I’ve Been Robbed

Maybe “robbed” is not the exact word, because no violence or threat thereof was used, but I’ve not been pickpocketed either. I have definitively had money stolen from my person.

When I went shopping with my parents today, I was approached by a man who pretended to want to exchange a 2,-€ coin for smaller ones to be able to take the shopping cart. I have looked into my purse and I told him that I do not have the exchange, at which point he started approaching me and touching my purse as if trying to search for the change himself. I batted his hand away several times and I told him to not touch it but he did not understand Czech and he also either did not understand or (possibly) pretended to not understand Russian and German too, despite telling me that he is German. During this exchange, an elderly lady approached and told me that he stole money from her under the same pretense moment ago and that she has just found out when she saw him trying the same thing on me. At which point I closed my purse and endeavored to call the police.

He of course scarpered. I did not attempt to hold him up, I do not think that would be very wise.

Only when talking to the police later and explaining what happened I have found out that despite my attempts at keeping him away, he did successfully manage to snatch some bills from my purse, over 150,-€ worth. I never carry big amounts of cash and I would not have even this much if I had not needed some cash the previous week, of which this was just the rest. I might not have even noticed the theft at all, but I keep € and crown bills separately and the € compartment of my purse was suddenly completely empty.

Any act of kindness won’t go unpunished. The most jarring result of this is that I shall be more wary of panhandlers and generally of anyone asking for any help. I do not feel quite well right now. A shitty human just made me into a worse human too. That pisses me off more than the loss of money.


  1. lumipuna says

    Yikes. So sorry. Sucks that people have to distrust each other. Hope you didn’t at least lose any documents?

    I’ve sometimes handed coins to beggars, or considered doing so, but the main concern always was that I felt vulnerable digging my wallet in the open like that (I also don’t like keeping loose change in my pockets, especially since I rarely need coins).

    If someone actually stole my wallet, they’d likely gain only a little cash while I’d have a major hassle canceling/replacing my ID and Visa. At least I’d have a second ID (my passport) stashed at home.

  2. Jazzlet says

    Sorry Charly, it’s horrid when someone abuses your trust and makes it less likely that you will trust in the future.

  3. Trickster Goddess says

    I always keep my cash in a money clip and separate from my ID. I started doing this a long time ago when I was working as taxi driver. If I ever got held up (thankfully never happened) I could just hand over the money clip and not lose my cards. I would be out some cash but at least I wouldn’t be out of work for several days while trying to get my driver’s license replaced.

    These days if I spend cash and get some coins back I usually just hand them off to the first panhandler I see.

  4. Ice Swimmer says

    Sucks to get tricked like that. Agreeing what others have said about trust. Also, thank you for informing us of the trick the guy pulled on you, the rest of us can now think of ways to be prepared for that shit (other than lying about having no cash*). I think I’m going to start carrying a separate coin purse (just as well, because the coin pocket of my wallet is leaky).
    * = It might not take long before that’s actually true here, even now cash is getting more and more rare due to both cards and paying with smartphone apps.

  5. lumipuna says

    Trickster Goddess:

    I always keep my cash in a money clip and separate from my ID. I started doing this a long time ago when I was working as taxi driver. If I ever got held up (thankfully never happened) I could just hand over the money clip and not lose my cards.

    I’ve sometimes considered doing that -- but then again I’m relatively lazy and disorganized and (I think) very unlikely to ever be violently robbed.

    Traveling abroad, I’ve kept my stuff divided between two wallets/pockets. One time in Lisbon, some of my college mates had a friendly chat (in English) with a local panhandler on the street while I stood nearby. I sort of wanted to remind them to figuratively hold on to their wallets, but felt it would be insensitive with regard to the panhandler guy. Only afterwards I realized that saying it in Finnish would’ve been discreet enough.

  6. says

    Damn, I’m sorry. I’ve had my wallet stolen more times than anybody should (there was a time when I seemed to have a sign saying “Take her stuff” on my back) and I can tell you, no amount of carefulness will ever protect you from a dedicated thief. And on the other side, I watched my husband, father, mother do fucking stupid things like leaving the wallet visible in the unlocked car and nothing happened.
    As for panhandlers, homeless people etc: When I go to a place where I can expect them to be, I usually put coins in my pocket. I always give something, under the logic that if I err in giving money to somebody who, like the guy Charly encountered, doesn’t need my change but wants to rob me, I will have lost 2€ or so I was planning on giving away anyway, but if I err on not giving money to somebody who does need it, that person may go hungry.
    Back when we still went on holidays I always carried my wallet in my pretty secure camera rucksack, and a small purse with just enough money for ice cream or a drink, so that if it was stolen, the loss would be minimal and especially not include my documents, which are a lot more expensive to replace than whatever money I usually carry.

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