Pickpocket had a great day; me, not so great.

This morning I was robbed on the marshrutka bus 41 coming to class at UCU.

Two men pressed me into a corner at the front of the bus and would not let me any further in. They shoved me up onto the ledge behind the driver. One of them had one foot on the ledge. All the better to move his hand into position from under his luggage. The bus behind him did not seem so crowded. I couldn’t figure out why he was pushing me back. I thought he was being rude. The second man near the door made me think that there was actually some reason they could not move back. They made it so I had to really reach for a handgrip, which made it easy for the pickpocket to do his job.

My ability to move was made more difficult by the knapsack on my back with my computer and video camera. Usually I twist my fannypack to the back under my knapsack. Usually — ha ha.

The pickpocket opened the snaps on my vest, and then two zippers on the fanny pack (which was on my tummy) without me feeling anything. Then took all the money I had taken out of the bank last night, as well as the reserve I kept with my passport. He did not take my passport, or camera, or credit cards, which he easily could have. He had a very good feel for the cash. He did not leave me one hryvnia! But thank goodness that was my only injury.

I felt a little touch just as the bus door opened as he was lifting the last 1000 hryvnia from my passport “hiding” place. By the time I saw the zippers to my money pouch as well as the hiding place were opened, the bus was on its way. I could never have caught up with them.

The pickpocket was about 5′ 10″, with black hair and a slight build.  He was wearing black and carrying a black bag with a zipper surrounding it, holding it close to his chest with his right hand.  His left hand was obviously underneath doing the dirty work.  His accomplish was probably about 6 ft. tall, with reddish brown hair and huskier.  He was wearing a brown coat. He and the pickpocket created a 90-degree-angle of containment that they made smaller and smaller as they pushed me against other passengers and away from any comfortable handholds, so that by reaching I would leave my zippers vulnerable.  As soon as the ran off the bus, my fannypack gaped open. I gasped.  I checked for my passport and found the other money missing.  I gasped again.

Two ladies about my age saw my reaction and gave me a seat. They were lovely. When I got off the bus, four more ladies asked if I had been robbed, and I described the tactics. They were also sympathetic.

I feel really, really, really stupid. I usually don’t carry that much money, but hindsight — wham, wham, wham (my head against the wall!)  And I usually twist my belt. I let my guard down. I should have been MORE vigilant.

Lesson learned. I will be taking a cab to work from now on.



Filed under crime, Travel, Ukraine

3 responses to “Pickpocket had a great day; me, not so great.

  1. Pat Burton

    So sorry, Leanne. What a rotten thing to have happen. Boo, pickpockets!

  2. Janet Kulick

    That’s horrible. It’s like being raped.
    When I was in Mexico City, just walking on the street, two men grabbed my ass. Before I realized what happened they were lost in the crowd. It was the most dirty feeling every. Who would choose a life that includes pickpocketing and random public groping? Shameful!
    Thanks for sharing your story!

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