Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Robbery Hurts

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 13th June, 2017

pickpocketsLast night, as I was making my way to Lisbon airport on a crowded metro train some nifty pickpocket succeeded in unfastening my shoulder bag and stealing my wallet. Fortunately, I still had my passport on me, so was able to take my flight back to London, with just enough time to make a formal report at the airport police station, where I was not alone in recounting such woes. Once home, I was immediately on the phone to my bank and all the credit card companies, who obviously train specially soothing overnight staff to deal with calls about lost or stolen cards. No-one had tried to misuse one of my cards and now I just have to wait for the replacements to arrive. Actually, I suspect the thief merely pocketed the money that was in the wallet and may well have dumped the rest in a bin. But that is not always the case. A few years ago, a pickpocket grabbed my wallet from my jacket pocket in a restaurant in London and before I could get home to report the thefts, he had managed to withdraw £800 from my bank account and bought a £8000 watch on my American Express card! I suspect it must have been a very professional guy with inside contacts as I don’t see otherwise how he could have managed it. Mercifully both Amex and my bank refunded the money/credit. Although last night’s loss was less significant, it will nonetheless mean the hassle of getting replacements for everything from my driving licence to airline loyalty cards, and the sense of vulnerability and outrage is acute. There is something deeply unsettling about being robbed, even when no violence is used. It hurts psychologically, if not physically, and makes one think less of the world and of humanity. But I shall draw comfort from the civility and concern I experienced both from staff I dealt with after the robbery and from friends on Facebook who reacted to news of the loss. After all, it was only a wallet, not my life.

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