Daylight Robbery

18 Apr

In every traveller’s tale there must be woe. Woe struck us at 3pm Saturday.

With the offspring flying out of Grenoble Saturday evening we chose to to take our time getting to the airport via the medieval city of Conflans and Grenoble centre where we stopped for a late lunch at Cafe de Paris.

We parked on a busy street, paid the parking meter, double checked that we’d locked the car and walked around the corner.

When we returned Cam went to open the door and I heard him exclaim, ‘This can’t be good!’

What an understatement.

Thieves had smashed the small window on the passenger street side of our rented Peugot people mover, opened the boot and removed every item of luggage except Tristan’s snowboard bag and Stu’s backpack. They’d obviously reached maximum carrying capacity or those would have gone too. We all had our wallets and valuables on us except Tristan’s passport which was stolen with his laptop bag. Stu’s laptop was gone too as it was in his daypack. This was a blow to him, especially as this was the second time it had happened. The last was a few days before we returned to Europe in January when his laptop was stolen out of his IT consultant’s car in the garage.

My first reaction was disbelief. I was stunned that they could brazenly break, enter and extract such a large amount of luggage in front of shops and pedestrians without anyone intervening. I spoke to everyone in the immediate area while Stuart was making the police report and no one saw anything…

According to the police this crime is very common (so common it’s not reported in the papers) and the Lyon Hertz rental chap was similarly resigned. He’d experienced it twice himself. It saddens me that people have to live with this as their daily reality.

Our first priority was to get the kids back to London. The solution to Tristan’s lack of passport was for Jenny to pick up Tristan’s Australian passport from their house and fly back to Lyon where Stuart and I had booked to stay overnight before flying to Palma. Tris had to spend the night with us. He has triple nationality as he was born in the US to British and Australian parents.

That plan worked well and we are eternally grateful to Jenny for losing a night’s sleep executing it.

The second prioroty was for me to contact all the relevant authorities to alert them that my personal records and bank book had been stolen (they were in a file in my carry on bag).

The lesser problem of Jenny, Cam and I being without a stitch of clothing except those we were wearing can be rectified in time with the insurance companies’ cooperation. It does rankle that everything I had selected so carefully for this 14 month journey is probably in a second hand store in Grenoble. I loved my new ski boots, the first I had owned. And what would they do with my flamenco shoes????

As with all challenges the mind is a useful organ when put to work finding ways to acommodate setbacks and I have let go of all the ‘stuff’ I had owned. Yes, even that gorgeous Swiss army knife we bought in Singapore Henny.

Talking to the young Hertz woman in the Grenoble airport office helped. Her home had been broken into a few days before. Amongst all the precious things they stole the most precious was her digital camera with irreplaceable photos of her new baby daughter.

Stuart and I stuck to our plan to travel to Mallorca and we had two happy nights with the Howells. David and Julie are Welsh friends from forty years ago who have lived most of each of the past five years on the island. They went out of their way to make us comfortable and fix our little problems, such as replacement iphone chargers and clean knickers.

Just goes to show, you can steal my stuff but you can’t steal my friends and family!

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9 Responses to “Daylight Robbery”

  1. Michelle Noble April 18, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    Stu and Sharon – I am gutted that this has happened to you. But amazed that you can write so lucidly and with humour about it. I’ll keep an eye out for your ski boots in Grenoble. Sadly we’ve all been victims of theft…but you’re absolutely right about family & friends 🙂 Michelle and Bryan xx

  2. Millie April 18, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    Oh Sharyn, that is horrible, I’m so sorry to hear! I hope you manage to get everything sorted.

    Millie xx

  3. Stacey Farraway April 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

    Oh Sharon that’s dreadful!! But you’re right, it’s just stuff that can be replaced and more importantly family and friends are all ok. My fam had a few of the same incidences in France last year… robberies from cars, houses and even from the back of a pram when they were no more than a metre away!!

    Take care,
    Stace xx

  4. Alyson April 18, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

    Hi Shazza – totally relate – we were broken in to last year (in broad daylight – through a tiny laundry window!!!) All my jewellery – Mum’s and Gramdma’s gone – including a gold rolex I was later to learn valued at $15K (not replaceable of course as I had not insured it adequately!). Hard lesson to take but does teach you a little more about the Buddhist skill of detachign. Love to you from me. x

  5. Yvonne Russell April 19, 2012 at 12:37 am #

    Bad ending to a great family get together. How could no-one have heard or seen anything?! But you seem to have moved on – into new clothes…. Do enjoy the rest of your trip and hopefully will see you in August! Yx

  6. Kate McNally April 19, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    Oh Sharon. I am so sorry to hear this. How super annoying and frustrating for you all! 😦

  7. henny April 19, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    made me mad…mad…mad…

  8. Simone Pope April 20, 2012 at 8:57 am #

    Noted to not visit that place!! It doesn’t get much bolder than that does it!! Wow. My heart goes out to you guys, that really sucks…especially when you all get hit, plus losing IT info is the worse. Only upside is you weren’t actually mugged and put in hospital for a passport and cash (which happened to someone I know). Well I hope you get to replace your lost things with some very nice things and have an expedient insurer!!! Sim xxx

  9. Sally April 21, 2012 at 10:55 am #

    This is rubbish; why? Thank god for insurance hey! I hope they pay out quickly for you. x

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