Travel Talk

Stolen Money, Credit Cards & iPhones in Las Penitas


This will be brief as I do not like being a bearer of bad news. Last night was a large festival in the region and chaos ensued. This sleepy town got turned upside down as it appeared everyone and their family came to party. The guesthouse I’m at filled up and at one point these 2 gents in their mid 20’s appeared and immediately I became apprehensive, call it intuition. I even told this to a friend while chatting with him on Facebook…

The red flag with these gents for me was that they had small backpacks that appeared to be empty, that always sends alarm bells in my mind. Let’s back up a bit, on the way home a gent from Sweden was crammed into a bus waiting for it to go, he felt someone in his pocket and went for it but it was too late. The thieves had stolen his new iphone 4 and cut the cord he had attach to it and his belt.

Was glad I had bought that laptop lock, what I did was I put all my valuables into my main bag which has only 1 entry point, locked it. Took the laptop lock and weaved it around my bed frame, through that pack and through my mini pack then locked it into my laptop. There was no way to steal the laptop or gear without cutting the lock wire and you can’t rip it out of the laptop without ruining it. Festivals are always prime time for theft, FYI because the order of things is completely off balance.

At 9PM everyone was going to this bar, I didn’t feel like going so I just lay face down on my bed and passed out. About 2 hours later could of sworn I had a flash light in my eyes but I was seriously OUT OF IT. I then woke up at about 11PM and saw the 2 gents getting changed, thought nothing of it as well they could just be going to the club, they never returned. Actually thought it was a bit late but I was in a zombie like state.

What got stolen? Well one of the ladies had her credit card stolen and that Swedish guy had $100 and his credit cards stolen. He was distraught last night about his iphone, I woke up at about 2am and a crew was hanging out consoling him as he was contacting his provider to cancel the sim. This morning it was worse, he was randomly going through stuff and noticed he was missing $100 then his card. The thieves left his other money and everything else hoping he wouldn’t notice and they could go on a spending spree.

I envision this being the scenario, they flashed the light in my eyes to see how coherent I was, then one of them sat outside while the other one rummaged and went to town. Should someone come they could easily signal each other and stop doing what they are doing and just leave, this is just a hypothesis but my gut says it is correct.

At 10AM his card had already had $220 used up on it, sigh. This sparked the others to look for their things and as mentioned another lady had lost her credit card and another gent had his designer sunglasses stolen. What to make of this? This type of thing happens, you need to be aware and on guard of your stuff everywhere, especially where there is a massive income discrepancy and the order of things is off kilter such as a festival. Remember my pick pocket experience at Hanoi Liberation Day?

To think, yesterday I had started penning a post called “keeping your stuff safe buses”, that will happen in the future. The take away? Trust your gut feelings when you travel as in all facets of life. Always keep your stuff under lock and combo, the Swedish guy had a lock and key, combo locks are safer. Also, do not count on any establishment to provide you with what you need. Had I not had that laptop lock, who knows? The concept of putting all your stuff in one bag aka eggs in one basket is scary, especially if you cannot ensure that it will stay put.

Imagine if I had put all that gear in 1 bag and it got stolen?

Tips hat,

P.S: Everyone who gets stuff taken often says “what are the odds, it was the one time I didn’t…” This makes me think, anytime you don’t take proper precautions will be the one time, yes?

P.P.S: The laptop was placed inside the little bag in the photo above last night.

P.P.P.S: No, that is not my guitar in the photo.

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