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How Long to Be Robbed in Naples?

In the April 2005 issue of National Geographic Traveler (unavailable online, even with a subscription -- Geographic doesn't get it) is an article on petty crime around the world, "Thieves Among Us". It recounts an interesting experiment conducted in Naples:

Last summer, [Bob Arno and Bambi Vincent, a Las Vegas-based husband-and-wife team who have tracked petty crime worldwide] set up an experiment to determine how long it would take for a Rolex watch to be stolen in Naples's crime-plagued Spanish Quarter. Arno wasn't out on the street long when he heard a whistle -- a signal from a "spotter" to his cohorts. Soon after, one of them whizzed by on a Vespa, evaluating the goods on Arno's wrist (the real thing can fetch $3,500 on the black market). Moments later, several scooters cornered Arno and the bandits made off with the watch. Total lapsed time: four minutes. The gang miscalculated, however, as the Rolex was fake. "It's about as stupid as you can get walking around with a Rolex in the Quartiere Spagnolo," he says.


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