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Theft

#1
Whilst staying at private Albergue O Durminento on the night of 03 May 08, the next morning I found my battery electric shaver missing, despite an extensive search. I had used it the previous evening. It was reported in the Albergue 'day book' where they insisted I give the value and my full address; if found it would be sent to me or I would be refunded. It was the Albergue who insisted I gave this info! I immediately reported the matter to the Policia Local at the Sarria Ayuntamiento who made out an incident report, which I have subsequently em to O Durminento.
It is disappointing that the Albergue have not done what they said they would do. I have offered to send the original of the Police report.
Needless to say, I watched my property like a hawk after this incident.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#2
This just in from Thomas, a Dutch hospitalero/pilgrim/traveler just coming off the Camino del Norte and Compostela area: Theft is big this year, with so many tourist-pilgrims, drifters, and just dishonest people around, mixing in with the throngs. Watch out for a few things:

People in groups... young people, or younger men in groups, (sad to say mostly Spanish) who sit and quietly watch activity in a loose group. They usually arrive early at the albergues, and leave early. If you have left your phone plugged-in to charge overnight, or you´ve left laundry on the line outside? It may not be there when you wake up.

If you put your mobile on charge, do not leave it unattended. Mobile phones are a favorite target. If you bring along electronic devices do NOT leave them in the albergue when you go out, not even deeply buried in your pack. Take them with you. (Or don´t bring such things along on the camino.) Try not to present a good target: If you were a thief, where would you look for valuables? Who would you choose to hit?

If you hope to travel the next day with food, do not leave it in the shared refrigerator overnight. The people leaving earlier will often assume it´s been "left for the next guy," and help themselves. If you want to eat perishable food, do it in the evening or get up before everyone else and eat it. Don´t carry perishables with you. They might perish.

Thomas has lots of opinions about these things (you should´ve heard the snort he made when I mentioned a missing electric shaver!), and I´m sorry if these appear to be "no-brainer" suggestions. But you can´t be too careful. ... And if you are paying next to nothing for night´s lodging, don´t expect the innkeeper to pursue legal claims for you. There´s just too much else going on in his world to bird-dog your minor claim through the byzantine Spanish legal system.

Travel safe. And if you lose something, maybe it is an opportunity to learn how much you can do without?

rebekah (who´s lost an awful lot out there)
 
#3
Have things changed so much since I did the Camino Frances in 2005 and the Via de la Plata in 2007? The above post was not my experience at all. I felt i could trust my fellow pilgrims, and did so. But, I did keep my most valuable possessions with me at almost all times in a 'fanny' pack. Occasionally I would forget and leave even the 'fanny' pack on the bed when I went off to shower but it was always there when I returned. I am hoping that the above post is just an aberration of a particular place and a particular time and is not representative of the entire Camino. That is my wish!!
 

oursonpolaire

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
#4
In 2007, I did notice some among the pilgrims whose eyes darted about, checking out packs and equipment rather than their fellow pilgrims. They were rarely seen more than 2 days' away from a major centre and rarely seemed to have done much hiking. With increasing numbers, it is likely that there will be an increase in those whose motives are less than pure, and without becoming paranoid, it might be useful to keep Dutch Thomas' advice in the back of one's mind.

Cellphones and digital cameras are easily secreted by wrongdoers, and easily sold. There is also a roaring trade in Canadian and US passports-- to the point that the Canadian Embassy in Madrid has a staff member who is almost full-time dealing with Canadians whose passports have been stolen or lost. As far as electric shavers are concerned, the male pilgrim should embrace the opportunity to grow a beard and identifully more fully with the lot of the pilgrim over the centuries.

My own experience is more like that of John Hussey, but it can't hurt to keep temptation out of the way.
 
#5
Alas, I fear these very simple and sensible precautions are necessary. On the VdlP there may be 6 or 8 people in an albergue but as you know John on the Camino Frances there can be 30...40...50... and at the height of the season hundreds walking each day. I think we have all probably had experiences of people about whom we have been suspicious and also those pilgrims who appear in an albergue one evening and then you don't see them again - this is not making judgements simply agreeing with Rebekah that sensible precautions are always necessary.
 

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falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#6
A scam popular in South America, but known to occur through the world, is known as the "Mustard Scam."

From TripAdvisor: The scam is this; someone squirts mustard or some awful goop on you and then points it out to you and offers to help clean it off. Normally two people are involved in the scam. Sometimes they clean you right on the spot but most often they will try to take you to a bathroom where they clean you up and clean you out of your money. Most times they get the wallet out, the money out and/or credit cards and the wallet back into your purse or pocket before you even notice it is gone. And geez...they seemed like such nice people! Heads up! Never accept help for getting cleaned up.

If Camino crime is on the rise, expect the Mustard Scam to show up!
 

Alan Pearce

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones 2008, del Norte 2009, VdlP 2011, Ingles 2014, Camino de Madri 2015, Frances 2017
#7
The only experience I heard of theft on the camino this year occurred at the old monastory in Leon on the night of April 28th. A friend of mine was walking part of the camino only to support a relative who was determined to spend a week on the road to Santiago. He had blisters, and did not really want to be there. His estimation of the camino slipped even further when he had several hundred euro stolen from under his pillow while he slept.
Alan
 

viajero

Active Member
#8
I walked the Camino Frances in March and had no problems myself but...I left the Camino for two days to visit friends in Vallodolid. When I was away, a young woman that I had met on the Camino had her camera stolen. It was from one of the Albergues between Fromista and Mansilla--I don't remember exactly. She believed she knew who had stolen the camera but had no proof. It was just as in the stories mentioned above. A guy who had not been on the camino long (nobody recognized him nor had anyone else met him) surfaced for a couple of days and a few things went missing including my friend's camera. She kicked herself about it as said that she had been careless but had become so accostomed to trusting everyone. This was in March and there had been few pilgrims. Naturally during Semana Santa, a lot more pilgrims appeared and this was one of them. A couple of days later we met a Swiss gentleman who had left his bag unattended briefly and had cash stolen. He too regretted being careless. I always kept my "valuables" which I guess were limited to money, passport, credit card, bank card and camera with me at all times which I guess everyone should do although we wish we didn't have to.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 will be Camino #14.
#9
A scam popular in South America, but known to occur through the world, is known as the "Mustard Scam."

From TripAdvisor: The scam is this; someone squirts mustard or some awful goop on you and then points it out to you and offers to help clean it off. Normally two people are involved in the scam. Sometimes they clean you right on the spot but most often they will try to take you to a bathroom where they clean you up and clean you out of your money. Most times they get the wallet out, the money out and/or credit cards and the wallet back into your purse or pocket before you even notice it is gone. And geez...they seemed like such nice people! Heads up! Never accept help for getting cleaned up.

If Camino crime is on the rise, expect the Mustard Scam to show up!
Haha! I just saw this.
We had this happen to us two years ago in Barcelona except the guy used a tube of women's makeup. The most annoying thing was that it was scented and the perfume gave me a blazing headache from hell!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Oct 2014 will be my first with my son at my side
#10
This is very sad.

You plan to go and walk the Camino, to give yourself an opportunity to disconnect from all the issues of our daily life, to better know ourselves and maybe to find answers for questions that you might not even know they are there. And the real world comes after you to remind you that reality is just few steps away ...

I am doing my Camino with my son in Oct 2014. I will surely take these recommendations seriously, not because I will carry anything really valuable, but just to be sure that I can go through those 30+ days without having to be so much worried.

I hope that Spanish open its eyes for what is happening and take quick action. Besides all the spiritual side of the Camino, with 300k+ Pilgrims per year (or more), this must be worthy of their attention. If this become a real issue, a common issue, people will start thinking twice before doing it, Spain and the 196 villages/cities through the Camino will suffer ... Or, we will need to have the Templar Knights again there to protect the Pilgrims.

For all that are about to go, Buen Camino, and might God protect and bless you!!!!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#11
See also the thread "Caution in Azofra".

Police need to be involved. These are professional thefts. Please take lots of photos of your fellow travellers! The innocent won't mind and it may be helpful to identify thieves.b
 

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