July 02, 2004

WONDERBOY JIM, the Super Hero

Disclaimer: Again, another verbose post by Janet. Brevity is just not my thing :)

For those of you who know me, I tend to carry rather large purses - I figure if I have to carry one, it should everything I could possibly need. As a result, you typically need a doctorate in archeology to be able to find what you need in there.

So while I travel and it takes me about 20 minutes to dig around and find my wallet in the deep dark black hole that is my travel bag, I have paused on more than one occasion and thought "There is no way someone will ever be able to pickpocket my wallet from this abyss."

Now, I'm not saying I got flagrant about it or was less vigilant as a result... HOWEVER....

Jim and I were at an Internet Cafe in Durban (audible gasp from the readers, I'm sure). It was a very small place and each computer had its own little cubicle for your browsing pleasure. As was my typical m-o, I hooked my purse to my knee and pushed myself under the desk. Well, my bladder was doing what it always does at the most convenient times and the cafe didn't have a WC, so I did what needed to be done - the crossed-legged shuffle. But in order my little chair dance to be effective, I had to unhook my bag and put it on the floor.

Now, it was not on the floor behind me or hooked on my chair...I told you I wasn't flagrant...the purse was on the floor against the cubicle UNDER the little workstation. Literally at my feet.

However, I had turned to my side (left leg over right in this part of the dance) which was enough to allow the skilled thief to spot me as a good target. It was a 2-man operation....one guy pretended he was using the phone at the counter behind me while his friend waited. The friend 'dropped' his cigarette on the floor and while 'picking it up' his fingers managed to find their way into my bag and around my REAL wallet which is surrounded by 5 other wallet-like things and a ridiculous amount of loose junk (I'm still a bit confounded by this - maybe he is a pickpocketer with a doctorate in archeology). Anyhow...

I jumped out of my skin as Jim grabbed his hand and shouted "WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING." As I look down...there is my wallet....out of my purse....on the floor....just released from his grip.

His 'friend on the phone' runs out of the cafe, as our thwarted thief tries to do the same. As I stand there completely useless - hands quaking, knees shaking, unable to make an audible sound, Jim has the wherewithall (not to mention courage) to restrain this guy and put together an audible and impressively coherent sentence "Can you call security?" (btw - they were already on it).

So seconds (literally) later, a team of 5 security guards arrive with the security manager and we are escorted down to the police station (conveniently located on the floor below us) to open a case for attempted burgulary.

A bit unnerving.

Later that day we asked our cabbie if they actually prosecute these cases or do they just get put in the 'circular file'? According to him, the cases are pursued and thiefs do get penalized (jailtime, whatever). But we are out of the country now so we'll never really know.

Now, I'm looking to get me a travel bag with a zipper :)

DA MAN!!!!

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?