Naples

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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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….

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Bob Arno “Pickpocket King” National Geographic documentary—part 2

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“Are you wearing a bra?” That was one of the first sentences directed to me upon landing in our location city. We did not…

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