Re the Aug. 25 letter, "Robbery Prevented," we had a similar experience. The day before we left Paris we were approached by three girls (about 8 or 9) and a boy (about 5) near the Opera House. Their pregnant mother(?) was standing by. We had noticed them shortly before on different corners, and because of your articles warning tourists, were very aware of their intentions.
They looked almost zombie-like, with sallow complexions and expressionless faces. So when they came near, I hugged my purse.
These street urchins carried papers or a magazine and offered it to my husband. He told them to get away, but they continued to mumble. When my husband snapped his rolled-up map against the girl's flyer, she didn't flinch, just turned away. They all moved on to try their gimmick on another tourist.
The funny thing was that everyone near had to be aware of this group and their intentions--the picture seller, the police near the Opera and the many pedestrians, and no one seemed to care. I'm so glad your paper has made us aware of these pickpockets.
MARILYN GLASSER Hillcrest Travel Los Angeles