Second Narrowly Averted Robbery Attempt in Santiago
We were on our way back from a lovely trip to Valparaíso. We got off the bus at Universidad de Santiago at about 7:30pm. I had a full backpack on my back plus Marivic’s weekend bag on my front.
Three big young Chilean dudes sandwiched me on the way in the metro. My spidey senses began tingling, but I kind of shrugged it off since it was so crowded and I was carrying so much shit.
Then I felt something at the top of my pocket. I reached down and caught perp 1 outside of my pocket, but unmistakably too close and definitely with no good reason to be there.
Immediately I called him out and squared off in front of him. He got epically defensive, at which point I called him a f*cking thief, and kept my eyes on the bigger and badder perps 2 and 3 right beside me. Marivic Guevara stepped in and told the guy to “tranquilo” (boo’s got my back!). Perp 1 went for the Oscar performance, acting like I was the one offending him. Then he got off at the next stop. What a coincidence he only had to go one stop…
Perps 2 and 3 waited till the train was going and then pushed by me again. Too close for my liking, but a lot less aggressively, and headed further into the train.
I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing, or if I’m treated differently as an outsider, but I’ve had my bag lifted in front of locals, and now an attempted pick pocket, and not a single person has ever offered help or asked if I was ok. On the subway in NY, the biggest, baddest dude in the car might get my back and chase the offenders off. Or a few teenagers might help me hold the guys up for a chance to get the cops. Point is, some stranger would almost always have my back. Not here. You’re on your own.
Perp 1 was going for my iPhone. I caught him and stopped the thieves, but I didn’t stop them from trying on the rest of the train. With some backup, I think I could have.
Sure enough, at the next stop, I see a good guy from further down the train chase a tall lanky dude down on the way out of the station. He motions to check the guys pockets. He was definitely just robbed, but the skinny kid isn’t the perp. He hops onto our car, only to see after the doors shut that he was accidentally leaving his wife and little baby girl. They had hopped off behind him in support and he didn’t know. Now he was in our car, and worried.
I asked him was he robbed (in spanglish and body language). Yes, he was. I said I know the dudes, three big young guys. He asks for a phone to call somebody (I think he wanted the cops for the metro conductor). They stole his phone, and maybe his wallet. At this point one decent older man who saw my entire altercation started speaking Chilean to him. He confirmed the three guys, and I think he was offering to help id them.
But now the Dad had his family stranded. He saw he had some money and a Bip card on him. He got off at the next stop to go get his family. Good man. I felt like I let that Dad down. Crappy experience all around.
Moral of the story: watch yourself on the crowded metro, especially around U de Santiago. In general the metro is super safe and all good. But just like anywhere, there are some lowlife db’s who will try to ruin your day.
P.S. Don’t F with New York, ladrones”