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Pickpocket city - beware!

Georgia
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Pickpocket city - beware!

Fortunately we were warned by a tour guide, or we might have fallen victim to the bird dropping/pickpocket scam endemic to Buenos Aires. Walking along a major thoroughfare under some trees, we were splattered with a gray, very smelly substance. Two young people nearby appeared to have been splattered with the same “bird droppings” and put on a great act of looking up in the trees and appearing surprised. They just happened to have tissue paper and water with them, and approached us to help wipe up the mess. We kept them at a distance and yelled at them not to approach us. We had been told they would rub us down while picking our pockets. My wife even thought she saw them getting out of a cab behind us just before the incident. The substance absolutely was not from birds. Be careful and watchful; this was in a very public area in a high end neighborhood, and is being done with the obvious acquiescence of the police; it is common knowledge with the residents.

Buenos Aires...
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1. Re: Pickpocket city - beware!

Sorry this happened to you.

We hear about this every once in a while on the forums.. good that your tour guide was helpful.

I have to disagree with your remark..

"Be careful and watchful; this was in a very public area in a high end neighborhood, and is being done with the obvious acquiescence of the police; it is common knowledge with the residents."

It is not done with the acquiescence of the police, the police here ( you must have seen some by now) are tough and don't put up with this sort of thing. Just yesterday we witnessed a couple of officers "dealing" with an unruly aggressive person.. there are more police on the streets because of this petty thievery.

It is common knowledge with the residents and most people who come visit. It is spoken of on these boards often.. it also happens in other countries so it is common knowledge outside of BA too.

Being common knowledge does not in any way mean that anyone condones it..

Miami, Florida
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2. Re: Pickpocket city - beware!

The bird dropping/mustard/other icky substance scam is all over the world... europe, the USA, other parts of south america.. basically anywhere where there are smarmy people. At least now you know about it for all of your future travels.

See:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oE8f4y1GKX4

…about.com/b/…beware-of-mustard-stains.htm

news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4685868.stm

ricksteves.com/graffiti/bestof_scams05.htm

forum.419eater.com/forum/viewtopic.php…

…chicagotribune.com/2007/…chi-0701130152jan14

and more...

Georgia
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3. Re: Pickpocket city - beware!

We should not have assumed obvious acquiescence on the part of the police, but since this was the first time in all our travels we had been warned of this particular scam, it seemed regular use of police decoys would drastically curtail it. Our opinion was perhaps colored by our status as victims.

palermo soho
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4. Re: Pickpocket city - beware!

Charlie Sierra I wish to inform you that I have been robbed 3 times in The United States in well known tourist cities something that has never happened here to me in Buenos Aires .

Lets cut the crap about this being endemic to Buenos Aires as I have not seen this more than once in 5 years here.

WDC
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for Buenos Aires
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5. Re: Pickpocket city - beware!

Thank you, Charlie Sierra, for the warning to all tourists to be aware of this and other (thank you Karma) scams that plague most, if not all, large cities. This scam is known - I learned about it on TA and your reminder is a help. Again, thank you.

As a tourist and a near 'victim' of such a scam, your reaction is positive (warning others) but may be hasty in regards to assuming police complicity as a generalization. Those who live and work in Buenos Aires would have a better overview & sense of that. But I do know that on one occassion of need, a Policeman in Buenos Aires came to our assistance, and their ubiquitous presence was a felt safeguard.

Thank you again for your effort to help other tourists. I hope you will come back to Buenos Aires without incident next time.

~MarnieWDC

Buenos Aires...
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6. Re: Pickpocket city - beware!

The title of this thread is a disgrace.

CT
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7. Re: Pickpocket city - beware!

agree Gaucho about the subject heading.

palermo soho
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8. Re: Pickpocket city - beware!

The title of this thread is an insult to all honest Argentines who make Buenos Aires our home.

Maybe we should call Washington DC or a myriad of other crime infested cities of the USA sniper city as these are common occurence in the US. You have a 8 times higher chance of being murdered in the USA than Argentina. I will post the statitics for those who ask.

Dublin
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9. Re: Pickpocket city - beware!

Sorry to hear that you fell prey to the standard 'bird dropping' trick but your post is hysterical at best. It sounds like you are pre-warned about this so what's the big deal. This is a standard scam practised in so many cities around the world that I've lost count. It's like saying 'don't walk around dark streets in New York City late at night'.... How you then chose to leap from this event to labelling the whole city as 'pickpocket city' is beyond comprehension.

Delray Beach
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10. Re: Pickpocket city - beware!

There have been many more carefully worded topics, and titles that have been closed or deleted. This should be one of them.