pickpockets) wait at the
Metro’s Stalingrad station.
rav WITH THE CHRONICLE
B18 Lexington County Chronicle & The Dispatch-News Thursday, August 20, 2009
Pickpocket heaven in Paris
MacLeod and Jerry Bellune traveled to France someone bump against him.
in September 2002 for MacLeod’s high school He immediately stepped
reunion in Verdun. back from the train and onto
the foot of a sulky-looking
PARIS, France teenager with long, dark hair.
What if pickpockets and other crimi- The young man reeled back-
nals preyed on tourists in Charleston? ward.
How long to do think Mayor Joe Riley Jerry then stepped onto the train and
and Charleston’s finest would let that stood against the door on the other side
continue? Are you kidding. Criminals of the train car, watching the young man.
could kill Charleston’s tourist business. No uniformed police were around.
You would see cops in blue every- He climbed onto the train but would
where. not make eye contact with Jerry.
Not in Paris. There’s little security in Jerry checked his wallet in his back
the Paris Metro. We saw exactly two cops pocket. With relief he found his wallet
in the Metro in the time we were in Paris still there but the young pickpocket had
and that was less than the pickpockets managed to unbutton his pant’s pocket in
we encountered. that split second encounter.
If you ride subways in any American Then we both spotted the Fagin of the
city, you will see police on the platforms Metro, the pickpockets master, a heavy-
and, at night, a few uniformed officers in A Metro train crosses the Seine at the set man seated at the end of the car,
the cars. Pont de Bir Hakeim bridge. The Paris Metro’s Bastille station, like watching his young charges move
As a journalist, Jerry has accompanied most of the stations we saw, are mod- through the car, relieving other people of
plainclothes officers on subways at night ern and spacious, all the better for the their valuables.
to write about crime underground. more impact on tourism than pickpock- pickpockets to ply their trade. Like Fagin, Charles Dickens’ unscrupu-
In Paris, we rode the underground ets It has clobbered the revenue at Paris lous villain in “Öliver Twist”, this charac-
trains days and nights because they are two airports. raising his hands defensively in front of ter seemed to have found a way to profit
the fastest and least expensive way to get Passenger traffic is down 8.1%. him. by turning children into criminals.
around. If the French continue to let the pick- “Non, non,” he said, turned and ran. Where were the cops? With Gallic prac-
Why the city’s gendarmes don’t have a pockets work unobstructed, as they were ticality, perhaps Fagin gave them a cut.
field day down there is a large question. doing in 2002, those numbers could drop Fagin oF thE mEtro But who were we, materialistic Ameri-
They could literally run the pickpock- even more. cans who pride ourselves on living pros-
ets out of the Metro if they wanted to. This was the one real downside of our The next day we were waiting at the perous lives, to condemn a poor man
visit. We have told our friends to be sure station for a train. A gang of teenagers, who has found his own lucrative business
Economy, not pickpockEts and wear money belts inside their cloth- some as young as 13 or 14, were horsing niche?
ing. around on the platform.
Pickpockets don’t seem to have blunted We were riding the escalator up from Our train stopped and Next: Criminals invade our
Paris’s tourist business. It’s still the most the Metro station near our hotel. We the doors slid open. As hotel.
popular tourist destination in the world. were near the top when MacLeod felt a Jerry stepped onto
More than 16 million tourists visit ev- tug on her purse. A man standing right the train, he felt
ery year and spend more than $13 bil- behind her was trying to pull her purse
lion a year in hotels and restaurants from under her arm.
alone. She whirled on him and began to be-
The shaky world economy has had rate him in a loud voice. He backed off,
By offering more affordable dining options.
Country Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes w/ Gravy & Mixed Veggies
Grilled Cajun Bay Shrimp, w/ Green Beans and Mashed Potatoes
Pork Chops, w/ Mashed Potatoes and Gravy & Mixed Veggies
Grilled Mahi Mahi, w/ Mashed Potatoes & Mixed Veggies
Jamaican Top Sirloin Steak, w/ Potatoes & Corn
Chicken Alfredo, w/ Garlic Bread
Or try our Three Course Meals
Enjoy soup de jour or salad, your choice of petite key lime pie slice or
assorted dessert squares served with your choice of these entrees:
Tomato Pie, w/ choice of side
Grilled Tilapia, w/ steamed vegetables
Bay Shrimp & Tasso Cream Sauce, over pasta
Lexington Crab Shack • In Lexington’s Old Mill
711 E. Main St. • Lexington