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31 replies
If you thinking about taking a NIGHT TRAIN in ITALY DON'T!!!
serge404
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If you thinking about taking a “NIGHT TRAIN in ITALY”….. Do yourself a favor….. DON”T!!!
Let me tell you about our “vacation” in Italy! My husband and I have been married for 12 years and since he is from Europe, throughout our marriage, his dream has been to get me to Europe to see how “the other side lives”. Being Italian myself, I was very excited to visit Italy! We started planning our European vacation back in April and decided to take a Mediterranean cruise on Celebrity Millennium from Venice to Barcelona because the itinerary was excellent and also wanted to see Paris. We got busy booking our cruise and all the travel arrangements from place to place. My husband was thrilled with the fact that we would start in Paris and take a sleeper train at night to continue our journey to catch our ship in Venice. He said it would be wonderful experience for me and a great way to travel in addition to all our flying. Our three days in Paris were phenomenal. We boarded our train #221 Paris-Venezia on Tues. Aug. 28, 2007 for our journey to Italy. We got in our coach 95 couchette 45-46 and got cozy for the nights ride. We ask our conductor who collected our passports  for two blankets which he delivered later , locked the door and went to sleep at around 23:00. We awoke around midnight and checked our watch for the time. Falling back to sleep, we awoke around 5:00 am and discovered my husbands’ watch was missing. We checked around the floor and my husband said somebody took it and immediately went for our money and documents in his “fanny pack” only to discover every bit of cash we had for travel, 1500 Dollars + 500 Euro’s was GONE!! We were robbed while we slept with our door locked and money in the “fanny pack”! My husband immediately went to the conductor to report it and found him standing with two “undercover officers” who never show any ID’s. They came back to the couchette and did a “report”. After train stopped in Venice we went to the police station and filed a report. We then went to get a cash advance off our credit card that was not stolen and the lady informed us it happen every day. I said there is no way somebody would come in my room and I would not wake up and she informed me that thieves use conductor’s key’s to open your couchette and spray your room and it knocks you out so you won’t hear anything and that how they rob you.
What a horrible nightmare it is to make plans for months, make all the arrangements, take time off from work and packing for a wonderful vacation only to be robbed of all your cash while you sleep before you even arrived to your cruise ship! For these people to invade our privacy and break into our couchette and drug you while you sleep to steal all our money is something we will never get over. We arrived at our ship and began our journey at sea. Along the way, we met a couple that travel by train from Paris to Venice two days earlier with four people in their room and she was robbed off ALL her currency as well. She had it tucked away in four different envelopes and the thief had time to go into every envelope and empty them one by one while four people slept. We got a copy of their police report if you are interested. This is my first trip to Europe and my first and last ride on your train was a horrible and frightening experience. After have returned home, I decided to go on the internet to read about all the other victims of this horrible ordeal. We feel TRENITALIA is a 100% responsible for the safety of its travelers and we paid approx. $500 to travel on your train only to be invaded and robbed!!! We do feel company is 100% responsible for allowing this theft to occur every day, on a regular basis and feel it OK to accept this behavior from your own employees. There is no doubt in our minds you are fully aware of this incredibly horrible crime and allow it to happen on a daily basis. We also feel your conductors are definitely part of the whole operation and you as a company are fully responsible for allowing people to pay for ticket to ride your train only to be robbed on a daily basis. Why there are no cameras on the sleeper trains to prevent this? We are planning to go to the television with our story so we can let the world know about our wonderful TRENITALIA experience. This has been a devastating event for our trip which completely ruined our desire to EVER visit Italy again! If this was your goal, congratulations…You have succeeded! With sincere regret of traveling TRENITALIA…

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I hear it’s quite common on Italian & Eastern European trains for conductors to gas & rob unsuspecting travellers, that’s why you should never ride the nite train

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Great story, very vivid imagination![]

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I’m curious about what the chemical in the gas must be that totally knocks a person out, yet they always wake up in time for their train stop. Why don’t we hear versions of people ending up in some far-flung region they didn’t intend for, or people who wake up drowsy and disoriented, and don’t realize immediately that they have been robbed.  What is this gas and why don’t we hear of its use in situations other than trains?

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You have my sympathies.  But if you got pickpocketed on the NY subway, would it be the fault of the NY transit authority?

I was picked on a bus in San Luis Potosi Mexico – cash, T checks, what a mess.  I survived.  Hope this doesn’t spoil your interest in travel altogether.


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I don’t get why so many people believe this is an impossible scenerio and that so many people go around telling made-up stories about it. 
 
I mean, I’m not going to avoid night trains or try to scare others from doing so because of it.  But unless someone has proof that this is a total hoax I see no reason to sit back and laugh at it. 

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ORIGINAL: Russ

You have my sympathies.  But if you got pickpocketed on the NY subway, would it be the fault of the NY transit authority?

 
The train conductor robbed him you ass, yes it is the fault of the Train company.

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“…only to discover every bit of cash we had for travel, 1500 Dollars + 500 Euro’s was GONE!!”
 
Why would you carry this much cash with you? That seems pretty dangerous itself. I’ve found it’s always better to have as little cash as possible and keep the rest on you ATM card. You get a better exchange rate that way when you take money out of the ATMs, and if you are unlucky enough to get your card stolen you can cancel it and not loose all your money.

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Serge,

Some things in your story don’t quite add up, as a few posters already pointed out, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt here.

We all sympathize with you for what happened.  However, you’re not going to find any seasoned travelers that will agree with your viewpoint.  You seriously need to travel more, and learn more, and open your mind more.  Because when you sit there and point fingers at Italy, you’re not realizing how naive you’re being.  Had this happened to you at home, you wouldn’t have gone on a rampage, telling people on the internet not avoid visiting your country.  (And don’t tell me that theft never happens in your own country.)  MY guess is that A.) you don’t travel much and B.) you have been lucky thus far to not have been robbed in your own country.

Please get a hold of yourself.  While you have a good reason to upset, blaming ALL of Italy for this, and advising people not to visit Italy is overreacting just a tad.  When I had my wallet stolen from the gym locker room in my own hometown Chicago (or when my mom had her purse stolen at work, or when my coworker’s house was robbed, or my my friend’s house was robbed…) I didn’t go online advising people not to visit the USA.  Nor did I hold the gym accountable that my wallet was stolen from my locker (the lock was picked by an expert).  NOR is the gym legally accountable (NOR is Trenitalia), even though the gym is well aware that theft in the locker rooms is common

Shit happens.  Suck it up.  Instead of telling people your speculations about who may have robbed you, and to avoid visiting Italy, you would be MUCH more helpful to other travelers by advising them NOT to carry a lot of cash on them, to have some emergency travelers’ checks with them maybe in their socks as they sleep, to have the international phone numbers for the banks written down somewhere so that they can call and cancel their ATM/debit/credit cards as soon as possible, carry a copy of your passport, etc.  Because the reality is: when traveling abroad, many&nbspeople don’t practice the sensible precautions they do at home, and many people are not prepared for what to do should they get robbed. 

Italy remains one of the world’s safest countries, and while petty theft has become a problem recently, the vast majority of tourists to Italy experience no incidentOf course you’re going to find many stories online.  When a country is the world’s #4 tourist destination, raking in 36 MILLION visitors a year, I’m sure you’ll find 300 horror stories on the internet.

Quote:
We feel TRENITALIA is a 100% responsible for the safety of its travelers and we paid approx. $500 to travel on your train only to be invaded and robbed!!! We do feel company is 100% responsible for allowing this theft to occur every day, on a regular basis and feel it OK to accept this behavior from your own employees.


That’s speculation

Quote:
There is no doubt in our minds you are fully aware of this incredibly horrible crime and allow it to happen on a daily basis.


Don’t you ever see signs everywhere in the USA/Canada…in parking garages, in the gym locker rooms, etc, etc, “we are not responsible for lost/stolen items?”  Didn’t you even see such signs on your Celebrity cruise ship?  Theft happens everywhere.  Trenitalia is in no way more “negligent” than any other business, whether in Italy, America, or Peru.  I’ve had countless things stolen from me at my gym in Chicago.  Should I hold them accountable?  Or assume it was an inside job?  The truth is, you have no idea how it happened.  You’re still recovering from the shock of it all, and you’re a bit emotional right now which is understandible so you’re not thinking clearly.

Quote:
We also feel your conductors are definitely part of the whole operation…
 

Again, speculation


Quote:
….and you as a company are fully responsible for allowing people to pay for ticket to ride your train only to be robbed on a daily basis. Why there are no cameras on the sleeper trains to prevent this? We are planning to go to the television with our story so we can let the world know about our wonderful TRENITALIA experience. This has been a devastating event for our trip which completely ruined our desire to EVER visit Italy again!


Four&nbspeople got robbed out of the 36 MILLION that will have visited Italy this year.  Seriously, you’re wasting your energy by sending letters to Trenitalia.  People get robbed in every country all the time, and businesses expect such things to happen on their premises to some extent.  There is not much they can do to completely eliminate the problem.  Trenitalia might like your camera idea, but they may not have it in their budget (nor the time) to install cameras outside every cabin in every single one of their train cars all across the country…or there might be legal restrictions not allowing them to do so, either Italian privacy laws or EU regulations.  (A far better and much more reasonable idea that you could have suggested in your letter to Trenitalia is to install in their cabins those little safes that you see in hotel rooms and cruise cabins, for&nbspeople to lock up their valuables.) 

You can try going on TV, but no one will be interested in broadcasting your story.  So someone got their wallet and watch stolen.  So what?  That happens everywhere, everyday.  You were just the unlucky people for that particular day. 

What you can do, you can send a letter or email to major travel publications like Frommers, Lonely Planet, Let’s Go, etc.  IF they hear a lot of similar stories, they will post something in the Safety/Precautions section of their Italy books, advising tourists about the existence of this problem.  If they don’t get enough similar stories, they will treat it as an isolated incident.  However, Safety/Precautions sections in all travel publications ALWAYS advise readers to practice the same precautions you would at home.  Another thing you can do, as I said earlier, is to learn from this experience, and advise people how to avoid getting robbed and how to be prepared should it happen to them. 

Please get a hold of yourself and stop holding all of Italy accountable.  You technically don’t even know which country the robbery took place in. Given the times you stated, the robbery may have taken place in France; the majority of a Paris-Venice commute is inside French territory.  The train did leave from Paris, and may have stopped in Dijon.  You do NOT know if the thieves were Italian or French, and there’s a strong chance they were neither (there are millions of illegal aliens in both Italy and France; many are unable to find work, a few turn to petty crime).  And the door may not have been locked or closed completely; mistakes do happen.  I’m going to assume, however, that you know whether or not this was a Trenitalia (Ferrovie dello Stato) train, or an SNCF train.  There is so much more information that completes the story; unfortunately we don’t know all of it.


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This letter was written by my wife for TRENITALIA officials, they got all necessary supporting documents police reports, copy of the tickets etc. Reason why it got posted on the internet… hopefully the other “unseasoned” travelers can learn a lot from our mistakes, and for all you “professors” out there who did not beleve this story is real untill you see it on TV… well I will keep you posted.

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Oh really?  And what TV show will you be on?  Do you work for a TV station?  Ok, so you have a copy of your train tickets.  Does this mean that your speculations are correct as to who robbed you?  Does the police report actually say that you were gassed and/or that Trenitalia’s employees did this?  Or does it just say that your stuff was stolen on the train?  Come on, dude.

Serge, as I said, seriously get a hold of yourselves.  Shit happens, and you’ve been lucky thus far to have never been robbed in your home country.  You or your wife, or whomever, are full of speculations, quickly blaming all of Italy and Trenitalia for this, and assuming that it was a Trenitalia inside job.  When the reality is, you don’t even know the who, what, when, where, or how.  Try using all that energy to educate other travelers, instead of writing long posts that don’t help others on anything.  We’re sorry for what happened…so let’s all learn from this experience and&nbspass it on.


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I thought this was interesting – read the post about the article in the Italian paper La Repubblica, June 4, 2007.
 
http://www.ricksteves.com/graffiti/graffiti11.html
 
If the article is correct, which I presume it would be as this is a mainstream newspaper, the authorities are concerned about&nbspassengers being knocked out with sleeping gas and robbed, and about being passengers tricked by fake staff, and they are taking steps to combat it.
 
I have no personal knowledge about being gassed on trains.

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Quote from Graffiti Wall Posted on: 3:35 pm, yesterday

For those of you in doubt and who have not had the benefit of regular Italian newspapers or news programmes here is something to ponder over.
[/align][/align]We HAVE had reports on Italian TV and in the press regarding theft on the trains.
[/align][/align]An article published in one of our daily newspapers La Repubblica on the 4th of June 2007 had this to say:
[/align][/align]I have added the parts of the Italian version below but here is a brief synopsis of what it says in English.
[/align][/align]The train of desires. Title taken from a popular quiz programme which used to be on Rai TV.
[/align][/align]Thieves who wait in the dark until travellers fall asleep, victims of thefts and holdups during the night using skill and sleeping sprays: 360 in 2004, 580 in 2006 and already 125 this year.
[/align]The latest trick the travelling thieves are using this year is to emulate Arsenio Lupin and dress well even looking like well to do managers while they fool and rob unsuspecting travellers of their wallets and credit cards, Many of the thefts take place in the first class cabins where many people feel they might be more secure!!
[/align][/align]Every year over 11.000 cases of theft are reported both in the stations and on the trains. An increase of 30% over the same period last year passing from 3000 to 4000 cases.
[/align][/align]17 million euro is to be spent this year in trying to resolve the problem and offering more security for travellers.
[/align]85 CCTVs are to be installed and new safety measures put into practise at Rome’s Termini Station.
[/align][/align]This is in an attempt to protect train users from the armed robbers who spray sleeping gas and often have a pass key for the sleeping cabins. They are also experts in pulling the safety chain in open country inorder to make a quick getaway to a safe hideaway.
[/align][/align][/align]È il treno dei desideri
[/align][/align]Ladri e rapinatori che aspettano nel buio che cali il sonno tra gli stanchi viaggiatori delle cuccette, vittime di furti e rapine durante la notte tra perizia e uso di sonniferi: 360 nel 2004, 580 nel 2006 e già 125 quest’anno. E tra i ladri viaggianti la novità sono gli emuli di Arsenio Lupin che messo il vestito da manager alleggeriscono di soldi e carte di credito i viaggiatori dei treni di prima classe. Convinti di trovarsi in zona sicura.
[/align]Ogni anno sono oltre 11 mila i furti denunciati, i passeggeri derubati più spesso in carrozza che in stazione: nei primi quattro mesi di quest’anno i furti e le rapine sono aumentate del 30 per cento rispetto allo stesso periodo del 2006 passando da tre a quattromila.
[/align]Così quest’anno verranno spesi 17 milioni di euro per la sicurezza di soldi e bagagli di chi viaggia. Un programma articolato che vedrà anche l’installazione di 85 circuiti di telecamere nelle stazioni. E soluzioni di sicurezza per le zone a rischio, come le biglietterie automatiche, dove si stanno studiando accorgimenti salva bagagli che verranno provati prima a Roma Termini.
[/align][/align]Per dare più sicurezza anche a chi viaggia sui treni della notte con l’incubo del sonnifero spruzzato dal ladro “armato” di chiavi pass-partout e pronto a tirare il freno a mano in aperta campagna per dileguarsi sicuro.
[/align]La Repubblica 4 June 2007
[/align]

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Serge, please!

Nobody tells you that you have made up the whole story!

All ltb and others are trying to point out is that you don’t really know who robbed you, when, and how.

If you want to recover any money from Trenitalia by all means try, but be prepared for a long uphill battle.

If you want to make your story public, to educate other people how to prevent this from happening to them, we are with you.

But if you keep insisting that the whole thing was planned and carried out by Trenitalia, and that Americans should stop going to Italy because of that, you’ll be just making a fool of yourself and nobody will listen to you!

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Serge,

I too read that post in the thread that Traveler gave us the link to.  And trust me, I am up pretty up to date on Italian issues.

The article completely contradicts what you are saying. 

You are under the impression that the robbery was a Trenitalia inside job, and/or that Trenitalia is aware of the theft problem, but doesn’t care to do anything about it. 

The article, however, says that the culprits are suspected to be non-Trenitalia employees who have a pass-key for sleeping cabins (which is also what I think), and that Trenitalia is spending 17 million euros this year alone to increase security for train passengers. 

The uncited article, (anonymous poster says it’s from La Repubblica), is meant as a warning to the Italian public, most of whom are otherwise unaware of this problem (hence, hardly a widespread problem, but a growing one nonetheless that needs to be addressed asap).

Maybe you should have done your research before accusing Trenitalia both of turning their noses to the problem, and of committing the robbery themselves.

As I already said, you were too emotional at the time you (or your spouse) wrote the letter, leading you to make all sorts of baseless conclusions.  Get a hold of yourselves, may cooler heads prevail…and then let’s analyze the situation and try to educate others about this.


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Quote:
ORIGINAL: Traveler


If the article is correct, which I presume it would be as this is a mainstream newspaper, the authorities are concerned about&nbspassengers being knocked out with sleeping gas and robbed, and about being passengers tricked by fake staff, and they are taking steps to combat it.


 
That kind of sums it up for me.  They are “supposedly” takeing steps to combat it, but seriously, what kind of operation is the Trenitalia running when they have fake staff collecting money and people being robbed in their sleep?  I mean how difficult can it be to prevent this from happening on in a contained, moving train?  Either the staff are impotent morons or they are in on the scam.  Moreover, the police nor the board of tourism seem very concerned with fixing the problem.  So if you look at it from that perspective, then yes Italy and Trenitalia both deserve blame. 
 
Just like that shit with being charged double when you sit down to eat at some cafes.  Maybe its not completely illegal, but its definately a tourist scam, yet the board of tourism does nothing about it.  That would never fly in most cities/countries, but because Italy has one of the strongest bases for tourism in the world, more tourists will come reguardless of how badly others got ripped off, so nothing has to be done about it. 

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Thanx rob_co2
Finally somebody with a common sense! Simple warning instruction inside the couchette in English, French, German (no need for Italian all train personell was Italians and they can warn people verbally) would be a good start + dead bolt lock that cannot be open from the outside will cut theft by 99%!

And this is a quote from the web as well, needless to say our feelings were the same when we left Italy (not like they would care or anything):

Sure, I realized my wallet was gone within twenty minutes of it’s theft. Sure, with two phone calls, the cards were cancelled, the replacements on order, and life would soon be back on my way, and I suppose it was a good, and even reasonably priced lesson in international travel, but I suspect for as much as this event has cost me, it has cost the good people of Italy a helluva a lot more.
It is unlikely that I will ever, EVER, willingly return to this country again. Despite it’s history. Despite it’s beauty. Not only do have the worst luck in Italy, between the bad weather and my poor health, and just downright bad-timing, I’m increasingly convinced that Italy is a third world shit-hole masquerading as a modern, western nation. And mind-you, I LOVE third world shit-holes. I mean that only in the nicest way. Shit-holes rock. They are quirky and smelly and surprising and frequently beautiful. They force you to change the way you look at your own life while you look at theirs. However, this particular shit-hole comes not only with all the dangers and inconveniences of the third world, but with the price tag of the first. And no matter how much I love the people and love the food and love their history, hell, MY history, I feel no need to get fully fucked over in order to experience it.
Simply, I can have just as much fun, hell, twice as much fun in South America or Asia (Africa is a totally different animal for sure) at a mere fraction of the price. I’ll not return to Italy, hell, I may not return to EUROPE, until an international tribunal or a really, REALLY hot girlfriend drags me there. It’s just not worth the price.
And after two trips to this place, the cradle of my history and the birthplace of my ancestors, two miserable trips that both rate as the worst vacations of my life, I can totally understand WHY THEY LEFT.
I’ll be sure to piss on the border before I go.

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Surely, train staff are neither trained nor paid to deal with criminals. Surely, there are enough stories to suggest that Italian authorities often have more sympathy for their poor homegrown pickpockets then for those filthy rich fat-cats with their pockets full of money that come from abroad, even worse from overseas.

So what? Is there anything you, me, or American media can do about it? Is there any chance we can stop enough people from going to Italy for the authorities to notice?

It’s like “The Club.” You don’t use it combat car theft. You use it to make sure your locks aren’t gonna be picked.

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I can’t see why you think Spain will necessarily be better. I have an acquaintance, a middle-aged woman, who was robbed twice in a short trip there last summer (and not by pickpockets). One time it was a swarm of youths, and I’m not sure about the other time. And whatever the truth is about this sleeping gas, there have been similar stories in Spain. The fact is that as travelers, we have a degree of vulnerability even in relatively safe locales, even if it’s statistically quite small, so it’s just something we have to accept and plan for as best we can. 
 
Of course it is easy for me to say this, because knock on wood, no such problem has happened to me. I hope that wherever you go next, you are able to relax and enjoy your trip.

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Italy is not a poor country.  Italy’s incomes are around the same as Britain and Germany.  They don’t really have poor homergrown pockets, and the culprits could very well be foreigners.  One HUGE mistake that travelers tend to make, is that they assume everyone they meet/encounter in a particular country is from that country.  The culprits could be international criminal gangs, or they could be illegal immigrants resorting to petty theft to make a living.  There is no shortage of foreigners living in Italy; an estimated 25% of the illegal immigrants in the EU reside in Italy, a larger chunk than any other EU member except Germany.  These are all major problems well-known to most Europeans, but not to non-Europeans.  I’m not trying to pin the blame on non-Italians; the robbers could be Italian.  But let’s all stop assuming what we don’t know.  People are trying to analyze the Italian economy, culture, and politics without having the slightest idea about who committed robbery and about contemporary issues in Italy.

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Thanx rob_co2
Finally somebody with a common sense! Simple warning instruction inside the couchette in English, French, German (no need for Italian)…


Why no need for Italian?  Are Trenitalia’s Italian passengers, traveling within their own country, expected to understand English, French, and German?  I’m not sure what you’re trying to hint at here.  That Italians don’t get robbed? Is this a vast conspiracy of Italians robbing non-Italians?

Serge,

You don’t listen.
  

Just relax and listen. Because you seem incredibly naive, sheltered, and stubborn.  We are experienced travelers, dude.  Your story may be true, but given our experience all sorts of questions are popping up in OUR heads…it’s clear to us that you’re making a LOT of assumptions.

Myself and The Herr (another poster who hasn’t posted in ages)…we live in Chicago and we took a roadtrip to Toronto ealrier this year.  We stayed at a hostel on King and Spadina Avenues.  There’s a private parking lot behind it, where we left our car, with a fee of course.  On our last night there, our car was broken into, and everything inside was stolen.  We didn’t notice it until the following morning.  Car break-ins are a common problem in Toronto, we were told.  And Canada is one of the world’s top tourist destinations, just like Italy.  Yet what is the Canadian tourism board doing about this?  What were the parking attendants doing about this?  The morning parking attendant had a look of his face as if nothing unusual had happened; he wasn’t even in shock of what had happened to us.  Not even a “I’m sorry for what happened to you guys.”  He just sat there and watched as we assessed the damage to the car and what was taken from us.  We had specifically left the car in a pay parking lot (instead of on the street) because we thought an attendant would keep on eye on it.  Should I conclude Canada is a third-world shit-hole?  Now….had I been like YOU, had I been this incredibly naive and sheltered guy, and had this been my first time being robbed, I probably would have reacted the same way as YOU.  I would have blamed ALL of Canada, and Toronto…I wouldn’t have been prepared for what to do in case of a theft, and I would have probably lost an insane amount of cash (all that was taken from me was my CD case and a $30 portable CD player).  Most importantly- I would have ASSUMED that this problem is unique to Canada.

Going further back:

When I lived in Paris 6 years ago (in the 16th district, which includes some very expensive areas of the city), I came home one day, and noticed my door was open a crack, and then I realized it had been forced open.  The door frame was seriously damaged and there were pieces of wood (from the broken door frame) all over the floor.  My room was ransacked and my things searched, but not my roommate’s.  I had US$2000 in Traveler’s Checks, and my roommate had a new computer (which was in my room), but nothing was stolen.  Some friends suggested to me that the robber may have still been in the apartment when I was coming up the stairs, and he left the apartment without a chance to take anything.  My landlord said that it may have been a drug addict looking for drugs.  Noticed I was a new tenant a young guy and hoped I had drugs.  Who knows??  Most apartment buildings in&nbsparis have a security feature at the front door, where you have to key in a code to get in.  Mine didn’t.  France is, by the way, the world’s #1 tourist destination.

In the US, countless things have happened to myself, my family, and friends.  My mom had her purse stolen at work.  Two friends had their houses robbed CLEAN.  One day at the gym, after my workout, I retrieve my things from my locker.  I happened to look into my wallet, and noticed that my credit and ATM cards were missing.  My immediate thought is that they had probably slipped out of my wallet, and must be somewhere inside the locker.  They couldn’t have possibly been stolen, because the locker was locked…how could anyone have gotten inside?  Could they have picked my lock?  I looked around for five minutes, and realized that I may never find my credit and ATM cards, so I better call and cancel them in the case they were in fact stolen.  I thankfully already had my banks’ emergency numbers programmed in my cell, so I called and cancelled the cards.  The thieves had already made a $600 luggage purchase (which I was later NOT held accountable for), and they tried making a $600 jewelry purchase, but the store cancelled the transaction (they probably realized it was a stolen card.)  This was not an isolated incident; another guy was robbed about a week later: I was at my locker, and his was next to mine.  He opened his locker as I was changing, and noticed his cards were stolen, even though his locker had been locked.  A few days after that, same thing happened to another guy, a couple aisles down from where I was changing.  Did the gym security do anything to stop this?  They said they’d put a stop to it, what can they do?  The United States is, by the way, the world’s #3 tourist destination.  What are US authorities doing to stop this?

So seriously, dude, you have SERIOUSLY got to stop your CRAP and get a hold of yourself.  I’m sorry that we’re not kissing your boo-boo to make you feel better -like you expected us to do.  You were a VERY unwise and naive traveler for carrying $2000 in cash with you; you had an unlucky day; and you are lucky to have not yet been robbed in your own country.  That’s all there is to it.  You were not specifically targetted, your own country is not immune to this, the robbers were not necessarily Italian, you have no idea who robbed you and if it was a Trenitalia inside job, you also do not know whether or not something is being done to combat this, and you’re constantly contradicting yourself. 

We’re sorry for what happened to you, and we must all learn from this, but you must also STOP being emotional and denfensive and LISTEN to other people.  You’re posting the SAME exact posts all over the internet, in travel forums, and many people have advised you to act rationally (write to tavel publications or the media, tell people the story as you know it) and to STOP making assumptions and pointing fingers. This is still too recent an incident for you to realize how unreasonable you’re being right now, and you’re trying to pin the blame on somebody so that you can find closure.  That somebody being Italy, Trenitalia, or the conductor.  It’s easy to point fingers, but as I already noted, you don’t know what exactly happened.

And please tell us what country YOU are from…unless you’re afraid of us pulling up crime stastics and web articles/posts about YOUR country. 

None of this would would bother me if you had refrained from making baseless conclusions, and cutting/pasting someone else’s post calling Italy a “third-world shithole.”  A country with 30+K GDP/PPP, a major economic power, one of the world’s top health care systems (#2, WHO report 2000), incredibly long life expectancies, and a magnet for immigrants, is hardly a “third-world shithole”.  And many 3rd world countries don’t even have high crime, while crime is a major problem in most industrialized societies.

Theft from trains has become a problem recently, and has incovenienced 4,000 travelers.  That’s it, and nothing else.  It is NOT 3rd world, it is NOT an inside job, it is NOT reluctance of the authorities to do anything.  Cut the crap, and stop posting the same exact thing (word for word) in ever travel website/forum on the internet.

Please just tell your story the way it happened.  And stop trying to analyze who did it, and whether or not anything is being done to combat it.  Because you’re doing a bad job at it. 

Poster peteray121 from the Lonely Planet tree also brings up a good point:

arentid=0&from=2&showall=true” class=“bb-url”>http://thorntree.lonelyplanet.com/messagepost.cfm?postaction=reply&catid=27&threadid=1468674&messid=12966845&STARTPAGE=1&amparentid=0&from=2&showall=true
Quote:
But you were robbed before you even got to Italy, if you checked your watch at midnight and awoke at 5am the thieves must have still been on the train, as there are no stops between Dole Ville at 23.46 and Milan at 05.38..
 
The train is operated by Artesia (www.artesia.eu), a consortium of the French and Italian national railways formed to run the Paris-Italy trains, Not Trenitalia.

As there are no regular seats on this train and every passanger has to have a sleeper or couchette, and each carriage has it’s own conductor, this story sounds very dodgy to me.

$2000 in cash!! i hope you were insured!!

see how “the other side lives” …. decided to take a Mediterranean cruise on Celebrity Millennium from Venice to Barcelona..

I guess you go to see how both sides live, people who got robbed on trains, and people who get robbed, fat and herded around on cruise ships..


 
I also suggested earlier that you may have been robbed before the train made its first stop inside Italian territory.

MTL also brings up a good point:

Quote:
I felt sorry that in 12 years you have never taken her to Europe, your supposed home continent. or are you ‘European’ the same way your wife is ‘Italian’?

 
Jetgirly:

Quote:
 overnighted to/from Barcelona and Turin once, and to/from Turin and Naples twice. My trick is to pack my valuables in my purse, wrap a cozy sweater around the purse, and use the bundle as a pillow. I know first-hand that it sucks to have things stolen, but I also know from first-hand experience that you tend to get robbed when you let your guard down and/or do something stupid. Carrying $2000 cash on an overnight train falls into the second category. Sorry.

 
alanR:

Quote:
The problem with the tale is that if it’s reasonably common then us – and the people on the other travel boards where this was posted – would have heard of other incidents or a Google search would turn up something.

As it hasn’t then it’s either a new phase of gassing or the OP isn’t telling the whole truth.


 
Germander:

Quote:
As you intend this post as a warning to other travellers, you mght like to give us further information on what has happened since this event so anyone else in this position will know what to do:

. have you put in a complaint to Artesia (the company that runs the train, not Trenitalia). This should have been done by the carriage conductor before you left the train, but there are also complaint forms on their website.

. what was their response

. what did the police suggest you do

. did you get a police report

. did the police or the conductor check the train’s CCTV footage

. what evidence is there of gassing (other than the bank teller told you this happened) eg, you at no time mention feeling unwell when you woke at 5am, and you certainly would had any form of chemical been used.

. have you been reimbursed by your travel insurance company

. did you continue on with your cruise, or return home.

 
gwovadis:

Quote:
How would you smuggle a gas canister large enough to anaesthetise a sleeping compartment?Would anyone notice? How come no-one has died or been seriously ill? Anaesthetics is a specialised practice: How do you get the correct dose without harming your victims? Would the thieves not be knocked out too?

 


beach-lunch-siesta-beach-shower-dinner-nightlife-repeat

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What legitimate reason could anyone have for carrying $2200 cash in Europe where there’s a bank on every corner and an ATM in every block?  Obviously, you’re not “cash only” people since you had ATM and credit cards, too.

Too bad your transaction in buying and selling untaxed French truffles went bad. 

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Quote:
ORIGINAL: oldlady

What legitimate reason could anyone have for carrying $2200 cash in Europe where there’s a bank on every corner and an ATM in every block?
Asking for trouble?

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Who knows, but people who do apartment or villa rentals often have to gather large amounts of cash in advance to pay the rent (say 2000 Euros or whatever), so that in itself is not entirely suspicious.

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OldLady, would you consider moving this topic to The Pub? It does not seem to have anything to do with “Transport” anymore.

IMHO there could be three reason why OP have posted his story all over the net and is now fighting with those who are trying to talk sense into him. []

  • OP wants to see if he can start a new urban myth
  • OP (and his wife) have used 1500[=”-1”]€ in a way their family shouldn’t know about and [/]
  • use “train robbery story” as a cover up
  • they have indeed been robbed on a train
  • [/]I was ready to give OP benefit of the doubt, although the fact that the train has no regular seats and makes no stops between midnight and 5 in the morning makes me way more doubtful. Naturally the whole idea of sleeping gas that knocks one unconscious, yet one does not feel a thing afterwards is preposterous. (Just remember what happened when Russian special forces used gas to “liberate” hostages in Moscow theater a few years ago.)
    So let’s say OP was careless enough to really have 1500[=”-1”]€ on him and to flash them in a way to attract a robber. (Because I can’t believe thieves picked him and his wife randomly.) He must have a very twisted picture of the world then and none of us, I’m afraid, can help him anyway. Any further discussion appears completely pointless.

    [/]

    oldlady
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    Quote:
    OldLady, would you consider moving this topic to The Pub? It does not seem to have anything to do with “Tran

    Sounds like a good idea.

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    Well said, Luv!

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    No knockout gas was used.

    Russians killed 147 people in the hostage seige and they
    have more technical means at their disposal than two Bulgarian pickpockets.
    And if you speak to any anaesthetists they’ll tell you that Gypsies
    delivering knockout gas just doesn’t happen.

    You may have been robbed while you slept but please there
    is not one single bit of proof, chemical analysis, blodd samples
    that show you were drugged, gassed, hypnotized, part of a CIA
    MKULTRA experiment or some other bogus shit!

    The Mad Gasser of Mattoon is in Italy.? Don’t think so!

    It’s all bogus crap for idiots who present easy chances for theives
    and sleep through robberies:

    http://www.eursoc.com/news/fullstory.php/aid/1885/It’s_A_Gas.html

    Quote:
    Earlier this year, EURSOC picked up on another report of tourists being gassed by thieves, this time in Italy, where Eastern European gangs are reportedly targetting trains. They are said to slip sleeping gas canisters into carriages to subdue passengers before robbing their victims.

    As we reported back then, sleeping gas robberies have been part of Mediterranean folklore for decades. On an Inter Rail trip from Paris to Nice in 1990, your correspondent spent a sleepless night on his couchette following a warning from a fellow traveller that thieves in Marseilles pumped gas into carriages; then the criminals were suspected to be French thugs. Now this high-level technology has fallen into the hands of Albanian and Romanian gangsters, despite military attempts to weaponise sleeping gases proving disastrous.

    Indeed, the story has spread to the other side of the world, with newspapers in the Philippines reporting on a gang which uses a mysterious spray to immobilise shoppers, who remain conscious while their valuables are stolen.

    As we wondered in our previous report, we can’t find any information on what sort of gas could be pumped into train carriages, mobile homes or villas in doses powerful enough to cause unconsiousness, never mind in spray form outdoors. This hasn’t prevented the development and sale of “narcotic alarm” devices for use by caravaners, particularly in Holland, which has a huge caravaning community.

    Indeed, previous uses of “knockout gas” by the military have had serious side effects. When Russian forces pumped gas into a Moscow theatre where terrorists had taken hundreds hostage, 117 hostages died from the effects. 650 more were still being treated for serious side effects, weeks after their release.

    Do date, there are no claims of any victims of Mediterranean gas crimes suffering any more than a mild hangover effect, never mind deaths following their gassing.

    Do Albanian and Romanian thieves have access to gas that Moscow’s security forces don’t have? Military authority Janes says that following the Moscow fiasco, secret programmes to develop a non-lethal incapacitating gas would be stepped up. Wikipedia reports that Sleeping Gas is an old standby of pulp detective fiction.

    Ether would knock sleeping victims out for the duration of a robbery, but this requires that the criminals break into their victims’ bedrooms. In most cases reported, the victims were in locked vehicles, villas or railway carriages.

    EURSOC has contacted several travel insurance agencies to request details of their policy for claims of crimes which follow “sleeping gas” attacks, but we have yet to receive a response. We’re awaiting replies from the Foreign Office too.

    EURSOC is not claiming that victims of robberies in Europe aren’t telling the truth, nor are we trying to diminish their experiences. We are merely questioning the media and Foreign Office’s readiness to leap onto claims without properly investigating the science behind them.

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    Well, IMHO from now on we shall regard gassing myth as finally busted once and for all.

    People who get robbed in their sleep are too embarrassed to admit it, and claim to be gassed as this makes them feel better.

    By the way, as Luv pointed out we have no reason to think that thieves were Italian. We don’t have a reason to think they were Bulgarian either, so let’s please stop this bigotry on the forum.

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    Quote:
    By the way, as Luv pointed out we have no reason to think that thieves were Italian. We don’t have a reason to think they were Bulgarian either, so let’s please stop this bigotry on the forum.

     
    Italians and thievery go together like cuzzin E & linebeards

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    We don’t know where the culprits are from.  But as Seva said, we can consider the gassing myth busted.  This doesn’t mean that theft won’t happen on a train.  You don’t need to gas someone to rob them when they’re sound asleep.  Many people, like me, are deep sleepers; I’ll sleep through a nuclear war.  And as has been pointed out both by jboy and by a Lonely Planet Tree poster gwovadis, giving someone anaesthesia without harming them, is a learned skill [requires years of medical training] and requires specialized equipment; you need a skilled person (an MD /span>medical doctor or a CRNA -an RN that gives anaesthesia), a large canister of gas, equipment to monitor the person’s breathing and heart rate, and a second skilled person (an RN or AA) who assists.  The theater incident in Russia is a good example of what happens when you don’t have these crucial resources.

    Given, of course, that this story is true.  Serge’s same exact posts word for word have been posted in travel forums all over the internet (sometimes with the same screenname).  It’s pretty obvious that Eurotrip was not the first forum where OP’s story was posted (nor was it Lonely Planet.)  The lack of spaces between existing paragraphs is evidence of a bad cutting and pasting job.  Combined with the fact that we have a husband-wife team sharing a screenname (there’s lots of married couples at Etrip and TOS, none share a screenname).  I’m now questioning whether Serge was even the original poster himself.  The story just doesn’t add up; as one Lonely Planet Tree poster pointed out, OP was robbed before the train made its first stop in Italy (which also crossed my mind), and the train OP took isn’t even run by Trenitalia.  The list of errors goes on.

    Some people out there, for whatever reason, have become incredibly bitter towards Italy, after having visited the country.  Maybe something was stolen from them, maybe someone ripped them off somewhere, or maybe someone was just “rude” to them, and they decided to either A.) start/spread rumors [if this story is untrue] to “get back” at Italy… or B.) [if the story is true] make assumptions, jump to conclusions and try to “get back” at Italy.

    My favorite part of OP’s original story is the bank lady who tells them they were gassed…was she there?  Obviously this woman has heard (and believes) the urban myth.  She then says that theft “happens everyday.”  Of course it does…it’s her JOB to deal with people who just got robbed; of course she’ll see it everyday. &nbspick any precinct in my hometown Chicago, and the cops working the front desk will tell you the same thing; theft happens every day…every hour

    We’re talking about a train that passed through 3 of Europe’s largest metropolitan areas: Paris (10 million), Milan (almost 4 million), and Venezia-Mestre-Padova (1.6 million), in two of the world’s most touristed countries (75 million annual visitors for France, 36 million for Italy.)  Venice alone receives 13 million annual visitors. Let’s say there’s a handful of thefts a day (let’s say 2000 per year).  That would only affect 0.015% percent of visitors to the city, assuming that the city’s visitors are spread evenly throughout the year (otherwise, the percentage would be even smaller).  Even if we quadrupled the estimated number of thefts, it would affect less than a tenth of a&nbspercent of visitors to the city.  Hardly a widespread problem, and hardly a “third-world shithole”.


    beach-lunch-siesta-beach-shower-dinner-nightlife-repeat

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    The million dollar question is……


    did the Gypsy Bulgarian robbers enter and leave the couchette with gas masks on or off ??

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    who carries more than 2000 bucks in cash on them? in a “fanny pack” no less

    this story reeks of 1 of these 2 things… bullshit or  a complete lack of common sense