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Paris Pickpockets

June 23, 1985

If you're going to Paris, be aware of a group of young Gypsies who pickpocket on the Rue de Rivoli around the hotels. They also work the Tuilleries Gardens and the area around the Jeu de Peume. They approach by begging, and a young man holds up a sign in front of your face to distract you, while two girls swarm all over you. They took money and travelers checks from an inside upper pocket of a man's suit. This was at 9 a.m. in front of the hotel when there was no one on the street.

I saw them again the following day at 3 in the afternoon, this time walking in the crowds on the Rue de Rivoli. The young man recognized me. He held up the sign, lunged at me and went on.

The police are aware, but don't seem concerned. Take the hotel's advice and use their safe deposit boxes. A money belt is the safest way to carry extra funds.

FRANCES SEGERBLOM

Manhattan Beach

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