried to wake him. Anyone could have taken anything from this guy, or many like him. Drunks are natural targets. As are women with gaping-open purses!

  • Hi Bambi,

    I was just curious about something, when I saw a thread called “Invitation to Steal”, it made me think of an incident: one night while I was working at a gas station, a very drunk guy came in to buy some cigarettes, and had several dolar bills hanging from his pockets. I warned him twice to put his money away, but he didn’t respond to it. A few seconds later, two young women came in, saw his condition and lack of attention to his cash. The two then basically pulled a fake seduction on him, one showing him attention while the other was basically vacuuming his pockets clean. I called the police on them, but I never found out if the girls were ever caught.

    So this makes me wonder: have you and Bob ever encountered something like this, where it was SO easy to steal something off of someone, it was almost not worth mentioning because it’s just common sense/courtesy to tell the potential mark their about to lose something valuable? Thanks, and again you have a great website!


  • If you see my purse like this on a chair, it’s because the only thing of “value” in it are my pills, my splenda, my brush, and things like that.

    I have a zippered change purse where I keep my cash and credit cards, and most of the time, that’s in the front pocket of my pants. The only time it is in my purse is if I’m wearing something that doesn’t have a pocket to put it in. If I have to put that in my purse, I then handle it a LOT more carefully, of course.

    I know that doesn’t make me completely safe, but it is easier to notice someone taking something from your body, especially a front pocket, than from a purse. And I figure that most times, a thief expects a woman with a purse to have all the valuables in it, not in a pocket, anyway.

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