Riders beware of common pickpocket ploy -- distraction

Jazbing posted this warning about pickpockets in the Crazy Commuting Stories thread. I wanted to make sure all my readers saw it, so I pulled it out as a separate post:

Hey Everyone — While about to exit the #50 Damen bus yesterday, in the front of the bus, right by the driver, no less, my cell phone (yeah, an iPhone) was stolen out of the back of my purse.

The pickpocket used a very common ploy, which is why I’m sharing, so those of you who aren’t familiar with this can be even more wary in these bad economic times: I was carrying a lot of bags, and he distracted me by telling me that something was falling out of one of them. I was wearing a shoulder bag, with a zipper in the main compartment, but an open pocket in the back.

So, my guess is that he reached for whatever was easy to grab while he had me looking at the plastic shopping bag (of course there was nothing falling out), and came up with the phone, the only thing in there.

So, riders beware. I have called the garage the bus came out of, and supposedly they’re going to check the tapes of the cameras on the bus, but realistically, that is not going to get my phone back. I also put my e-mail address on the outside of the phone, so if he dumped it off and it’s found, some honest person can reach me.

cta pick-pockets


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  • An even better idea would be to not keep expensive toys out where others can see them. Instead of keeping it in an open pocket, keep it inside.

  • ^^ Thank you, yes. People, please be smart. I don't care where I am, I keep everything in front pockets and I hold onto my bags TIGHT.

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