Yep, you read that right! I was pickpocketed in the Italian city that is known for this frequent act. I am officially another pickpocketed statistic. Now, before I go any further with my tale of unknowingly having my purse lightened of approximately $13 Canadian dollars I want to stress, that despite this unfortunate occurrence, I really like Naples! Yes, Naples is incredible and I spent far too little time there. The historic sites seen, the energy experienced, and the tastes savoured were nothing short of wonderful. Is Naples rough around the edges? Yes. Are there areas that are seedy and likely not as safe? Yes – as is the case in many large cities. Though do not let that discourage you. Naples has a vibrancy and a pulse that makes it feel alive. That is what I encountered. Now, I did not go out of the historic centre as time did not allow it however, I have every intention of returning and discovering more of what this intriguing city has to offer and alas, I will be more cautious with my belongings.
So how was I pick pocketed? Truth be told, I have no freakin’ clue. What I mean is that I had no idea it happened until the following morning, when I was packing in my hostel dorm room before heading to the train station and onward to Rome. I have my suspicions as to when it happened so I will lay down the scene so you can understand how I did not notice. Add the fact that since this has never happened to me I wasn’t consciously paying attention. A bit of having my guard down after years of incident free trips. Now I know better – don’t be paranoid, be smart and on guard!
It was not the main compartment of my purse that was opened. That portion has a clasp that clips onto a ring, making it so it must be opened with two hands. It was one of three zippered compartments on the outside of my purse that was freed of its contents. In this space I kept a cheap, old billfold that had $5 USD and €5 along with an old credit card with the number cut off. It is also the pocket where I stashed a used disposable mask. The reason for the wallet being in that compartment was due to a suggestion made to me long ago by a friend. Is is based on the idea that should you get robbed with a demand to hand over a wallet you give the robber one with less money, throw it away from yourself, and run away. Of course this is not a no-fail solution. It is a technique suggested to me should I be in that scenario. I do realize all situations are different and can escalate quickly. This technique is not a substitute for advice from authorities to stay safe, I am merely explaining why I had wallet in that zippered pouch. Additionally, as I was going about my time in Naples I used disposable masks (I had not cleaned my reusable clothes ones yet). I do recall shoving a used mask into that compartment as a garbage was not nearby, making a mental note to dispose of it as soon as I could. So those are the two things stolen, the latter one making me smirk – KARMA! ha ha!!
As I mentioned above, I don’t know when I was targeted however, one incident does stand out. I did my share of wandering the old streets, recording my sites, trying out confections and pizza; all the while taking basking in the glow of travel once more. As was everyone else. It was busy in Italy, so naturally crowds were everywhere. It could have been at any of those times. Though one particular shoulder check has me thinking this could have been the moment. I was walking along, perusing my surroundings while moving to my next stop when I noticed a small crowd of pedestrians wandering about, same as myself. I decided to speed up and pass them (as has been my habit these pandemic days). As I did so, I feel this sudden jolt into my left shoulder – a woman rammed right into me from the front! She hit me hard and I bumbled a bit in the crowd and instintively yelled out “hey!”. Not that it accomplished anything, the woman was gone in a flash. A short time later noticed that the compartment was unzipped. I thought it odd and chalked it up to me failing to close it after stashing the used mask. The idea never entered my mind that I could have been pickpocketed. Expericenced traveler fail for sure! It was the following morning that I noticed it was now an empty pocket, void of any wallet or dirty mask. I was astonished to say the least and then my mind took me to that shoulder check in the historic center. I tend to think that is when it happened, though in all honesty, I can not say for certain. Alas, it did happen and that is my tiny tale of how I was unknowingly picketpocked in Naples. Even though I will be more conscientious now, it has not dampened my initial impression of Naples. A return trip to this intriguing and vibrant city is very high on my list and I hope that it becomes one of those places that I love to have a travel love affair with.
All photos taken and owned by Eeva Valiharju / Wanders the World