An Italian woman has generated a lot of praise after her “brilliant” way of calling out pickpockets disguised as tourists has gone viral.
Monica, 57, is part of a volunteer group called Cittadini Non Distratti, meaning “Citizens not distracted,” which aims to to disturb and prevent active pickpockets in the popular tourist destination.
She works alongside 40 other volunteers and has dedicated 30 years of her life saving tourists from the sneaky snatchers, and they’re doing it out of sheer goodwill.
“People are pickpocketed for their American or English passport, then to return to their country they have to go to the embassy in […] Rome,” Monica told Newsweek.
“This incurs additional expenses for them, so it is better to prevent this by warning tourists of the problem.”
The videos, which were originally posted on Facebook, have gained the attention of a younger audience after they started posting on TikTok.
“We decided to make our videos go viral to inform tourists to be careful,” she said.
“There is a lack of prevention and information about what is happening in the city and we are all happy that these videos are letting people see the problem in Venice and throughout Italian cities.”
Many of the volunteers have their own way of weeding out the pickpockets, with some using a deafening whistle to capture the attention of everyone around them.
Others just call out “attention pickpocket” in both English and Italian then proceed to shoo away the pickpockets, telling them to “go away” and for tourists to “watch out for their wallets”.
These Volunteers are amazing in Venice, Italy! #venice #veniceitaly #veniceissinking #fy #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #traveltips #abroad #pickpocket #pickpocketing #safetravels #safetravelling #solotravel #italy #italy🇮🇹 #volunteer #volunteers
In the video that has gone viral, the pickpockets can be seen scurrying away from the crowd as soon as these volunteers call them out.
Although the original video and account “citadininondistratti” got banned on TikTok, many other accounts have reposted and reshared the content.
Many have commented their praise for the group, despite local police officers reportedly not supporting this form of vigilante justice.
“Thank you for your service ma’am,” wrote one person.
“Brilliant 👏” wrote a second person.
“I was in Rome, both times I was on the train the locals warned and pushed the pickpockets away from me. Love the locals,” wrote a third.
“She called them purse thieves in Italian,” commented one amused person.
This article first appeared on Over60.