A word of caution...theft abroad!

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Lucy Wire, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. Lucy Wire

    Lucy Wire Funster

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    Just thought I would share a tale of our recent escapades in France and Spain - this is a negative one I'm afraid.
    After having taken Lucy Wire my trusty N&B 6700 Flair South to escape the imminent poor weather at the end of February we found ourselves tootling quite happily along the southern roads of France and in to Spain.
    We were mostly keeping off the Autoroutes (Peage) and most obvious toll roads and after a couple of days in Benidorm (different story/thread) had decided for a little mountain peace and quiet - off to Almocita (recommended).
    We were on the A7 just heading towards Almeria and decided to pull over at one of the larger fuel stops, park up and grab a spot of lunch. Had everything with us so didn't even need to open the door and put the steps down. Finished lunch and then............
    A car parked behind us, in our blind spot but visible on reversing camera, a guy got out of passenger side, reasonably well dressed and approached our right hand side (we are a lefty) where my wife sits. He had a map in hand. Knocked on window, which my wife opened to speak to him. (Hindsight: mistake)
    Now bear in mind we are in an N&B Flair A Class - the windows open horizontally and not vertically and the way the van is built the windows are quite low!!

    Guy thrusts in full scale unfolded map and blathers on in broken English (Hindsight: He should have been talking Spanish or to Spanish people for directions?) - my wife isn't good with maps so passed the map over to me. It was quite clear that where he wanted to go was noted on the map, but also on the motorway signposts - so I couldn't understand what help he needed. After I pointed this out he grabbed the map and headed back to his car.

    Under cover of the unfolded map he had reached in and stolen Sharon's handbag.

    Not a cheap one I may add and also containing all her worldly possessions. Sharon had assumed that the bag being on the floor and not on display was relatively safe......... (Hindsight: after checking what could be accessed through the open window we were surprised just how vulnerable we were!)

    We didn't realise the theft for a while though as Sharon didn't need anything from her bag until the next day in Almocita - when we discovered it had gone. Usual credit cards, cash, glasses, memory cards for camera, in fact Sharon is still discovering things that were in the bag...

    I plan to fix either a bar across the window or possibly a Perspex lower cover to restrict access - I don't want it to look like a prison van - but needs something to stop opportunistic thefts like this.

    Big lesson learned - don't open the windows unless you know who and why you are talking to someone outside.

    As it was towards the end of our travels we decided to come home early - holiday a bit soured by the events.

    Still waiting for insurance to finish deliberations :-(

    Hopefully there are a couple of take aways in there for others.

    Robin & Sharon
     
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  2. DBK

    DBK Funster

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    Sad but thefts where folk are distracted are a common ploy. He may have had an accomplice who crawled under the MH from the other side who caught the bag.
    I wouldn't bother with the windows myself. Once bitten and all that. Hope everything is sorted by the insurance. Did you get a crime reference number from the police? Insurance companies are likely to want one.
     
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  3. Trixie

    Trixie Funster

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    Sorry to hear that, hope it was just an inconvenience and not any sentimental items in the bag.
     
  4. Duck Truck

    Duck Truck Funster

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    Thanks for the info
    guys and really sorry that you had to go through this

    We were in France heading home
    and parked on an aire
    a French lady and her daughter and grand child had been making a fuss of our dog.
    They drove off in their car and we found a handbag where they had parked.
    In the bag was phone purse money credit cards
    passport
    We managed to open her phone and Sue was busy writing down in French the things she wanted to say
    when she rang the last number to explain we had found the bag
    Just as she was dialling it the car returned
    A very very grateful and releived lady broke down in tears on us
     
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  5. Lucy Wire

    Lucy Wire Funster

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    Sadly the bag contained, according to Sharon, her entire world! We had camera digital cards with a lot of photos not yet backed up, a necklace that needed repairing, the bag alone was over GBP500 and the usual petty cash, credit cards, driving licence etc - thankfully no house or car keys for UK!. Reported to the Spanish police for their crime report - very efficient and helpful. They said it was 'unusual', never happened etc, however the practiced ease in which the chap wrote down the details leads me to think otherwise!
     
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  6. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    sorry to hear of your 'experience' .. not nice .. and can be quite upsetting ..


    from the Foreign Office
    Don’t let thieves drive you to distraction..

    watch video
     
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  7. ludo

    ludo Funster Life Member

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    A couple of years ago, on the A75 in France, we stopped at an aire and met a solo lady, in a motorhome. She had just suffered a similar fate with a man and his map. Stole her bag in the same way.
     
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  8. Lucy Wire

    Lucy Wire Funster

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    Seems to be a common tactic. Spanish police said it was likely Moroccans - scum whichever nationality. And part of this is a natural tendency to let your guard down a little whilst on holiday. A lesson learned in any case and it wont stop me from my travels for sure, though Sharon is understandably a little less keen than she was.
     
  9. big map

    big map Funster Life Member

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    I feel so sorry for Sharon. My bag too contains my life. Thank you for sharing your experience.
     
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  10. Anthea M

    Anthea M Funster

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    Sorry to hear of your news don’t let the scrotes curtail your holidays in a the future.( perhaps a cheaper bag for holidays!)
     
  11. big map

    big map Funster Life Member

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    Why should Sharon use a cheaper bag, I think, if caught, this scum ought to have their hands chopped off so they can't take anything else which doesn't belong to them. :mad:
     
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  12. TeeMyob

    TeeMyob Funster

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    Hi,

    Sorry to hear of your plight. Such a shame when these things happen. They tried it with us 3 times in 2 weeks (posted on here). Never fell for it. Also had it on the A7 near Ports De Soliel. Young "Solo" woman with a Map. We had friends with us. When I sent the woman packing, my friends asked why I was so rude. I said watch what she does next and see her male accomplices with her.

    But, the same thing happens here in the UK. Often on our Local ASDA and Tesco Supermarkets.
     
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  13. gus-lopez

    gus-lopez Funster

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    He's talking nonsense as it happens regularly. Normally smartly dressed in suits ,etc; & decent car.
    Very unlikely to be Moroccans .
     
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  14. jumartoo

    jumartoo Funster

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    You're vulnerable anywhere a lot of tourists/holidaymakers go, I'm afraid. These are career criminals and not normally locals. The map scenario is an old one, so is the smoking paper thrown under a vehicle and many more inventive distraction ploys. Don't stop for anyone or open windows get out of vehicles etc.

    Hopefully your insurance may cover your financial losses. The personal items are probably lost for ever.

    Keep your wits about you when travelling anywhere.
     
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  15. The Wino

    The Wino Funster

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    I'm sure there are similar scams happening to tourists in the UK especially tourists in London good to make others aware of whats happened might make someone else less likely to have the same problem.
     
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  16. chaser

    chaser Funster

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    if they cleaned our whole van out i dought they would find as much as the bag was worth.
     
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  17. big map

    big map Funster Life Member

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    That's what you think @chaser We women do not disclose the true value of our bags @burtonbird won't be any different ;)
     
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  18. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    we had it tried on us in the uk. I was in a chip shop ordering our dinner and Brenda was sat in the passenger seat of the van we had at the time waiting. a man approached and started getting aggressive, which made Brenda shuffle across the seat. the man then reached in the open window.......big mistake. he nearly lost his arm as a 30kg staffie with huge teeth instantly defended his mum. he ran to his car and immediately left without another word. hope it made the scumbag fill his pants and regret his actions
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  19. PhilG

    PhilG Funster

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    While this is a good example of what happen... surely the lesson here is 'don't carry your world in something you can lose without noticing'. My other half has £15 handbags.. they don't attract attention.
     
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  20. The Wino

    The Wino Funster

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    It shouldn't make a difference if you have a posh bag or not the same as it shouldn't make a difference if you leave valuables on display in nyour car or walk around wearing loads of gold but in the real world it does
     

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