scams #1 – gypsy babies

e42acbe96045bd23400f6a70670040c1

look, I got nothin’ against the Roma.

in fact, not too long ago, I even wrote an article about their plight here in the US for National Geographic.

and would love to, someday, spend time with them.

[for a decent read, try ‘Bury Me Standing‘.]

allll that being said – they do like to steal. and I have had a few run ins.

usually they’re just kids, but back in 2000, whilst in Poland, I witnessed the greatest pickpocket-ing maneuver I’ve ever seen.

group of Roma women walk up, some holding babies. one Roma sees her mark and walks up and basically throws her child into the unsuspecting arms of the tourist. with arms holding the baby, the kids quickly go behind him/her and take their wallet/camera. and then, out of instinct, the mark gives the baby back quickly and takes off towards the kids.

best scam ever? you bet. it preys on good human nature:

no one would not secure a child being handed to them.

no one would take off running with a baby in their arms.

no one would hold a baby hostage until his/her things were brought back.

so… long story short – when in Poland, or when around gypsies holding children, either run away, prepare to be thieved, or have a very, very tough skin and let the child fall.

up to you.