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Stolen boots.

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In April of this year I stopped for the night in the refugio at Villafranca.In the morning I came across an elderly man in a very distraught state.Some creep had stolen his boots.To make matters worse the gentleman admitted to not having spare cash to buy new boots.He was determined to continue the camino somehow.He would not accept the idea of people having a collection for him.
I left before the police arrived so I don't know what happened.Somebody did tell me that the staff in the refugio were trying to arrange some footwear for him.
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When I was hospitalero in Najera (95ish beds, Aug '07) we had two pairs of boots stolen in two weeks. Both times, the thief left their old boots on the rack.

In the first incident, the stolen boots were a new pair of the worn-out-and-ditched boots (same brand, same model, same size, same color). After half an hour of hysterical crying, the woman tried on the old boots, found the fit semi-agreeable, and continued on with the old pair.

In the second incident, the stolen boots were distinctive (yellow laces, I think) and the deserted boots were garbage. We called ahead to the next most-likely albergues to give a heads up to the hospitaleros. The guy marched on with the bad boots, and reportedly spotted the thief wearing the stolen boots in Santo Domingo, called him out in the bunkroom, and got the boots back.
Last September, I met a man who had his boots taken in Villafranca Montes de Oca. The boots that were left behind were trash, so he had to walk to Atapuerca & the next day to Burgos in his sandals. After that incident, I never left my boots in a rack like that. If they wanted me to take off my boots to go inside, I did, but I always went back later to collect them & put them under my bed.


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I was perplexed on my first camino,the VDLP< why some people put their boots outside. It seems very common on the CF but I never liked the practice for the very reasons mentioned here-pilfering. What other piece of equipment would you leave out of sight-or even out side? I always had mine with me-mainly because they were the only footwear I had (except for flip flops in the shower) but also because I thought it was an unwise practice to leave THE most vital piece of equipment out of sight
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Rebekah Scott

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Many, various, and continuing.
There are plenty of other things going missing from albergues. I am currently hospitalero-ing in Ponferrada, where we had 192!! pilgrims sleeping two nights ago.

The silverware drawers in the pilgrim kitchen are almost empty. There are only two wooden spoons left. Bottle openers, cork-pulls, dishrags... all of them are gone, stolen. And every month or so the albergue here sends a vehicle up to Villafranca to retrieve all the nice woollen blankets pilgrims carry off with them, and then realize how heavy they are and abandon in Villafranca.


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