Scippatori ( Italian for scooter bandits) are not common in the United States. They are more common in Italy, particularly Naples. “Scippatori,” are thieves who drive speeding scooters down busy narrow streets looking for tourists carrying purses or travel bags while walking close to the street. If the Scippatori finds a victim, they drive as close to the sidewalk as possible so they can yank the bag off the arm or shoulder of their victim and quickly speed away. The thieves drive scooters, especially Vespa’s lightweight motorcycles, and sometimes even bicycles because they are easy to maneuver.
As many streets in Italy are very narrow, it is easy for the scooter bandit to get close to their victim and steal their purse or handbag right off their shoulder and race away. As you will see in this video, the woman is dragged to the ground and is almost run over by a passing vehicle. These are very dangerous thefts. Protect yourself against personal injury from scippatori and wear your travel bag or purse cross-body style with the bag resting on the hip farthest from the street. If you can, walk in the middle of the sidewalk and not near the curb. Also, if possible, walk on the side of the street facing traffic. This type of theft works best when the victim is surprised from behind.
The below video was captured in a parking lot in the United States, however the same concept translates to the thefts in Italy. After you watch this video, it sends the idea home the idea to wear your purse on the side away from traffic if cars or scooters are in the area.