By Nawara Fattahova
Having your wallet stolen is a nightmare experience. The effrontery of the thief who stole my wallet shows she is used to stealing and has practice. I was shocked for a couple of days and couldn’t believe it wasn’t a bad dream. Despite surveillance cameras installed everywhere, people still dare to steal.
Such thefts are not common in Kuwait, although robberies do happen sometimes for more valuable amounts or objects. There was a spate of bicycle thefts last year. There are also cases where thieves have followed people who withdraw large amounts of cash from the bank, then steal the bag or envelope containing the money from their car when they leave the vehicle.
Usually, wallet thefts happen when the victim forgets it somewhere, and the thief usually steals the money and leaves the wallet. But the thief who stole my wallet was not just a person in need of cash -she stole the entire wallet with my bank cards, IDs, membership cards and most importantly, old photos that I cannot replace.
Obtaining replacement documents is the biggest hassle. Debit cards are the easiest, as you can get them the next day. As for credit cards, reissuing them takes a few days to a week, as it happened with me. Not to mention the charges I had to pay, ranging from KD 5 to KD 15 for each card.
With the blessing of the digital age, we can use the Kuwait ID app to identify ourselves instead of the actual ID, but you may still need it in certain cases, such as for activating a service at a local operator. The civil ID is also important if you don’t have a smartphone, or it is switched off or not connected to the Internet, especially while travelling.
Of course, the fee for a replacement civil ID is much higher than for renewing it – KD 20. Ditto for the driving license. The process is also lengthy. For reissuing the driving license, you need a report of its loss from the police station first; only then can you apply for it online. For reissuing the civil ID, you don’t need a police report; but you have to attend personally at PACI’s headquarters to apply for it and sign a statement of loss. It takes 60 days for a new ID to be ready.
Reporting the case at the police station is not quick either. I spent two and a half hours at the station, although I didn’t wait at all. I had to go through three investigations. If the investigators were busy, I might have stayed there for four or five hours.
The thief could have taken the cash and left the wallet and I would have felt bad but also relieved. Maybe she needed the money, maybe she was desperate. But to take the entire wallet with all the related cards and documents, especially when everyone here knows how difficult and time consuming they are to replace, that is unforgiveable.