Happy end to a sad story

By Sarafina Sanerivi 07 July 2016, 12:00AM

Most stories about people who have properties stolen from them have a sad ending.

Well this one is slightly different.

 Franciscka Bilger and Thomas Calvet can finally enjoy their holiday in Samoa, after a nightmare introduction to Samoa where they were robbed on their first night.

Ms. Bilger is 25-years-old and is from Germany while 27-year-old Thomas Calvet is from France. 

The pair arrived in Samoa last Friday, and on that same night, they went out with some local friends they made and had a few drinks at the Marina.

“We went there with some local people and we had a good time,” Ms. Bilger said.

“But it was maybe around 10:30pm that I noticed my bag was stolen. My handbag was under our feet, we were guarding it and it was just next to us.

 “My iPhone 6 plus was inside it, Fuji XT10 camera with an extra lens, my passport, two credit cards, Ray Ban sunglasses and $130tala cash. We went outside to see if we could see anyone with the bag but we couldn’t find it.”

The pair said the fun ended at that very moment, and they were worried.

“We then went to the Police office and made a police report. But they told us that they (police) will go to the Bar and check the security footages. 

“The next day, we went back to the Bar and had a look at the security footages ourselves and we saw that the person who took my bag was caught on camera. But the people at the Bar had no idea of who the guy was and no one recognized him.

“We went back to Police and they told us to wait until Monday because they told me to go to the Immigration office to get papers so that I will be able to travel to New Zealand, without a passport.”

Ms. Bilger said they went to the German Consulate in Samoa, and from there, they contacted the German Embassy in New Zealand for help.

“Because I am currently staying in New Zealand on a working holiday visa and I am going back there,” she said. “And they said I need to make a new provisory passport and the problem is, it’s going to take longer for papers to be fixed than the date of our flight back to New Zealand which is on the 11th of July and that is next Monday.

“We didn’t want to proceed with the papers, because if we do that, we will have to cancel my passport (the one that was stolen) in order to make a temporary passport. So we thought that the best for us to do is to find who took the bag and ask for my passport back, that’s the most important thing for me.”

So Ms. Bilger and Mr. Calvet went back to the Bar to see if they had found any leads but the employees told them that the Police never came to them to ask for footages.

“So we went to the radio station to tell our story and to see if anyone knows of anything regarding the bag that was stolen. Because I really wanted to get my passport back, to me, that’s the most important thing.

“It’s a really difficult situation for us because he (Thomas) has to catch a plane back in Auckland to go back home on the 17th of this month, and we can’t be stuck here.”

The pair went back to the Police station on Tuesday after the radio announcement, and while they were at the Police station, someone called them saying that he had the passport and the credit cards.

“The guy who rang us said that he found the passport and the credit cards around the area where the seawalls are.

“But because he had poor English, he had to hand it to the policeman who was there to talk to him and he spoke to him in Samoan. 

“Police were asking him a lot of questions, like where he was, and his name and everything, and think that was too much might have scared him off. We assumed he got scared and he hung up, and we’ve been trying to get a hold of him ever since then, but his phone had been unreachable since then. 

"The police told us to go to the area where the person said he was, and we drove there with the police and they asked everyone around that area to see if they know of this guy, but no one had a clue of who he was.

“We then went to the Tourism centre and we lodged a complaint there as well. So the people at the tourism building called up Digicel to see if they could trace the owner of the mobile phone who called us and said he knew who had the passport and credit cards.”

Still, there was no luck. They were told that the number was not registered. 

“We went back to Police but they told us that they will find out who the owner of the number is but it will take about two weeks to track it down.”

Mr. Calvet said that all they wanted was to get Ms. Bilger’s passport back.

 “We wanted to come to Samoa for a holiday, compared to Fiji and the Cook Islands, we chose Samoa because it will be more authentic. We thought it was a good place to relax and rejuvenate,” said Mr. Calvet. 

“We were looking forward to coming here in Samoa, and we were enjoying our first day here and we had a good time at the Bar with some locals before the incident happened. It was just sad and unfortunate that it happened to our holiday.”

However, minutes after the interview with the Samoa Observer Newspaper yesterday, Mr. Calvet called to say that they just received a call from Radio Polynesia saying that someone had dropped off the passport to their office. 

“It was good news, and we can finally enjoy our remaining days in Samoa,” said Mr. Calvet. “The people at the Radio Station did not tell us who dropped off the passport and credit cards, but that’s fine with us, at least we got the most important thing back and that is our passport.”

They were only able to get back two credit cards and Ms. Bilger’s passport yesterday. 

They are now in Savai’i, hoping to take back better memories when they return home.

By Sarafina Sanerivi 07 July 2016, 12:00AM

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