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Home Theft - How to Aviod It?

Posted by Apollo-197324 - Created: 13 years ago
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Dear Forum Users,

Recently on a trip to a holiday home in the Cote d'Azur, I was unfortunate enough to be burgled the day immediately following my arrival.

I had rented a car at Nice Airport the previous evening and arrived at the house. I spent the night fine, and the next day went to the supermarket with my wife and young child, and then returned home. We went out the back of the house, which is on a private road, and were in the pool for around 15 minutes. In that short time burglars had entered the house and taken the majority of our valuables.

I am perplexed that the burglary came so soon after our arrival. Only our travel effects were taken - liquid assets. The house is otherwise empty the rest of the year, and I find it unlikely that the burglars simply struck it lucky.

Does anyone know of any other occurrences of similar thefts? Could I have been followed from the rentacar company? Could I have been spotted as a tourist at the supermarket? I know it that theft while you're in the swimming pool has happened before (and will happen again), but I thought I had taken enough precautions. It seems a side door onto an elevated terrace was invitation enough.

If anyone has any ideas, or knows of other similar burglaries with a high level of "coincidence" attached, please be kind enough to reply to this post.




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5 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 5)

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Posted by trevor9929 - 13 years ago


Sorry to hear about your break in.

We have had two break in's at our house, both times they used the same door to get in, at least the second time we had decent bolts on the inside, so all they did was do some damage to the door. We have fitted bolts to the doors, so that when we are in the house, they can only be opened from the inside, as both times they tried to break in, they got through the lock without any problem.

We also use hire cars and they broke in very early into our stay, these guys who do this stuff, check out areas, they know which homes are holiday homes, they prefer to break into a house at night and when someone is there, to ensure maximum gain.

Both times they broke into our house, we where in bed. Really not nice. We have invested in a good alarm, good locks and security lights. We always put the alarm on at night. I look out for anything or anyone acting strangley.

This part of France has loads of problems with theft, if you live here, a dog is one of the best ways to prevent it,but just being around is even better.

Until the Police do some thing radical, this situation will not get any better

Best of luck







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Posted by Miss Varna - 13 years ago

We are still driving with German licence plates but I cannot say that we are drawing any attention, at least I haven't noticed any (but we are driving like 06ers ;-) . Mind you, we are often away for several months and our place hasn't been broken into, we are lucky (but we live in an apartment). Only problem we had that our entire car was scratched - from the front all side long to the stop lights, on both sides of the car and that has happened in our secured (!) residence :-(

But now as we are moving into a rez-de-jardin without garage, I think we better change our licence plates quickly..... :-(

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Posted by mdcaprino - 13 years ago

Hi Apollo,

Yes this kind of thing is quite common here. I used to teach english to a women in the holiday home business and she told me many stories like what you've unfortunately experienced.

One thing that happens quite a lot is theft on the Saturday (usually the first day of the vacation).  This is when the holiday makers are most vulnerable.  They arrive to their beutiful villa all excited, open the door and dump their bags there to check out the house and the garden, and the pool, etc...  The thieves who had been following simply walk in behind them and take all their belongings quite easily.  By far the best bang for the buck for the thieves.

Another sad story was the german couple here on vacation with a beautiful expensive car.  They drive up to the gates of their rented villa and the man gets out to open the gate.  However they didn't realize that they had been followed by a scooter.  Just as the husband gets out of the car, someone jumps into the driver's seat and shoves the wife out the door and drives off with everything.  The car, their clothes, money, passports, etc...  Nice start to a vacation eh?

You could have been followed from the rental car company, but the truth is that rental cars are really easy to spot.  One dead give away is that there is a little sticker near the fuel filler cap showing the kind of fuel the car takes (I usually remove this, stick it to something metal like inside the fuel filler door or inside the boot lid and put it back there before I return the car). Also rental cars usually have a plate number ending with '60' rather than '06' as local cars are.  And sometimes you can tell the tourist by how the car is driven.  There is a certain 'style' of driving that is characteristic of the region.

Of course any plate other than '06' and especially other countries are targets (I was driving a friend's car that he had bought in Germany and still had German plates and we could sense more attention which I think was partly due to the plates).

I don't really know how prevalent this kind of thing is in other vacation destinations, but here you really have to be a bit careful.

I'm really sorry it happened to you.


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Posted by Happy Days-188415 - 13 years ago

Hi Apollo

This type of burglary is widespread throughout the region during the summer months. I have been working with rental companies adn each one of their villas has been broken into AT LEAST once, some up to 8 times!!

One ploy is to spot foreign plate cars and to follow them home to where they are staying. Another, i'm sure is through inside information because some of these are just too well planned. That may involve just knowing which villas are rentals or indepth knowledge about the time when affluent people are there.


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Posted by MikeP-180526 - 13 years ago

I've heard of two cases where people had just taken delivery of an expensive luxury new car from a dealer and within days the cars were stolen from outside their homes, in one case it was an armed raid (although the firearms were not used). 

Coincidence? Yeah sure!

Also I was warned a long time ago when renting a car in France not to give a local contact address. I always gave a fictitious address or my office.