The Louvre is being overrun by pickpockets

Security officers go on strike to protest the crime wave, closing down the museum as the busy tourist season starts picking up.

By Kim Peterson Apr 11, 2013 3:16PM
The pickpocketing problem at the Louvre museum is so bad that the staff is revolting. The museum closed Wednesday after 200 security officers went on strike to protest the crime wave.

Pickpocketing at popular tourist destinations is nothing new -- just ask Disney (DIS) -- but the problem has grown much worse at the Louvre over the past 18 months. There are now roving gangs of pickpockets, many of them children, and they are getting increasingly violent.

Here's how they do it:

Large groups of children. The pickpockets swarm the museum in groups of up to 30, The Week reports. Admission is free for people under 18, so the children can get in anytime.A visitor stands in front of the entrance to the closed Louvre museum in Paris, France, Wednesday, April 10, 2013 (© Jacques Brinon/AP Photo)

They target English speakers. Many of the pickpockets appear to be from eastern Europe. One will approach someone and say "Do you speak English?" or give him or her an English postcard to read. Then others will swarm the victims, surrounding them and stealing their valuables.

They are relentless. "The children are tough and very well organized," one member of the museum's staff told the Telegraph. "They stop at nothing to get what they want." If they get kicked out of the museum, they just come back the next day.

They threaten the guards. The Louvre employees come to work afraid, Time magazine reports. The pickpockets say they know where the guards live and that terrifies staff members.

More on moneyNOW

Tags: DIS
Apr 11, 2013 4:49PM
Time to start charging admission for the under 18 set so pickpockets can't come in for free.
Apr 11, 2013 4:15PM
I guess if they are mostly children, you can't really "strong arm" them. Hmm. I wonder, would using a handheld tazer...just a little ZAP on the behind might slow them down a bit.
Apr 11, 2013 4:34PM
"200 security officers went on strike to protest the crime wave."

Am I missing something here? What are they striking for? Some other "security officers" should catch those thieves?
Apr 11, 2013 4:43PM
Like this is news?  The gitanes' brats have been pulling this stuff for as long as I can remember.  The EU has opened the borders so its even easier for them and France seems to be following the US on political correctness.  Most are run by the equivalent of a pimp who gets their take at the end of the day and gives them small change to live on. My first experience was in 1978!  I was saved by a French woman with a German Shepherd that hated them.  His ferocious antics scared them away. So why don't the cops get some dogs and cruise the areas around the Louvre.
Apr 11, 2013 5:10PM
You know that kiosk where they rent audio tour mp3 players?  They need to start renting tasers.  That'll teach those little bastards.
Apr 11, 2013 5:10PM

This is pretty ridiculous.  Charge admission, you *** **** socialists!!!!!

Apr 11, 2013 4:24PM

"The staff is revolting"......they can't help what they look like. Give them a break.

If it's an issue then just hire good looking people.

Apr 11, 2013 5:13PM
First the Nazis invade France, and the French are powerless to stop them.  Now we find they can't even stop the tweens.
Apr 11, 2013 5:53PM
So who has a problem with profiling now????
Apr 11, 2013 5:15PM

QUOTE - They are relentless. "The children are tough and very well organized," one member of the museum's staff . "They stop at nothing to get what they want." If they get kicked out of the museum, they just come back the next day.


Sounds like the 99% protesters from Wall Street found a new breeding ground.

Apr 11, 2013 7:41PM
When I travel in Europe I assume everyone I come in contact with is a pick pocket. I keep only enough cash in my pocket for a small meal or something small and keep any credit cards or id  is kept in a security wallet inside my pants. When I was at the Trevi  fountain in Rome one of the people in our group was pick pocketed and he actually hit the person and knocked them to the ground. They didnt get his wallet. Im in Cali and we have drive by shootings but in Europe its always pick pockets and always has been. Be aware of your surroundings.
Apr 12, 2013 4:55AM
I backpacked around Europe in the early 2000 and saw this occur several times.  Swarm the victim and run off.  Seems like nothing new, there are many very determined and clever thieves around a tourist destinations everywhere. Don't be foolish...
Apr 11, 2013 7:54PM
Seems simple enough.  Install a few hundred cameras (probably already have more than that) and identify the little thieves.  Then ban them at the doors...
Apr 11, 2013 5:10PM
don't get it.  I was there june 2012 and did not see a single theft-or even gangs of kids.  Kids outside pretending to be deaf and asking for 50 euros however.  I guess my wife and I were not a target.
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