Hands in Your Pockets

It Can Be You!
  |  Gorp.com

In Rome, several middle-aged tourists are admiring the ruins of the Coliseum. Three girls wander up to them. The youngest, about 12, holds up a sheet of paper covered with drawings. She asks them to look at her work. The drawings are pretty good so the tourists smile and gather around. The other two girls, much more talented than their friend, move in from behind. In seconds, they've picked pockets and purses clean—striking less like schoolgirls than like a school of piranhas.

They're so good that the thefts aren't discovered until the group gets back to the hotel.

Since they have no idea what happened, they don't even have an amusing story to tell at home.

Don't Be Fooled!
Picture a group of colorfully dressed teenage kids in the plaza in front of the President's Palace in Lima, Peru. Suddenly they're milling around you, offering their trinkets for sale. One of the youngest girls drops her folded up bandanna and a handful of coins scatters on the cobblestones. By instinct you bend over to help her retrieve her precious money.

Sorry to say, but your Samaritan-like act is not going to be rewarded. Instead, while you're in a rather vulnerable position, the girl's friends will move in and hit your pockets like miniature vacuum cleaners.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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