This is a short version. A longer version will come at a later date, hopefully.
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5/26/07, 10:30 a.m. - Stolen items
Well, we were victims of a crime while in Paris. All of the gifts that we purchased for you were stolen. Actually, we still have the gifts, for now. My wallet was stolen. (Believe it or not, it was Mandy’s idea to mention the gift thing.) The wallet had our money, credit cards and passports.
We were on our way back from the Eiffel Tower and headed to the metro station. We had just passed through the gate when three males in their late teens approached us with maps. They were asking questions about how to get to a certain location. We helped them for a few minutes, then they suddenly ran toward the train.
We went on to our hotel. The next morning, we were preparing to spend our last day away in Paris. It was then that I realized that the wallet was gone. We looked all around and eventually thought back and put the pieces together. I feel foolish and violated.
Now we are trying to get back home, which we cannot do without passports. We have cancelled the credit cards and are trying to find out about the passports. The U.S. consulate said that the earliest we can get out would be Tuesday.
A small light in all of this is that we recently received new Discover Cards. I had misplaced mine and we decided to cancel them. I found mine about two days after Mandy cancelled them. When Mandy called to activate the Discover Card she mentioned our trip to Europe. The person talked Mandy into some kind of plan that would help cancel our cards in case they were stolen. They would also wire money in case we were victims of just such a crime. We are now going to Western Union and then a series of other locations to return home.
11:25 p.m. - Stolen items update
We have had quite a day. If I get the energy, it would make quite a story. For now, here is a short version.
Mandy spent between 20 and 30 minutes on the phone with people here and in the U.S. The calls to the U.S. were 4 Euros per minute and the local calls were .4 Euros per minute. The phone bill should be sweet.
We first decided to locate Western Union to obtain the cash that the Discover Card was sending. We wondered whether this was an insurance policy that meant it was a payment or whether it was a service they provided but the charge for the money would appear on our Discover Card. Since we cancelled the card, we wondered if they would be unable to charge to it.
We were unable to find an open Western Union at the airport. So, we decided to fill out the police report. The amount of time necessary for us to find the police station was quite amazing. In the end, we needed a personal escort. After 2.5 hours, we finished with the police. The U.S. Consulate provided addresses to two Western Unions on the same street in Paris after we informed them that the two at the airport were closed. Both of the Paris Western Unions were supposed to be open until 6:00 p.m., but it was now after 4:00. It took us one hour just to get to the street via the train and metro system. We were unsure what station to exit the metro so we took a guess. We began walking in the direction necessary to get to one of the Western Unions. After about 10 minutes or so, we walked passed another metro station. Finally, we came to the address only to find an abandoned office. A few doors down, we saw a post office. Western Union was supposed to be in the post office at the airport, which was closed. This post office was open so we tried it out. O.K. I am getting too involved. It turns out that neither Western Union would give us money without a passport. We would need to find a “real” Western Union to get any money.
We finally found a Western Union and received our money after some urging. The gentleman had a limit on how much he could provide without seeing a passport. Mandy’s licenses, the police report and the photocopy of the passport were enough and we received our money. It was now 6:15 p.m.
We had only some rabbit food for breakfast and both of us were hungry. Having some sense of relief with some cash in hand, we went to a nice restaurant across from the Louvre.
After a time, we went back to the airport to discus our options with Delta. By the time we got there, however, all of the Delta counters were closed. We will have to try that tomorrow.
So, this was the short version. There are some amazing details that I would like to add at a later time. We hope to get home some time before the summer solstice.
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