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Tourist dies as thieves attempt car break-in

The problem of vols à la portière re-surfaces on the Côte d’Azur

An Italian tourist died at the weekend in Villeneuve-Loubet as delinquants attempted to steal from his car while he and his wife were in it. The 76 year old man suffered a heart attack as youths broke into his car when it was stationary. It was a classic case of the opportunistic vol à la portière phenomenon when one thief distracts the occupant and another takes the handbag or whatever else is on the seat. The number of incidents reached its peak in the early nineties. Although police have had some success in curbing the culprits, and it is very unusual for someone to die as a result, drivers are urged to keep all doors locked when they are in the car, especially in big urban areas. It is still distressingly common in the east and western areas of Nice. Women are particularly vulnerable and likely to be injured as they try to wrest back their handbags.