Handbag stolen from car

Dear Editor,

My handbag was taken from the passenger seat of my Jeep, seconds after I had parked outside my house in a sleepy village near Boliqueime, when I was distracted by the ‘lost woman with map’.

Sadly, I feel it is important for the local English language paper to report this so that readers do not think that they should be wary only in beach-side or supermarket car parks, and can let their guard down, as I did, when near home or in the rural Algarve.

I have no idea where the young woman came from, as I was reversing into a restricted space alongside a neighbour’s wall. She was suddenly there, right beside my car, asking in broken English, if she was in Aldeia de Albufeira. I said she was not, took hold of the map she offered me, and proceeded to show her where she was in relation to Albufeira.

She took back the map and said she would get her husband as he spoke better English. She then walked towards a car parked blocking the lane with the engine running. I presumed he would reverse back towards me to get directions. She then got into the car and it sped down the lane.

My heart sank as I remembered reading of a similar story some weeks ago in the Algarve Resident. I turned and looked into my Jeep and … of course my handbag was gone. I had never been more than half-a-meter from the open car door.

I presume the driver (unless there were three of them) must have left their car, walked to where we were standing and leant into my jeep right behind me, and taken the bag. I had no idea he was there. I do not know what he looked like as there was something on the back shelf obscuring my view of him.

The car was a black/charcoal grey Punto/Panda. Unfortunately, I did not immediately look at the registration.

The woman was about 25/35 yrs old, blonde, slim, medium height, wearing blue/denim(?) cut-off jeans, a white T-shirt and a wide silver belt. She carried a book type map open to the Faro area.  She was not at all scruffy. Her accent was sort-of Spanish.

This all took a few minutes.

I then not only had to come to terms with the inconvenience of cancelling the debit cards and waiting for new ones, but the loss of the handbag and its contents – car papers, drivers license, fiscal card, social security card and medical card, etc

There is however a happy ending. On Friday morning, I received a call from the manager at Aldi Almancil. He had found my handbag in their lixo bin. It contained every single item except the two debit cards and some small change. The motto of the story has to be, sadly, that we must all be on guard all the time.

TESSA TUSON, Benfarras