On may 4th, we drove from Zurich, Switzerland to Milan, Italy. Our rental car had Zürich number plate and car rental graphics therefore it was straight up give away we are new in the city. Within 10 mins of driving inside the city, our passenger back tire started losing air. So we pulled inside a quite street to check the vehicle notification. (Catch: right when we pulled-in, a Roman/italian speaking man on scooter showed up and stated showing us area to get our flat tire fix.)
He kept speaking in his native langauage and keep pointing figure at a direction and made every effort to get our attention; and we said “thank you” and drove in that direction. Within 3 mins on the road our tire was completely flat and we found parking on another street which was kinda busy street.
Right when we pulled in, another guy on scooter with his phone glued to helmet pulled up and started pointing us to the same direction. He even assisted me to take my spare tire out and our bags from the back of trunk out and kept speaking in native language; kinda forcing us and showing direction and diverted our direction.
Within that second another guy sneaked into front seat of the car and was going through my wife’s purse. Luckily my wife saw the guy and shouted by asking “excuse me, what are you doing in our bags;” and both the guys took off.
Luckily the guy just picked my wife’s purse which had our passports, credit cards, cash; and he dint get away with anything.
When we went to tire shop, the mechic pointed out saying that the tire had be slash on the side and the brand new winter tire is non-fixable.
With rental company guidelines, we had to install not one, but two brand new tires worth 400€.
Since this was our first impression in Italy, we were paranoid. Our trip taste completely changed and we looked at every person who approached us with a questionable face.
This was a very well organized crime where these scammers slash tires, and when the car stops; they take their attention and steal their belongings.
We left the city very next day since we dint feel safe and stayed at lake Como, Italy and made our way back to Zurich.
We tried to make police complain but due to language barrier we couldn’t get through.