Sunday evening around 9:30 pm at the Bir Hakeim Metro stop, Italian sports journalist Sergio Vantaggiato had his backpack torn from him. He was on vacation in Paris with his companion, his brother and his eight year old son.
Two people made off with his backpack at the Metro stop. and according to Le Parisien’s report today,he had tried to pursue the thieves along a a corridor (with no cameras) he fell down steps, eventually dying of head injuries in the St. Louis hospital. Later in the report, friends state that he did not try to pursue the thieves. Ironically, the knapsack held nothing of great value.
From Lecce in the south of Italy, Vantaggiato was an avid follower of the Lecce soccer team. He worked for the private television station Telerama.
He was 41-years-old.
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This is the kind of tragedy from which I’d always hoped Paris would be spared. Paris like most major capitals isn’t immune to tragedy. Just being at the wrong place at the wrong time. If there is any time I would feel uncomfortable taking the Metro, it would most definitely be a Sunday night in August. There are fewer people on the trains. Still it is very rare that a purse snatching or backpack robbery should end in death.
I hope that the RATP Metro service will start thinking about employing full-time surveillance. These are certainly some jobs that could help with France’s unemployment and at the same time help to keep the Metro stops safer for residents and tourists.