Good pickpocket victim is a know-it-all

A pickpocket steals from a back pocket, aka the sucker pocket.

A pickpocket steals from a back pocket, aka the sucker pocket.

Over-confidence is the enemy of travelers in unfamiliar lands. The know-it-all risks loss and embarrassment. Henry started his story with the wistful remark we’ve heard countless times:

“I didn’t think it could happen to me,” he said, shaking his head. “I never even sensed the other guy was near me.”

Henry and Kathy were world travelers. We met them in the third month of their current foreign travel adventure. Only in their forties, they were quite young compared to others with the time and resources for extended travel. Both were physically fit and mentally sharp. To Kathy’s alert, quiet reserve, Henry radiated self-assurance and arrogance.

On this day, as usual, Kathy carried their cash in the deep front pocket of her tight shorts. Henry carried nothing but the plastic boarding card issued to him by his cruise ship.

Another pickpocket's back-pocket technique.

Another pickpocket's back-pocket technique.

The couple was standing on a street corner near the souk in Casablanca when a large local man approached. Glancing at Henry’s Blue Jays cap, the interloper leaned into Henry, lightly knocking his shoulder.

“You from Canada?” he slurred, in a drunken act. Henry, always on his toes, second guessed the ulterior motive.

“Keep your hands off me, pal,” he said threateningly.

The stranger backed away and glanced across the street. Kathy followed his look and watched as a second man approached them. He was the big guy’s partner.

“Sorry, I have no use for this,” the partner said, and held out Henry’s boarding card. The couple had never even noticed him near them; yet somehow, he had been.

I like this story for its considerate thief. Most, with hopes of snagging a credit card quashed, would drop the worthless plastic in a trash bin, or more likely on the ground. The notion of a quixotic thief appeals to my wispy romantic being. Luciano, that ever-present menace on Naples’ trams, told us that, since he doesn’t use the credit cards he steals, he drops them into a mail box so they can be returned to their owners.

Had Henry Smartypants read the U.S. State Department’s report on Morocco, he would have known that “criminals have targeted tourists for robberies, assaults, muggings, thefts, purse snatching, pickpocketing, and scams of all types,” and that “most of the petty crime occurs in the medina/market areas….” Perhaps he would have thwarted the thief who snuck up behind him; his antennas would certainly have been up.

If misfortune befalls the unwary and swindlers seek the weak, enlighten yourself and raise your awareness.

Excerpt from Travel Advisory: How to Avoid Thefts, Cons, and Street Scams
Chapter Two (part-d): Research Before You Go

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