Pickpockets in Copenhagen: Gadling blogger’s victim story. Part 2. Was it Romanians?

I can still see the pocket of my daypack gaping open right before I got that panicked, sinking feeling. It was a feeling that I couldn’t quite believe I was having. Up to that point, my trip to Denmark though Amsterdam had happened without a hitch, and I had yet to do the shopping I had planned.

The afternoon that had started out promising had the potential to turn out lousy. (see previous pickpocket post)

My experience of having my wallet lifted right out of a pocket of my daypack is not uncommon, as I have since found out. On Wednesday, the day after I returned to the U.S. with less money than I counted on having–thus way less shopping, my Danish friend emailed me with recent news about pickpockets in Denmark.

She heard on the television news that over the last three weeks, the police have arrested 61 Romanian pickpockets in Copenhagen. My friend wrote that the increase of pickpocketing is due to the Christmas season.

While I was looking for a link to an article on this particular news item, I found several others. While browsing these stories, I’ve discovered a couple of details to pass on to folks heading to Copenhagen. They can be also be applied to any major city such as Amsterdam where Whistling in the Dark’s photo was taken.

There are hot spots in Copenhagen where diligence could save you from becoming a victim. Copenhagen Central Station, Strøget, a pedestrian walking street, and a McDonald’s near the entrance of Tivoli Gardens were places people have been robbed. Other travel warning sites said to be on the lookout on any pedestrian street. Copenhagen has several.

I was in the Tiger store nearest Norreport Station when I noticed the wallet missing. Norreport has 90,000 people passing through each day, so you can imagine how many people from there must head to the walking street where Tiger is located. The store was quite crowded on the first floor, and I was jostled more than once. Because I was shopping, I wasn’t focused on my bag.

The fact that I didn’t notice my wallet gone until I went to pay for my merchandise is not an uncommon story. Read Virtual Tourist, and Epinions.com for details of some of the other tales of woe. There is also a warning about pickpockets in Copenhagen at Worldworx.

In my sleuthing, I also found this snippet in the Copenhagen Post from this past August. The brief blurb mentions 700 Romanian pickpockets who are currently operating in Copenhagen.

Except, if my friend is correct, subtract 61 from that number. Although, the total could have increased in the last few months, so perhaps you should add a few.. The pickpocket problem, according the article, has been exacerbated because of open borders due to the EU free movement regulations.

Reading these details does help me feel a bit better. I should have been more careful, but at least I have company.

When I traveled through Amsterdam last week at the beginning of my trip, I had pickpockets in mind. Thus, my credit card, traveler’s checks, cash, and passport were hidden away in a pouch around my neck. The pouch was under my shirt and under my jacket–a bit cumbersome but effective.

By the last day in Denmark, I had my money and my credit card back in my wallet. Stupid move. My driver’s license and passport were in another location in the main section of my day pack, along with my one remaining $20 traveler’s check.

My what could have been a lousy day was saved by the Danish police who helped me stop my VISA card with absolutely no hassle, and by my generous friend who gave me money so that the good times could continue.