Thieves on local buses

#1 Sep 29th, 2009, 20:18
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  • Superswede is offline
#1
Today I travelled from Ooty to Combaitore by local bus, with the intention to get on a train to Kochi at Combaitore Junction. The local bus seemed like a cheap option and the buses run every 20 minutes. On the bus a 30 somewhat old middle class looking Indian guy sat on the seat next to me, telling me where to put my bags during the trip in better english then they usually speak. So far so good.
I usually keep my important things like wallet and passport in my smaller day pack, which i keep close to me all the time. In that day pack also keep a plastic envelope containing indian cash and US dollars so i dont have to run to the atms to often (my swedish bank charges me each time i take out money), and also to be able to pay my way out of troublesome situations that sometimes comes along travelling. At this time i had just refilled that money stash in Mysore and had about 50 000 rupees and 900 dollar. To much to carry around, I know.
The conductor comes along and i pay the 32 rupees for the ticket. When i take up he wallet the plastic envelope, which apparently is quite thick, comes up too, and i can "feel" the guy sitting next to me making big eyes. I didnt think to much about it, i've seen the same look on Indian ppl when you pay with 1000 rupees bills at restaurants etc. Later that would prove to be naive.
It was early in the morning and i eventually felt a sleep during the ride, still with my day pack in my lap, charing seat with this Indian guy to my right and an Indian woman to my left. I wake up in combaitore and the Indian guy tells me where to get off to catch a local bus to the railway station. He gets off at the same stop and points out which bus to take. Nice guy, I think to myself. So i ride to the railwaystation for 2 rupees instead of the 50 rupees the autoricksha drivers would have charged. Great!
At the railwaystation i decide to have some late breakfast and cross the street for the restaurant at the otherside. I eat and take the bill. I reach down my day pack bag, finds the wallet, feel the sides on my passport... but where is the plastic envelope? Gone! I go thorugh my bags, but its still gone. So this afternoon i spent filing a complaint at a local police station. I get a FIR, i think its called, and have a copy to show my insurance company. According to their website the pay 250 dollars for cash lost and the self risk is 150 dollar. I get 100 dollar back after losing 50 000 rupees and 900 dollar. Yay!

So the leasons learned, my fellow Indian travellers are:
Never carry to much cash on you.
Never let anyone know you are carrying cash or where you keep it.
Never trust "friends", they (nearly) always have a motive.
Never fell a sleep at local buses...
On the bright side is that the local police where good to me, booking a hotel for free for me to get some rest.

Sorry for making such a negative first post, but this day has not been a good one. I've been out for 1 month with the intention of going for totally 3 months, but now ill just go for one month more. Actually i feel like going home right now...
Also, sorry for the not so perfect english, this is not my first language. Ill get back with post of the good things i enjoy travelling this country.
#2 Sep 29th, 2009, 20:46
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  • rsk11584 is offline
#2
Well I will just mention that whether you are travelling from city to city or from place to place always and always and always be cautious especially in new places and cities.

I remember one experience, I took one auto from Pune Railway Station to Pune Bus Stand and had luggage with me, and upon reaching railway station I took out my purse to pay the autowalla and my purse had bundles of 500 rupee notes, so the autowalla on noticing this told me that dont take such cash in public someone might steal it, that was just a warning to be careful.

So whenever possible I keep change ( coins in pockets) and notes some 2-3 100 rupee notes and some change notes (10, 20,50) in front shirt pocket so that for everytime i need to take out my purse also while travelling in crowded bus, trains be careful and always keep the cash bag with you, and ever if you seem to sleep sleep, but just tie, attach the bag to your body, because since you are tourist the loss matters to you more than the local people. And I feel be it America or India, things once lost rarely could be recovered police complaints are just formalities.

Also one tip, always travel in TWOs instead of SINGLEs, I dont understand howcome ever tourists think of travelling single that too from country to country.
#3 Sep 29th, 2009, 20:50
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  • edwardseco is offline
#3
Old problem, always to be relearned by the next generation. However, I have had little or no problem travelling alone employing common sense..
#4 Sep 29th, 2009, 20:59
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  • Superswede is offline
#4
Quote:
Originally Posted by edwardseco View Post Old problem, always to be relearned by the next generation. However, I have had little or no problem travelling alone employing common sense..
The thing is I've been cautious all the way, keeping away from drinking, not walking unlit paths late at night,avoiding scamming riksha drivers and young men taking contact ont the streets, keeping an eye on my things etc and it has worked out pretty up to now.
But if you slip apparently there is a hard lesson to learn. about 1500 1600 dollars a third of my budget just went away.
Jesus, I feel like a complete idiot.
#5 Sep 29th, 2009, 22:29
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  • Nick-H is offline
#5
Quote:
Never trust "friends", they (nearly) always have a motive.
The guy was being friendly and helpful before he saw the cash. Maybe on the make, maybe not. Of course, just now, you feel like you can't trust anyone, anywhere, ever again; it's a natural reaction, but it'll pass.
Quote:
Jesus, I feel like a complete idiot.
You made a mistake. It happens. So, it was a stupid one: they happen too. No point in beating yourself too much.

When I first came here, my friends were horrified when I produced a wad of notes in the street, and I've remembered ever since never to do that. Even now, I only have a couple of hundred visible in my purse; anything more, and anything bigger than a Rs100-note is in the zipped section, if I have to carry it
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#6 Sep 29th, 2009, 23:07
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  • cityMONK is offline
#6

Unhappy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Superswede View Post I didnt think to much about it, i've seen the same look on Indian ppl when you pay with 1000 rupees bills at restaurants etc.

I am sorry you lost so much money. It could have happened at any place of world. Thank GOD you are safe and sound physically, may be in some other place of world, like USA thief would have badly hurt you after seeing so much money in cash.

I do not understand what type of look you are talking about. Notes of 1000 and 500 hundred rupees are very common here. Yes people do raise eyebrows fearing large currency notes to be counterfeit notes.
#7 Sep 29th, 2009, 23:17
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  • Digital Drifter is offline
#7
dont beat yourself over it. Read the papers, lots of fellow Indians fall prey to distraction and their money bags snatched. In a place like bangalore, there are about 3 a month, where someone tells "money" person, there are some dropped notes. As the person goes around to pick the tenners, the other guy deftly picks the money bag and makes off.

Heck, the ATM refilling cash services van has been looted this year.
#8 Sep 30th, 2009, 03:40
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  • edwardseco is offline
#8
Quote:
Jesus, I feel like a complete idiot.

If it gets you to use a money belt & less cash you won't be a complete idiot for long..
#9 Sep 30th, 2009, 07:44
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  • capt_mahajan is offline
#9
Quote:
Jesus, I feel like a complete idiot
In a year or two, this will be a small thing.

I have felt a complete idiot with much bigger things, if it helps.
.
This is computer generated drivel. No signature is required.
#10 Sep 30th, 2009, 11:06
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  • Superswede is offline
#10
I talked to some local Indian ppl about it and apparently this, as mentioned by other users above, happens to both Indians and tourists. They work in gangs, with one guy taking the wallet or whatever who pass it over to a guy in the seat behind who pass it over to a guy who gets off the bus. When the victim finds out the wallet is gone its already far far away from the bus.
I dont know if this guy acted alone on the opportunity given or if he was working with others. But i do think he was up to something from the start, thinking back on it there where a few more things that should have made me suspicious. There where some hasty movements from his side when i was tucking away the big bag for example that I should have payed more attention to.
Anyway, this was a good, though expensive, reminder for me to always take the necessary precautions. Im gonna change some things around and get a concealed money belt. Yesterday, the same day as the theft occured, i had to make some night time travels and was pretty paranoid. I was also thinking about leaving the country asap. Ill make a decision to day, but Ill probably keep going for one month. It would be unfortunate to let this destroy the whole trip, although my spirit will be down for a few days i guess.
#11 Sep 30th, 2009, 11:17
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  • dillichaat is offline
#11
Quote:
Jesus, I feel like a complete idiot.
Don't, you made a mistake and learned an expensive lesson. I know it's tough now but it'll pass, be happy that you still have your passport. As the captain says, it's only money. Back in 2003 I also had a relatively important sum (at that time) stolen from me in India but it's not in my top-10 of 'If only I could turn back time and do things differently'-list now, not by a long stretch.

If it's any consolation, in 2003 I put a small backpack with cash on the top bunk of a train for 3 seconds while I attached my backpack below. When I got up it was gone. Also cost me around 1500 Euro at the time and I saw the end of my 9-week trip looming after barely a week on the road. After collecting myself and adjusting my travel style a bit I still had 9 amazing weeks in India.

You'll find plenty of tips on the site (not that you'll need them now) but my rules when traveling here are:

1) Don't carry too much cash, I only withdraw upto 15000 Rs at a time. True, you pay a fee on each international transaction but see it as insurance.

2) Don't ever let people catch sight of amounts bigger than, say 500 Rs or whatever you immediately need for a transaction, no matter how friendly or trustworthy they seem (btw, this also applies to fellow travelers).

3) Spread the risk: carry part of your cash in your pocket, part in your big backpack, part in a daypack.

4) Whenever taking public transport, attach all your belongings (pac-safe is wonderful) and keep everything that's not secured in your hands on your lap or at night in a train, put it next to your head.

Good luck!
"It is preferable to have a criminal for a servant rather than a fool because a criminal's actions are predictable and you can protect yourself against them, whereas there is no telling what a fool's next move will be.
#12 Sep 30th, 2009, 11:18
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  • Keith H is offline
#12
Superswede,
A tough lesson but one that sounds well-learned now. Don't leave the country because of a single mistake and one very shady character - give it a few days and you'll feel less bad about the incident.
I always believe that it is best to keep bulk money and passports next to your skin and maintain a working amount of cash which you can afford to lose in your pocket.
All the best for the rest of the trip.
#13 Sep 30th, 2009, 15:41
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  • Nick-H is offline
#13
I think I am careful with money, and have already posted about how little I allow to be visible --- but according to my {Indian} wife, I am not careful at all! She is always telling me to be more so.

I'm inclined to trust people. Isn't the world a nice place that way? Nonetheless, I have a saying that temptation can make a thief of a poor man on a bad day.
#14 Sep 30th, 2009, 16:23
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  • LunavadaLad is offline
#14
I was in India for less than a day and got ripped off it was only $100. But it was a good lesson to learn first up to be more careful.
If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home. ~James Michener
#15 Sep 30th, 2009, 20:14
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  • namaste_cat is offline
#15
Sorry about your unfortunate experience, Superswede Hope you'll be able to adjust and still have a good time in India.

Dillichaat you seem to be my long-lost twin brother or something because just about every post of yours I'm nodding my head going "Yup, that's what I do/say"
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