When someone tells a story that just reeks of urban legend, I want to call bullshit. Problem is, it was a colleague, and she told it as an aside in front of a half-dozen people at a meeting, so I didn’t want to put her on the spot. She swears it’s true, though like all urban legends, it sounds vaguely familiar.
A man and a woman are at a party in Winterhude, a wealthy area of Hamburg.
They get up to leave and the woman notices that her purse has been stolen.
They go home. Two days later, they get a phone call from a man who introduces himself as Dr. So-and-so, who apologises profusely for his wife. “She’s a kleptomaniac, you see. This has happened before, and she’s getting psychiatric treatment, but sometimes she falls back.”
He then invites the man and his wife to come pick up the handbag and have a glass or two of champagne with him at a restaurant as a small gesture of goodwill.
The couple accept the invitation, but upon returning home with the handbag discover that in their absence, their house has been robbed clean.
Maybe it IS true. Con artists are pretty good at what they do, and even the police have tricked fugitive criminals into showing up to receive contest prizes, but you can pick so many holes in this story.
A case for snopes.com?