An Easy Way for Thieves to Steal Things on Trains

I ride Amtrak quite frequently. It’s one of my go-to ways of traveling to see family, and there’s still somewhat of a nostalgic charm every time I ride the train, even amidst the delays, crowds and hassles, of which there are many.

There’s a bit less formally when riding the train – on Amtrak, for example, you aren’t assigned a seat on most trains. So, you’re free to plop down where you like. You’re also free to visit the cafe/dining car and use the bathroom, but don’t have the luxury of really knowing that your stuff will be there when you return.

Limited Time Offers Up To 50,000 Points

It’s simple, really. When flying, you’re stuck in a giant metal tube 30,000 feet up. If you go to use the restroom and return to find your laptop missing, there’s only so many people that could have taken it and they can only run so far, considering, well, they’ve got nowhere to go. 🙂

On the train, especially one in the Northeast corridor, or in California, it could be making multiple stops, sometimes many an hour.


An Easy Way for Thieves to Steal on a Train

Here’s what they do, and it’s rather ingenious. They wait for an unsuspecting person to use the bathroom or grab a snack from the cafe car shortly before arriving into a station along the route. As the train pulls into the station, they quickly go to work stealing the persons bags and belongings, perhaps to make it look as if it’s their own. In all honesty, if they’re seating nearby to begin with, I doubt anyone will question them grabbing any bags from the overhead rack, as they’d look like they would just belong to that person anyway. When the train rolls to a stop, they quickly exit before the person the person returns from the restroom  or cafe car. Because the train will quickly pull away from the station in a matter of a minute or so, there’s very little time to react, if in fact the person has actually found out their belongings are gone. By this point, the thief is long gone, and so is your stuff.

READ MORE  Beginner's Guide to Miles and Points

Here’s what you need to do to protect yourself

  • Don’t ever get up as a train approaches a station. Stay seated and have an eye on all of your bags.
  • If it’s nighttime and you’re sleeping, if you have a bag, loop it around a leg or arm, so if someone were to grab it, they’d end up jostling you in the process. For bigger bags up on the rack, consider adding some noisy bells to the outside handle, or something else you’d hear if it was moved.

Now you know how to better protect yourself the next time you ride a train.

Do you have any other safety tips for riding a train?

Find those elusive Awards & Upgrades - Find Flight Availability, Flight Upgrades & Awards, Frequent Flyer Information and more with

Looking for the best way to earn miles and points quickly? Visit the "Credit Cards" drop down on the main menu bar above for the hottest deals! Want to learn more and stay up to date on the latest tips, tricks and deals? Join My Travel Tips Facebook Page!   This site is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

READ MORE  Follow The Forward Cabin on social media!


  1. Chris says

    When we have traveled in Europe, you put your luggage in the front of the seating car, what we do, is we bring along lightweight bike lock chains, and either lock the bags together, if no bar, to lock them too, or lock the bags to the bar, or pole. Bags are not going anywhere! & if we both go to the dining car, carry on bags go with us. Whenever I traveled alone, by train, I always take my carry on to the restroom, or dining car. And when on a plane, I take my purse with me, to the restroom.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *