In Buenos Aires, as in any big city, there are skilled pickpockets on the subway and streets. There is the cab driver who will tool you (look out for Radio taxis only) and one hears stories of elaborate muggings involving trips to multiple ATMs for maximum withdrawals. But there is also a special brand of creative robbery on the go. Here, young males are affectionately called “pendejos” and the pendejos who use their motorbikes to steal are known as Motochorros.
Motochorros ride around on a motorcycle or scooter until they locate their victim. One guy gets dropped off, he walks by the victim and grabs the purse or bag. The other speeds by and scoops him up on the bike and they are gone before the person can shriek “My laptop!”
Last week in Palermo park I witnessed the next level of Motochorros – a guy did a drive-by robbery on a bicycle. He was riding his bike through the wooded area of the park where people picnic. He found his mark, leaned off his bike and swooped up the bag of a woman seated on a blanket. He rode off before she could react. She looked around and paced the blanket area for a while, realizing what had happened and having to face she’d just been robbed by a guy on a bike. It was a sad scene to witness and made me stop carrying a purse, to avoid the Motochorros – and the Bici-chorros too.
For a city with a cop on every corner (of the tourist areas), you’ll have to be extra vigilant if you bring your laptop out. My advice is to try to avoid the curb side on the street – or the bike lane at the park.
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