After a visit to IKEA to buy a bed yesterday, I stopped by a bar downtown to watch the Olympics. I had a big zippered totebag with me, sans laptop but filled with my iphone, gameboy, electronic dictionary, wallet, and passport.
There weren't a lot of people sitting at the bar. I had my tote hanging off one of the arms of my barstool when two girls stepped up to the bar in the space next to me, on the side my bag was on. I'd just asked the waitress to close out my tab, and she brought me a credit slip to sign and returned my credit card. I reached for my bag, bringing it into my lap, and pulled out my wallet to put my credit card away. I was doing so many things at once that I only vaguely recognized that my bag was unzipped already, with a tangle of my headphone cords hanging out. I absentmindedly made a cursory inspection—everything expensive was still in there, and my wallet was in my hand. This all happened within the space of 30 seconds, so I didn't give it much thought.
The girls swung around from my left side to my right and sat in the two stools next to me. One of them put her bag on the counter. It was a fake Chanel in my favorite shade of pink. "That's a great bag," I told her.
"There ain't nothin' in it," she drawled, smiling. From the outer appearance it indeed looked like it was nearly empty, but what a weird thing to say! "I don't keep nothin' in it," she continued. Okaaay, I thought, in that way you do when someone says something that could potentially trap you in a boring conversation.
Having paid, I left and walked home, at which point it dawned on me: the first girl was the sakura: there to distract me while her friend reached into my bag. I checked my bag again: I was lucky that it was so deep—you'd have to be in up to your elbow to get anything of value, and I'm sure the headphones, newspaper, notebooks, and all the other crap toploaded into my bag didn't help them. Still, the case to my $450 electronic dictionary was completely unzipped, and I probably would have lost it if it hadn't been stuck to the inside of the case with adhesive tape.
The empty Chanel bag is interesting. I wouldn't be surprised if they immediately transferred what they pickpocketed into it: if the owner complains that they stole her ipod, they could easily say that it was theirs. It would be the owner's word against theirs, and they would be the ones with the goods in hand.
I'm glad I didn't lose anything but it's a little depressing. I know better than to leave my purse on a table while I refill my coffee, but pickpocketing? That's something that only happens in Europe, or if in America, only in the olden days.
Anyway, I'll be keeping an eye out for those two. I would love to catch them in the act!