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Old 01.09.2019, 21:29
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Robbed in Milano, Italy

Robbed in Milano, Italy
This happened this afternoon Sep 1, 2019 passing through Milan:

At around 3:30 Sunday afternoon, while driving through Milano (from Via Spezia onto Viale Cassala), person A pierced our tire while either while we were at a stoplight or stopped in traffic and punctured the right rear tire with a very thin spike. This caused a slow puncture leak. Then as we drove on, person B (probably the same as A) passed by in a car and notified us that our tire was flat (and shortly after we heard the noise of the wheel rim on the road as the tire became more and more deflated). I pulled our car over a couple of blocks down the road and found a place to park (in a parking spot on the side of the road). Both my wife and I both got out to see that we indeed had a flat right rear tire. I opened the back of the vehicle (Toyota minivan) and had to move luggage around to get to the spare. Almost immediately, as I began getting out the spare tire and jack, person C appeared and told us - “There is a garage nearby that will replace your tire", and pointed down the road from where we had just come. I told him I am very capable of changing a tire myself. He then repeatedly insisted that we go there to have it changed. As I jacked up the right rear end of the car, the person continued to tell us to go to the station. When our attention was attracted to person C, person D opened up the drivers door and snatched my wife’s bag (which was on the floor of the passenger's seat) which had in it her wallet and dissapeared with it. We did not know we lost her bag until we were ready to leave the scene. She lost her Swiss Permesso, Credit Cards, Bank Cards, Drivers licence, and cash.
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  #2  
Old 01.09.2019, 21:33
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Re: Robbed in Milano, Italy

Oh, wow, that is such an ugly experience! So sorry you had to go through that.
Thanks for taking the time to warn others of this nasty trick.
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Old 01.09.2019, 21:54
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Re: Robbed in Milano, Italy

Sorry you had to through that. It's been a common scam for years, I know when I traveled through Madrid a lot 20 years ago there were police warnings about gangs doing this stuff.

These days I always feel suspicious about people trying really hard to help in situations like this. Hope you get all the cards replaced and didn't lose too much cash.
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Old 01.09.2019, 22:20
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Re: Robbed in Milano, Italy

Happens a lot in Sweden these days on the highway between Gothenburg and Malmö. On average 10+ robberies per day...
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Old 01.09.2019, 22:56
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Re: Robbed in Milano, Italy

Thank you for writing this down, I occasionally have to drive down to Milan so I'll keep my eyes open next time.



I hope this didn't upset you too much, and you didn't loose too much cash.
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Old 02.09.2019, 08:37
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Re: Robbed in Milano, Italy

I thought being robbed in Milan was part of the whole experiance package.
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Old 02.09.2019, 10:21
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Re: Robbed in Milano, Italy

Same thing happened to me 5 years ago, but they didn’t get as far as robbing me because I scared them away... But I had a BMW at the time and no spare, so had to leave the car behind to get it transported the week after, while taking the train home. I’m not driving into Milan city anymore.
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Old 02.09.2019, 10:40
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Re: Robbed in Milano, Italy

Thanks for posting your experience. It gives us all a warning that these abhorent thieves are still out and about, waiting to find another random victim.

Just out of curiosity, were they Italian?
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Old 02.09.2019, 11:10
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Re: Robbed in Milano, Italy

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Same thing happened to me 5 years ago, but they didn’t get as far as robbing me because I scared them away... But I had a BMW at the time and no spare, so had to leave the car behind to get it transported the week after, while taking the train home. I’m not driving into Milan city anymore.
Two years ago before leaving a holiday house that we rented somewhere around Lucca we discovered we have a flat tire. Before leaving, when we handed in the keys etc we talked with the cleaning ladies and told them about it and their first thought was that someone made it on purpose. Frankly, I couldn't believe it because the house was pretty isolated with no easy access, but now that I think more of it...maybe they had a point..other than that, no incident has ever happened to us in Italy (not even in Milan, but we are usually cautious and aware of our surroundings, people that pass us by etc.) and we are travelling there pretty often - a few times a year with at least one lengthy stay, every year.
The only incidents I heard from two people so far -
- one friend left his rucksack in the car, in a big parking place in Milan (yeah, this place requires extra-caution I would say) and found his car open and the rucksack gone, so never ever do that btw. - unfortunately he had his cards, some money, etc. there
- my s-i-l was walking in the street somewhere in Sicily and someone just grabbed and pulled her golden necklace/chain and ran away. She didn't even have the time to react.
But other than that, nothing.

Last edited by greenmount; 02.09.2019 at 11:28.
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Old 02.09.2019, 11:35
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Re: Robbed in Milano, Italy

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Just out of curiosity, were they Italian?
Yes, they were!
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Old 02.09.2019, 12:02
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Re: Robbed in Milano, Italy

Yes, this is a known scam and one hard to protect yourself against. I advise as follows. Keep your doors locked at all times, even if you get out to change the tyre. If someone is with you let them control the locking of the doors so you can change the tyre without distraction.

If you can, buy yourself one of these canisters that not only inflates the tyre but injects a rubber like solution that will seal the hole. This way you can stop and be on your way again in less than 5 minutes. Also useful if you have 2 punctures and one or no spare.

You can also get European cover from the TCS
https://www.tcs.ch/fr/produits/depan...ection-voyage/

and the Italian equivalent will come out and change for you, though it can sometimes mean a lengthy wait.

Another scam, is you go shopping to big brand stores. Then decide to have a nice lunch or dinner. While you are in the restaurant and parked on the road, they have been following you and will smash the window or force the boot to grab whatever they can. In Milan it's best then to use guarded car parks many of which have boxes you can reserve where you can close the door and lock it with your own padlock.

This is all a nuisance I know as Milan is a lovely city and a great place to spend a day with shopping bargains, a visit to the Campari Bar and a great dinner for half the price of Switzerland. But take these precautions and you can have a wonderful time and get home with all your belongings!
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Old 03.09.2019, 08:56
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Re: Robbed in Milano, Italy

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I thought being robbed in Milan was part of the whole experiance package.
Full immersion.
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Old 03.09.2019, 11:23
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Re: Robbed in Milano, Italy

and you haven't made it to the South...

seriously: I apologize for the terrible experience we usually offer to tourists.
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Old 03.09.2019, 11:26
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Re: Robbed in Milano, Italy

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Keep your doors locked at all times, even if you get out to change the tyre.
Most modern cars give one the ability to lock the car doors independently of the car boot.

If the spare tyre is in the boot, this is one of those occasions when that ability ought to be utilised.
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Old 03.09.2019, 16:44
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Re: Robbed in Milano, Italy

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Most modern cars give one the ability to lock the car doors independently of the car boot.
Another problem IMO is our sense of "alertness" is dulled after living in relatively safe Switzerland for some time. Example, when I put groceries in the boot, I usually have all doors unlocked. In most other places, I would be an easy target.
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Old 03.09.2019, 16:54
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Re: Robbed in Milano, Italy

Oh dear, I’m very sorry to hear that. That is a terrible story. I don’t think I would’ve seen that coming either. It’s scary to think that this is a scam that they probably do multiple times a day so you can expect dozens of people per month to fall victim. Just terrible. I guess the only thing to do in such a situation is stay in the car and call for assistance, however, that is of course with 20/20 rear vision
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Old 03.09.2019, 21:00
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Re: Robbed in Milano, Italy

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Most modern cars give one the ability to lock the car doors independently of the car boot.

If the spare tyre is in the boot, this is one of those occasions when that ability ought to be utilised.
most modern cars don't have a spare
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Old 03.09.2019, 22:34
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Re: Robbed in Milano, Italy

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most modern cars don't have a spare
Ours didn't but we asked for one to be fitted.
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