Monday, January 5, 2009

Crazy Train Strikes Again (1/2/09)

After having lunch at Messena Cafe (wonderful cafe at Castellane...which is just a short walk from where we live), David realized that his debit card was missing. We came home and searched jackets, pants pockets, and his wallet, but the card was no where to be found.

Everyone was going back and forth on whether it had been left in an ATM, stolen, or had fallen out of David's pocket. We checked online, and found that the card had been used by someone the last 2 days on 5 different purchases which added up to about 100 euros. David tried calling his bank, but it cost money to use our phone to call, so we had to use Skype to call the customer service line.

We continued pondering over what happened to the card, when it hit was probably the "drunk" guy on the train!

When we had got on the train from Nice to Marseille, there was a guy who reeked of alcohol who kept talking to us in French. He was sitting just one row behind Carolyn and David, although he really didn't sit much because he kept going in and out of the train car. He kept asking us if we heard the announcements, and Chris would leave the train car to go out and listen...but wouldn't hear any new information.

We were all pre-occupied with reading and waiting for the train to go. I noticed the "drunk" guy going through his bag in the overhead rack a couple of times, but didn't think anything of it since he was just acting odd anyways.

When the others started running towards the train and loading up, that guy was no where to be found.

Thinking back, David remembered that his coat, which he had put in the overhead rack, was in a different place than when he had originally put it up there. When he first got on the train, it was on the other side of my backpack, closer to him. When he got off the train, it was on the opposite side of my backpack, closer to where the "drunk" guy had been. He also had thought it odd that his wallet was in the opposite pocket of his jacket than he usually kept it.

Obviously, the guy was not drunk at all, and was quite the theif. He probably had splashed alcohol on himself. He kept distracting Chris and getting Chris to leave the train car, since Chris was the only one facing him and paying any attention to what was going on around us. He moved David's jacket near his own bag, so he could rummage through it...finding David's wallet. He took out the debit card, since it was the only card in there that he could use, and put the wallet back in another pocket. If he had taken more than one card, it would have alerted us immediately, but taking one card didn't really stand out for a few days until David went to an ATM.

We had been told earlier by a waiter that debit cards can easily be used to recharge phones, so they are usually good targets for theifs. Sure enough, most of the charges on the debit card that the theif had done were for France telecom (phone company).

We all learned something from this adventure...keep your coat with you at all times and do not keep your wallet away from you. Also, beware of seemingly drunk men on trains...keep an eye on your baggage, and don't travel on a holiday.

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