I took the tram home from the city the other day, a very crowded tram. At the first stop a guy stood quite close to me to let people past. But something about the way he was staring out the window, or perhaps that he didn’t move away again after the people had passed, made me a little nervous.
I looked down at my bag to see his hand deep in my bag. (A regular handbag that had been zipped up).
I called out “HEY” and grabbed his wrist.
Other people on the tram started shouting “zakkenroller“. (Pick Pocket!)
Within seconds two plain clothes had jumped on him, one dragged him off the tram, and the other one smiled at me and asked me to come with him. Um OK, sure.
Outside the tram the thief was handcuffed, but he was shouting that he’d done nothing. The police asked me if I’d “felt” him touching my bag or I’d seen something. I explained that I’d seen his hand deep in my bag. Officer then asked me to check carefully if he’d got anything. Luckily no – my wallet and phone were safely in the bag.
Turns out they’d been watching this guy for a while, and they were very happy that I could give a clear statement, and it was very clear what had happened.
The trams in the centre of the city are notorious for pickpockets, and there’s a programme of having Police on the trams. But please if you’re visiting Amsterdam, use the trams – just be alert.