Saturday, November 28, 2009

Three Man Crush

~ During the whole seven months I was travelling in 2008, I only experienced one incident which had the potential to spoil what had up until that point, been a fantastic vacation. Just days before I was due to leave Greece and fly to London before my return to Australia, a team of pickpockets tried to steal my wallet.

It was the classic 'three man crush' routine (that's the name I am given it anyway), which goes like this: a team of three thieves unobtrusively surrounds you just as you are about to board a train - as in my case - a bus, or while you are caught in a large crowd.

One person stands directly in front of you while the other two stand on either side of you. Depending on where your wallet or purse is being held - mine was in my left-side pants pocket - the team moves in for the steal. Just as I was about to board the train, the man on my right bumps into me, knocking me slightly off balance into his accomplice in front of me. In the few seconds that I am distracted and trying to regain my balance, the man on my left is putting his hand into my pocket trying to lift my wallet out.

While this routine was being put into effect, I was thinking: Hey, there's no need to push and shove! Let the disembarking passengers get off first. But I could also feel something tickling my thigh! It was not until I was in the carriage that I realised what had taken place, and that the thing tickling my thigh had been someones hand.

Thankfully, the trousers I was wearing that day had deep pockets. Literally. And the thief was unable to steal my wallet. The bizarre thing is, that since we were all in the process of boarding the train when all this was happening, the three man team had to enter the carriage as well. Of course, they pretended they didn't know each other, but I couldn't help notice the little sidelong glances that passed between them before they left the subway train at the next station.

To this day, I regret not confronting the three thieves in some way, or alerting authorities, but then I hadn't lost anything, and they of course, would have denied everything.

I'm pretty certain they were not Greek nationals themselves, and I'm also sure that this type of thing probably takes place every day in every major city in the world.

The lesson here is to wear trousers with deep pockets, and keep your wits about you - you never know when you might be caught in a three man crush.

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