(See accompanying photo)
The steep stairs of the Reina Sofia modern art gallery are a favorite hangout for pick-pockets. They generally follow tourists up the stairs, pretending to be scouring a map. As they close on the tourist's wallet or purse, they reach from beneath the map and voila!—a vacation gone under the cover of the map.
I was a couple of steps behind my wife as we were ascending the same stairs, when I looked over and saw the guy in the attached photo with his hand in her backpack-purse. I said, "Hey that guy has his hand in your purse!" At which point he turned and said, "No I don't!" I snapped his picture, but in the days of digital cameras taking eons to click, he managed to disguise-at least his face - with the same map.
We showed the photo to the contingent of police at the museum, and they said they'd keep an eye out for the guy. Yet, an hour later, as we were descending in the museum's glass elevators, we helplessly watched as the same guy walked up behind an elderly man on the same stairs, pulled out the map, and pulled out the poor guy's wallet. At which point we were all banging on the glass walls of the elevator, catching the attention of the police, and setting in motion a huge foot chase with us, the police and the thief. The thief escaped, I'm sorry to say.