On Guard: Tales of Pickpockets and Thievery in Cannes

cary_grant_tcat300.jpgThe Cannes Film Festival is an extremely glamorous place to be. So glamorous that thieves and pickpockets abound, and some of the stories I've heard in the past few days -- first-hand from the victims themselves no less -- are enough to make this Cannes first-timer want to call up Amazon and express-order one of those hideous Rick Steves money belts that grannies wear on holiday.

At dinner the other evening, one veteran journalist who's been attending the festival for nearly 40 years recounted the time a thief slipped into her hotel room -- while she was in it, sleeping -- and made off with the important contents of her purse, scattering the leftovers all over the balcony. Another critic had his laptop stolen -- from his room in a decent hotel -- again, while he slept. Yet another critic, rushing to greet a friend, realized later that the important contents of her bag, including her passport, had been expertly lifted. Other tales of past horrors include throngs of adorable children who form a human tornado of commotion around their mark, helping themselves to whatever they can lay hands on.

Obviously, any traveler who might be carrying credit cards or lots of cash is an easy target. But you have to hand it to the thieves of Cannes: Not every bandit would have the nerve to sneak into a sleeping woman's hotel room. Still, this behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated -- unless we're talking about Cary Grant in a black turtleneck.


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