During my trip in Paris, I had my 7″ Android tablet stolen right before my eyes.

I was at lunch at a Japanese restaurant with a friend of mine and left the tablet at the right corner of the table. A little towards the end of my meal, a small girl peeked in the window in front of me. Of course, I had no suspicion. A few seconds later one small girl and someone else behind me entered and laid out some kind of advertisements on top of the table on our left and right.

I raised my hand to show we had no interest and they left soon with the restaurant people telling them to leave. We started to discuss about theft in Paris and that was when I turned my eyes to my tablet and it was gone! The kid behind me covered my tablet with his ad and took it with him as he left!

I jumped out right away and checked left and right from the entrance and could see the group about 150ft away. I rushed to catch up with them (there were about 5 and 2 of them were gone soon). I roughly remembered the 2 girls so I caught them first but they did not run or seemed anxious at all to be caught. However, there was this boy in front of me who I did not recognize. From a glimpse I could tell his pockets did not have my tablet so I went for his tummy first and voila! it was right there! I pulled it out immediately, grabbed the kid by the arm and told him we were going to see the police.

He probably noticed he was getting into trouble so he got loose pretty quick (strong for his age) and ran away immediately. Next time, I will not let him go.

One thing I would like to advise, with all the theft stories I have encountered with my friends here, is if someone approaches you for whatever reason, they are around to steal from you. Don’t get caught signing any papers people ask and don’t respond to people asking questions you do not understand. Be very cautious when people around you shove advertisements to you and also when kids spin around you close as well. And especially when they start putting their hands into your pant pockets. Also do not pick up the coins or items whatever someone drops right in front of you.

A lesson well learned.

[Update]

Unfortunately, we had a bag stolen during dinner. My wife put the backpack in front of her at the left end of the table (we sat outside as there was no room inside and I was at the right end) and after we finished our meal and was about to leave, we noticed our bag was missing. The restaurant was a busy one with lots of tourists visiting and people lining up around the entrance which is probably a good location for theft. Luckily, we had only a few snacks in that backpack so nothing major was lost but just the fact that our belongings had been compromised was a horrible experience!

Watch out for theft in Paris!