Have you every been mugged? Have you ever had your phone stolen? Have you had your handbag swiped? Well the Friday before Christmas this was what happened to Ellen here at Clare with the Hair. She had her handbag containing her phone, her passport, cash, bank cards, gift cards and personal items swiped.
A pretty crap thing to happen anytime of the year but a few days before Christmas was even worse somehow. The day following the theft Ellen just cried, she felt vulnerable and violated and unsafe because Ellen was not alone when this happened, she was not drunk, she was not down a dark road, she was with many people in a medical center assisting her friend who was quite unwell, so unwell that she spend Christmas day in hospital. While Ellen was with her friend talking to the medics, awaiting an update on how they would transfer her to the Hospital and young “lady” swiped Ellen bag and ran.
We spoke with the Medical center and they said that we would have to speak to the guards to access the cctv footage and to be honest everyone Ellen spoke to had the same opinion, it is Christmas, it is Dublin, it is one of the busiest days of the year so there is absolutely no hope of getting your items back, they said kiss goodbye to the items, cancel your cards and report the passport stolen.
Ellen, her friend or I were not settling for this and collectively we went full on detectives, the friend who was sick text the phone relentlessly offering a reward for the items safe return, I text to say that the reward would be worth more than the contents and that the bag was a final gift from a loved one (it was the final gift Ellen bought herself so I guess this is right) and the “lady” who swiped the bag phoned (she will say that she did not but based on everything we now know, we would say that this is untrue) She called and said “My friend picked up your bag in the center of Dublin, traveled to Maynooth and 12 hours later gave it to me and I am calling to see it is safely returned. I mean her friend gained a whole handbag by mistake, took it home, hung up all calls until a reward and the phone location traced were mentioned but ya know we came done in the last shower so we went with it.
This was now the Saturday evening before Christmas, Ellen was exhausted from being in the hospital all night, from being upset and then struggling to get home because Irish Rail are the most frustrating company ever to deal with but this is a whole other blog post.
We live more than 2 hours from Maynooth so just popping by and collecting it was not an option.
The information we gathered on the thief was: Her phone number, her full name, her facebook profile and her location so really she was out of options but to return the bag.
I asked that she drop it into the local guard station, this was not something she wished to do so I suggested that she drop it into the local hotel reception (as she lived so close to it) The hotel was The Glenroyal Hotel in Maynooth who were absolute superstars, I phoned them to say that the bag was being dropped in, I was just anxious to get it out of the thief’s hands and somewhere safe while I figured out how we would get it home, she agreed and dropped the bag off.
Once she text to say that it was with the hotel I called them and they confirmed, I told them the full story and they said not to worry it is safe, we have it locked away and we will mind it until you can get it picked up. Being a few days before Christmas this proved difficult, people offered to bring it 1/2 the way, drop it in different places etc but I though look it is with the hotel now, it is safe so I will just cut the stress out and arrange for a courier to collect it and bring it home. The Glenroyal Hotel wrapped it up, mined it and emailed me to say when it was collected, they went far beyond anything they needed to in order to help up and we are exceptionally grateful for their assistance.
The bag is now home with everything still in it, the cash is there, the gift vouchers, the bank cards, the passport, the make up and the phone are all there.
The medical center told us that there is no hope, friends said there is no hope, the guards said that there is no hope BUT one Dublin Cab Driver gave us hope, he said to offer the reward, offer more than the bag is worth, he said the greed would get the better of them and I guess he was right. If not for this few minute conversation with this taxi driver we may have felt completely defeated and if not for the friend who was sick and who would not stop texting we may never have gotten Ellen’s bag back.
I can not thank Ellen’s friends enough for their relentless determination and not given up, the cab driver for his wonderful words of wisdom and The Glenroyal Hotel for going above and beyond.
How to locate a stolen Handbag