New York Thieves Execute Brilliant Tactic to Rob Drunk Tourists: Asking Them to Hand Over Their Valuables

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So, you’re from out of town visiting the Big Apple for the first time (pro tip: only people from out of town call it the Big Apple). You’ve had a few Manhattans because well, you’re actually on Manhattan. A guy walks up to you—a real life New Yorker!—and you start chatting. You have a few more drinks and this guy just seems so cool. He tells you about another great bar downtown and invites you to join him. You’re tipsy, feeling good. Why not? Then he asks for your phone and wallet. You’re not sure why, but whatever, you’re drunk and this seems like a good idea because this real New Yorker is about to be your best friend.

Another pro tip: do not give this man your phone and wallet.

MORE: How Drunk are You? Don’t Ask the Bartender

Apparently some tourists on the Lower East Side are not following this advice. Naturally, they are all getting robbed.

According to DNA Info, between September 9 and September 24, at least four highly intoxicated men have had phones and credit cards stolen by a group of savvy thieves.

The caper is pretty simple: the thieves befriend their wasted target, invite them to another bar or back to the hotel for a drink, ask them for their personal effects (or in two cases just wait until the target passes out), then run off with the goods.

In one instance, as reported by the site: “At some point during the ride, the man asked for the victim’s cellphone and wallet, which he handed over willingly, police said. The victim later realized his four credit cards were missing and his cellphone was never given back, police said.”

Relying on statements from the blacked-out bar-goers may prove challenging for police. “The victims could only provide vague descriptions of the suspects,” the article says.

So a lesson for tourists: heed the stereotypes. New Yorkers aren’t that friendly. Hang on to your stuff, at least the first night.