Naples

Pickpocket paradise: a tram packed to bursting, thieves squashed against victims

Pickpocket paradise: a crowded bus

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Pickpocket paradise, but still requires nerve and patience Luciano’s morning hit was tense. He had ridden the trams during what should have been rush-hour,…

stealing credit cards

Stealing credit cards on trains

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So, we’re standing at a bar near the train station, drinking espresso with pickpockets in Naples (how we got here is described in Part…

pickpockets in Naples

Coffee with pickpockets in Naples

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Coffee with Thieves An August Sunday in Naples. Holiday time for all of Europe and most shops were shut. We bought bus tickets at…

Naples pickpocket warning

Naples pickpocket Angelo sighted

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Guest Post Dear Bob Arno and Bambi Vincent, I want to thank you for your information. Before I went to Naples I searched for…

View from the table: Fumy motorbikes buzz by the lone pizza table in the street.

Pizza fumé

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Sounds good, but it’s not what you think if you’re imagining a fragrant, wood-smoked Margherita pie. Back in Naples, lunching at the tiniest pizza…

Naples lane at night

The Thieves of Naples—part 9

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NAPLES, ITALY, the week before christmas. We now have to rush to our last meeting with Franco outside Mergellina station. It’s 5:00 and Michele…

Zucchini

The Thieves of Naples—part 8

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NAPLES, ITALY, the week before christmas. After his demonstration of hard bargaining, pickpockets Angelo and Luciano smoke on the narrow balcony while we chat…

Naples pickpockets: Angelo, left, and Michele, right.

The Thieves of Naples—part 7

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NAPLES, ITALY, the week before christmas. Michele arrives promptly at Circumvesuviana station with his brother Lucca. Lucca’s nice to have along, and also helps…

bait and switch thief in Naples. Pacco man

The Thieves of Naples—part 6

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NAPLES, ITALY, the week before christmas. Leaving our hotel at 12:30 to meet Michele for our 1:30 appointment with Luciano, we pass by the…

Bambi and Bob Arno, filmed with glasses-cam

The Thieves of Naples—part 5

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NAPLES, ITALY, the week before christmas. At the Piazza Garibaldi bus stop outside the main train station Michele goes to buy a bus ticket…

A serious security-risk, especially when cavorting with thieves. Stash in pickpocket-proof underwear.

The Thieves of Naples—part 4

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NAPLES, ITALY, the week before christmas. We take the tram to Circumvesuviana train station to meet Michele, with whom we intend to go find…

Pulcinella, symbol of Naples

The Thieves of Naples—part 3

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The Thieves of Naples NAPLES, ITALY, the week before christmas. At Osteria Tonino, a small family restaurant, we were seated with friends of the…

Shoe-shopping in Naples

The Thieves of Naples—part 2

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NAPLES, ITALY, the week before christmas. Everywhere we go, people recognize Bob from the film. They stop in cars in the street (1:30 a.m….

Pulcinella, symbol of Naples

The Thieves of Naples

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NAPLES, ITALY, the week before christmas. POURING rain. 3:30 p.m. and it’s already dark, with gushing rivers flowing through the streets. Our luggage didn’t…

Sfogliatelle inside

Sfogliatelle!

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If this doesn’t make you drool, well, try the lower photo. Sfogliatelli must be the most exquisite pastry ever invented. Found only in Naples,…

Naples panorama—view from our room at the San Francesco al Monte Hotel.

Hotel oddity #25

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The San Francesco al Monte hotel in Naples, Italy, a former monastery originally carved into the mountain in the 16th century, is a warren…

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…

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…

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…