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  1. #1
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    Argghh! Wallet stolen!

    Some of you will find this ironic - I had posted about a month ago asking about man bags - and PacSafe come up. I never did follow through...

    Well, I was in Montreal for a conference, and had dinner with my wife and some new friends. Sometime between the four of us being at the restaurant and then wandering down Ste Catherine in Montreal, a thief picked my Large Cafe Bag. He (she?) managed to unzip the side pocket, get my wallet, and zip it back up. I had the buckle done up, and even had a jacket draped through it, so it would not have been the easiest thing to open without me noticing it. The four of us were in a group, and I don't remember being jostled or bumped or distracted. I probably had my guard down at some point and the thieves took advantage of it.

    Any tips on protecting my ID? I've already cancelled my credit/bank cards.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Thumbs up

    Follow this advice.

    I have an application on my PDAPhone called EWallet that contains all my ID cards. I also have the PC version. Thus, I have a list of all ID's. Of course, the wallet is password protected by strong encryption.
    I've had this app since my first PDA - Handspring Visor. Nice thing about the program was they had a version for Palm and PocketPC. Thus, no reentry of my cards was needed. Port over was automatic.
    They also have an iphone version.
    Been there. Done that. Can't remember.

  3. #3
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    hi ozone,

    i'm really sorry to hear that.

    have you checked to see if the wallet was by chance left at the restaurant?

    when you say protect your id, i am guessing that you are referring to an identification card (as opposed to the id messenger bag) - please let me know if i am mistaken. if your id is a driver's license number, you should notify your local motor vehicle division and ask for a replacement.

    it would be a good idea to keep a watch on your credit report to watch for any unusual activity. the thief has your identifying information and could potentially use that to seek credit in your name. companies like equifax offer credit watch services online in the u.s. find out if they provide such a service in canada.

    good luck - i hope this doesn't cause you any more difficulty than it already has.

  4. #4
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    I would find it surprising that a thief would choose to zip the pocket back up if he or she stole your wallet when you were wearing the bag - that sounds like something more likely to happen in the restaurant with the bag hanging on a chair or sitting on the floor, etc. This is the first we've heard of something like this actually happening with the Cafe bag. Good luck.
    Current Carry: Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

  5. #5
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    I have to state the obvious... did you take your wallet out of the bag and forget to put it back? I keep a copy of the front and back of everything I keep in my wallet (insurance, drivers license, credit cards, atm), and this copy stays at home in a hidden place. Then if they get stolen or lost, I still have all the 800 numbers and card numbers to report to the bank, authorities, etc, plus an exact copy of what they actually look like.

    I also always keep my wallet and keys in my front pockets at all times unless they are being used. I know this is more difficult for women who wear dresses and keys and phone get bulky in shorts pockets but I know I'll have them unless someone holds me up. It is really difficult for thieves to pickpocket front pockets without a hassle. And sometimes, that makes all the difference.

  6. #6
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    To avoid such problems, I use a TB Clear Wallet and lanyard attach to the inter o ring on my large cafe bag zip up outter pocket. Also, I carry another wallet with a few dollars and grocery cards / business cards to use as my primary wallet.
    Tom Welch > Mesa, Arizona, USA
    Author of 101 Financial Ratios 5.0
    Travel Lite & Smart

  7. #7
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Welcome back, PM4HIRE!
    Current Carry: Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

  8. #8
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    Lightbulb

    i don't know if something like this already exists, but it would be very cool to have an alarm system that operates on the basis of proximity for use with sensitive items, such as wallet, keys, your significant other.

    let me explain what i have in mind...

    let's take our wallet as the first example. the alarm system has two components.

    the first has a small footprint, like a credit card, perhaps a little smaller and thicker. it goes into your tom bihn wallet.

    the second is like a key fob. it can attach to your keyring or an o-ring in your tom bihn bag.

    each component has a battery inside. the component beeps periodically to indicate low battery (say every 5 minutes).

    if the two are within a certain proximity of each other (let's say 5'), the alarm system is happy and makes no noise.

    if the two are more than 5' apart, the two start emitting short beeps with a pause between successive beeps. so at this point, the components are still able to communicate with each other.

    as the two grow further apart, the beeps get longer, louder, and repeat with a shorter pause between each beep.

    at a point where the two devices stop communicating with each other (say 10'), the beeping on each device becomes continuous.

    the beeping may be silenced on each device by either bringing the two components within communicating distance or by enter a code on a keypad located on each device.

    one device may be linked to one or more devices (or "paired"). so you might put one on your keyring, one in your wallet, one in your pocket, one in the pocket of your significant other.

    this will not only solve problems of sensitive items being stolen, but also of items being lost of forgotten. if you are out in crowded places, this makes sure that you don't lose the person you're with (or if you do, you easily find each other).

    what do you think?

    does this exist?

    if not, can we bring this to market?

    if it came to market, would you buy it?

    thanks!
    Last edited by maverick; 07-22-2009 at 02:35 PM.
    -m

  9. #9
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    The wallet chain comes to mind as a cheap alternative, but it doesn't look as nice.

    As far as the electronic version goes, I would want it set to 2-3 feet. If the fob is in my pocket, the bag or wallet should never get more than that from me, unless it's in a bag and I need to go to the restroom. 2-3 feet is plenty for something in my hands at arms length from the fob in my pocket or the fob in a bag on my shoulder/floor.

  10. #10
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    hi thorn,

    Quote Originally Posted by thorn View Post
    The wallet chain comes to mind as a cheap alternative, but it doesn't look as nice.
    in a way, we have that with the tom bihn clear organizer wallet, which attaches to an o-ring or key strap.

    Quote Originally Posted by thorn View Post
    As far as the electronic version goes, I would want it set to 2-3 feet. If the fob is in my pocket, the bag or wallet should never get more than that from me, unless it's in a bag and I need to go to the restroom. 2-3 feet is plenty for something in my hands at arms length from the fob in my pocket or the fob in a bag on my shoulder/floor.
    yes, i think 2 or 3 feet makes sense.

  11. #11
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    Thanks...

    ... for the sympathy. Yes, I'm kicking myself for not putting my wallet in my front pocket. I usually do, but this time, I just didn't. I was probably being a little too complacent - after all, I'm in my own country, and I've been to Montreal many times and have never felt threatened.

    To be honest, I'm not entirely sure when the wallet was stolen. It could have been at the restaurant when it was draped on my chair. However, it was between me and my friends and more at the side of my chair, and there was no one sitting behind us. One theory is that someone at the restaurant saw me put my wallet back into my Cafe Bag, and then followed us out later. Another possibility (perhaps combined with the one above) is that our group stopped to buy ice cream about 30 minutes later at a streetside vendor. We could have been distracted given that we were all looking up at the menu of choices. Another possibility is that while walking, someone might have come up behind me at the traffic lights. Rue St. Catherine in Montreal is very urban, slightly seedy, and always crowded. However, neither my friends or I can recall anybody jostling us to distract us, so I'm think the bunching that occurs at crosswalks might be the most opportune time for a pick pocket.

    I originally also thought I might have left my wallet at the restaurant and someone picked it up. However, I know it was stolen because my business cards - which were also in a wallet type case - were taken. I doubt I dropped both items by accident.

    Well, a tough lesson learned. Some of the suggestions people have written have occurred to me - too bad I didn't act on them right away.

  12. #12
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    As far as the "wallet chain," Pacsafe makes two version: a tri-fold and a bi-fold. I bought a tri-fold to take when I travel. However, after trying it out at home, I decided to continue using it daily.

    Yes, I sometimes get a strange look, but I doubt any pickpocket it going to get a hold of it.

    What I also like about it is that the section that would hold paper money zips close, and when the entire wallet is closed, one side has another zipped pocket for coins.

  13. #13
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    i had something similar to the electronic solution maverick suggests many years ago. it sort of worked but i suspect that it is one of those items that sounds good on paper but doesn't function well in practice. the unit i had exhibited a short delay of a second or two and had no proximity setting. the beeping was annoying enough during normal usage that i didn't want to carry it around. in this case, i think a low tech solution is best.

    the zipper on the medium cafe that i bought is fairly stiff and noisy. i'd be surprised if someone was able to open the buckle, unzip, remove a wallet and rezip without notice.

    sorry to hear about your loss.

    what if you were to buy a small cafe bag for your wallet and put it in the large cafe bag?

  14. #14
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    I've actually thought about securing (using a little lock) a smaller bag inside the large Cafe bag. I'm actually trying it out right now, given that I'm back home. Replacing all my ID cards/bank card was actually pretty straightforward. Almost TOO straightforward. No wonder why identity theft is such a concern. A bit of forgery and someone with some decent acting skills could probably pull off a scam or two...

  15. #15
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    On a different thread, one person mentioned getting the TB Side Effect and putting it inside the Cafe Bag. The Side Effect could be clipped to the Cafe Bag as well using a key strap.

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