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Issue #005, April 2, 2014 – B is for Bambi Vincent, Thiefhunter
April 02, 2014
Dear VIP (Very Important Adventuress)

B is for Bambi Vincent, Thiefhunter

Note: Today is the second day of the April A to Z Blog Challenge, which I have entered. The challenge is to take a letter of the alphabet and write about a word that begins with that letter. So, just for the month of April, Monday through Saturday, you’ll get my special A to Z 5-minute travel-themed blog post.

Bambi Vincent, author of Travel Advisory! How to Avoid Thefts, Cons, and Street Scams While Traveling, says, ““Pickpockets and theft are the travel industry’s dirty little secret.”

Through more than eighty countries on six continents, Bambi has traveled with husband, Bob Arno, as “thiefhunters” who pick out and capture on photograph and video the actions of scammers, pickpockets, and con artists.

In her book she exposes the unsavory characters who live off your cash and credit cards, describing how she and Bob find, follow, and film street thieves with hidden cameras, then interview them.

“I’m constantly astonished at how many thieves talk to us,” she says. “Bob will steal something from a thief, then return it. His talent instantly establishes rapport and, more often than not, they’ll talk to us.”

One handsome Italian thief even offered the couple a thousand dollars a day each if they’d partner with him.

Bambi says that rogues range from babies to the elderly, and except for their behavior and possible telltale “prop,” they’re almost impossible to pick out of a crowd.

She says when they’re onto their quarry the tension and excitement are sky-high.

“When we get good footage that shows a thief’s technique, or a great interview in which secrets are revealed, the rush will last us a week.”

Bambi believes that when it comes to catching thieves in the act, she and her husband have an advantage over law enforcement officers.

“We don’t fit any (police) profile points except for observant eyes, which sunglasses cover. Plus we’re a couple, we hold hands.”

Bambi recommends that your travel planning include a thorough research of your destination, checking on crime and security issues, too.

“Knowing what commonly happens and where gives you the edge,” she maintains. “The goal is to be mentally prepared and to understand the local risks.”

She adds that “Too many travelers forget their good judgment when they pack their pajamas. High on excitement, relaxed after a beer or an unaccustomed lunchtime glass of wine, disoriented with jet lag, going with the flow—too many fall victim to the dreaded Tourist Suspension of Common Sense.”

She calls it, “Holiday Headspace.”

She maintains that reductions in personal crimes can happen through smarter stashing and raised awareness.

One thief she knows advises, “The best thing that women can do is put their purses in front of them, not on their backs or behind their arm.”

“Personal security is an art, not a science,” Bambi adds. “Once you know the risk, you can adjust your awareness and the level of your security precautions. Thus prepared, you’ll turn your travel concerns into travel confidence.”

You can read more about Bambi’s adventures, stories and advice at this page.

Tomorrow’s AtoZ Challenge: For the letter C, I’ve chosen my new home, Cuenca, Ecuador.

--Carolyn V. Hamilton, Editor and Chief Adventuress

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