Pickpocketed in Egypt

The good news: I’m in Aswan, Egypt and it is beautiful.  The bad news: I got pickpocketed last night, on my second night here.

I’m fine but $250 USD poorer.  *facepalm*

The full story later but here is my lengthy, disjointed Facebook status from yesterday evening after the hubbub:

“I was pickpocketed in Egypt! Two guys in the street in Aswan created a diversion and nicked my wallet which contained $250 USD and my credit cards. I ran after them when I realized what happened but they were way too fast and I couldn’t catch up. 

I made three huge rookie mistakes: 

1) I allowed myself to get WAY too comfortable and had my wallet in the big, front pocket of my backpack

2) I wore my backpack ON MY BACK (so dumb, I usually wear it on my front so I can keep my eyes and hands on the zipped compartments!! and

3) I didn’t leave my money and valuables in the hotel — there is NEVER, as a tourist or otherwise, any reason to walk around with that much cash on you. 

To add insult to injury, I got the major run-around at the police station and they refused to file a report saying my goods were stolen — they preferred to write that they were “lost” and wouldn’t issue a statement until we agreed to put that word in the document. Then “miraculously” my wallet turned up at the station, with no money in it of course! Credit cards were untouched though.

I learned a VERY expensive lesson today but in retrospect things could be way worse. This is just a reminder to be vigilant when travelling (no matter what country)!”

UGH.  I’m off to drown my sorrows by dipping my feet in the Nile and stuff (you know, as you do when in Egypt).

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Have you ever been pickpocketed at home or abroad?

44 Comments

  • Brett Domue says:

    So far I’ve not been pickpocketed. I was forcibly mugged in Brussels, lost some cash, a Blackberry, a bit of my sense of security, but also got back the wallet with credit cards, ID, etc. (which was good as I was flying back to the US the next morning). All you can do is live and learn, and try not to let it get in the way of your love of the good parts of travel.

    • Oneika says:

      Oh wow Brett, that is absolutely awful. What were the circumstances? Brussels seems like such a sleepy town that I guess I take it for granted that it can potentially be a dangerous place. I walked alone in the dark streets when I was there last winter!

  • Damn – that’s a rough start and I’m sure quite frustrating as well.

    I have yet to be pick pocketed however, have had our house robbed several times (I actually lost count.) Every time we ‘corrected’ what we coined as ‘our mistake,’ they found another way and unfortunately, the police were just as useless. Frustrating but thus was life in Gabon. I’m sure it won’t be the last time it happens.

    I hope you have no more run-ins with those pesky pick-pocketers and can enjoy the rest of your stay in Egypt! Dipping your feet in the Nile sounds like the perfect way to recover 🙂

    • Oneika says:

      That is terrible, Jay! Hopefully the thieves didn’t manage to get away with too many valuables. How frustrating when the very people who are supposed to “serve and protect” don’t. 🙁

  • Debra says:

    Bless your heart! That really stinks!!! Never been pick pocketed, but our car was broken into while in Rome, everything stolen out of it, including dirty clothes. I hope it did not cause too much of a hardship for you.

    Beautiful pictures! I can only imagine the beauty you are seeing. You are such an adventurous soul.

    Love your new look.

    Have a great trip!

    xoxo

    • Oneika says:

      Ugh, Liebling’s dad had the GPS system stolen out of his car when he came to visit us in London a few years ago!! Thanks Debra!

  • Dorothy says:

    That’s rotten! I have not been pick pocketed; thankfully! Glad you got your wallet and cards back. Hopefully the rest of your trip doesn’t involve the police in any way!

  • Jason says:

    Wow, that really sucks! We have been fortunate so far on our RTW trip, but I was robbed at gunpoint in a small Oregon town on Christmas Eve years ago. You never know when it could happen! Glad to hear you got your credit cards back!

    • Oneika says:

      OMG robbed at gunpoint?!? Please elaborate! Where were you? Did the police apprehend the culprit? So sorry that happened to you, what happened to me seems small in comparison!

  • Sorry about your lose. My iPod Touch was stolen at the border in Republic of Benin. Glad you got the credit cards back. Hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in Egypt. Stay safe!

  • Oh no! I’m sorry to hear that, Oneika. I have never been pick-pocketed or robbed while abroad, though I’ve had people try. At least it was only cash, not a camera or something really difficult to replace…I’m looking for the silver lining here, ha ha! Enjoy the rest of your time in Egypt xx

    • Oneika says:

      Thanks for attempting to find that silver lining, Brenna!! I”m feeling a lot better about what happened now!

  • kay* says:

    ugh – that’s terrible! but, as you say, could have been so much worse. you know, come to think of it, i “lost” my debit card while in aswan when i visited a few years ago….i put “lost” into quotations because i’ve always wondered how i managed to lose just it and not anything else..perhaps a crafty pick pocketer got it? ah well, could’ve been much worse! enjoy the rest of your time in egypt and don’t let this sour your experience!

  • Mil says:

    Ouch! Hate to hear that. It’s a hard lesson to learn. Don’t let it spoil your travels.

    • Oneika says:

      I was really upset the evening it happened but Liebling helped me to get over it so I was able to enjoy the rest of the trip!

  • Jenni says:

    I got robbed in Egypt too! Actually I had my iPod, camera, and wallet stolen out of my backpack. I allowed myself to be distracted and checked my bag with those things in it. Dumb, I know. I found out from someone I was traveling with (after the fact) that Egypt is notorious for having things “disappear” at the airport/ out of checked bags. Sorry this happened to you :-/

    • Oneika says:

      Wow! That really is terrible but not surprising! The very next evening we were out for a stroll in Aswan and there were two further mugging attempts on us! Thankfully we were wise to what was going on and managed to get away! Just wild.

  • Argh that sucks! So far we have been lucky in our 12 months on the road and haven’t had any problems except for on rip off taxi driver (learned that lesson let me tell you).

    Im glad you weren’t hurt and even though its $250 gone, it could have been so much worse.

    Thanks for sharing the story so others know how to be careful!

    • Oneika says:

      Thanks so much Nicole! I’m kicking myself but at the end of the day I am thankful that the only thing I lost was cash.

  • soulshadow55 says:

    Wow, sorry to hear about that bad experience. That kind of crime really sucks. If I know you (and I don’t, I just read your blog and I know you always have a positive attitude) I know you’ll make the best of it.

    I was almost pick-pocketed in San Francisco once but my sister (who was walking behind me) saw what the guy was trying to do and she warned me. She spoke really loud and caught the guy off guard. I guess he didn’t know we were together. He walked away whistling with his hands in his pockets like Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn. If there had been a police officer around we would have had him arrested.

    • Oneika says:

      Thanks for your kind words! As a matter of fact, now that I think about it, someone attempted to pickpocket me in Santiago, Chile, but luckily a bystander informed me before the culprit could strike! I felt really awful that evening but managed to regain my positive attitude the next day. C’est la vie I guess!

  • Adam says:

    Aww, sorry to hear that Oneika! Egypt can be rough on the tourists despite it being one of their biggest economies. I’ve heard and experienced similar stories about the police insisting the item stolen wasn’t “stolen” but instead “lost” in India. Bizarre and stressful.

    • Oneika says:

      Thanks for the support, Adam! It’s particularly sad as the economy is really struggling and really relying on tourist dollars. However, when things like this happen tourists have no inclination to endorse going to Egypt to their friends and family. Very bad.

  • Cristina says:

    Oh my gosh! So glad to hear you’re okay. I wonder why or how your wallet “miraculously” turn up? My first thought is the corruption of law enforcement there but I choose to give them the benefit of the doubt (I hope)

    • Oneika says:

      Ugh, so frustrating and I definitely think the cops were in on it! Just as I was about to blow a gasket at the police station my empty wallet turned up. Argh!

  • Solebella says:

    Oneika! I’m so sorry to hear about this, but I am happy to hear that you are ok. I wish you much safer travels while you enjoy Egypt. And please dip your feet an extra time in Nile for me – I will imagine that they are my feet! =)

  • Helen says:

    Terrible! So sorry that happened to you. A couple questions from a fellow Canadian:

    2) How did you get travel medical insurance? I can’t find a provider to cover me because of the travel advisory against non-essential travel.

    Are you experiencing a lot of sexual harassment? (I hope not)

  • Chris says:

    That’s unfortunate.. Up until about 5 years ago I always carried my money in my backpocket until after repeated ticking offs from my Dad that one day it will go missing I changed my ways. Now whenever I carry money it’s always in my front pocket of my trousers and as close to me as can be.

    At least you got your cards back without the hassling of cancelling everything.

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  • LaShawna says:

    The only country I’ve ever had anything stolen from me was Spain. That country was the worst for petty thievery. And it was in Madrid, Seville (where I am pretty sure I barely escaped a mugging), Barcelona. People would rifle through your backpack pockets as you were walking down the street or on the subway. It was pretty freaking blatant, and I simply have never seen that in all the other countries I’ve visited.

  • Damien says:

    I don’t allow anyone to get that close to me. I don’t try to get too friendly with anyone. I have given the forearm shiver to countless panhandlers and beggers. I visit the country, experience the sights and amazing foods. I meet a companion for my nightly pleasures and TRUST NO ONE. I keep my valuables in the hotel room safe. I only take the amount of cash I will spend and I keep that in my inner pants pocket. (Buy pants with inner pockets or just sewn in your own.) So if they try to pickpocket me they have to go inside my pants to get it. I am the ugly american tourist and I am proud of it.

  • YaYa says:

    So sorry to hear about your experience. Once I was in a crowded bar in New York City and just as a whim for no reason at all I decided to put my credit cards, ID and subway card etc wrapped around most of my cash and shoved it in my sock. I left 20 bucks in my backpocket for red bull purchases through the night. 2 hours later I reached for my pocket and my 20 was gone but luckily it was only 20. I suspected I knew who it was…and later I saw him reach into a guys backpocket. I informed the bartender. The boy got caught and they found a whole bunch of cash and other peoples credit cards on him. After that, I always keep most of my stuff in my sock but then again…we can do our best…sometimes things can just not be in our control no matter how hard we try.

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  • Dee Dee Webb says:

    I have NEVER been pick pocketed. I have been to several Countries, often as a single traveler and I am so paranoid, I basically do pirouettes down the street looking for any suspicious people. I once had a con artist come up to me by the Eiffel Tower (no need to explain who) and they swore I had dropped my ring (gold). They were some persistent little buggers, but had to back off when I told them (while laughing) that I was allergic to Gold (I wasn’t, but they didn’t know that). The following year i went with a group and we were under the arches of the Eiffel Tower. I saw a young lady (who was so in awe of the Eiffel’s beauty and was not paying attention) wallet get stolen – by the same suspects (no need to explain who) and she had it in her backpack. By the time we realized what was happening, the thief had passed her wallet on to someone else who disappeared in the crowd. The unfortunate soul never even realized her wallet had been stolen until we told her.

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