Little People Hiding in Luggage

This is both clever and very weird:

Swedish police are quizzing “people of limited stature” with criminal records following a spate of robberies from the cargo holds of coaches – possibly carried out by dwarves smuggled onboard in sports bags.


National coach operator Swebus confirmed it’d been hit by the audacious crims, who have over the last few months has lifted “thousands of pounds” in cash, jewellery and other valuables.

The company’s sales manager, Ingvar Ryggasjo, said that one short person had been put aboard a coach in a hockey bag. A female passenger said she’d seen some men squeezing the “large, heavy bag” into the cargo hold, and that she later found she’d been relieved of stuff including a camera and purse.

Posted on February 4, 2008 at 1:19 PM30 Comments


Tanuki February 4, 2008 2:22 PM

“…Swedish police are quizzing “people of limited stature” …”

Doesn’t that count as a particularly sizeist form of ‘profiling’ ??

Quercus February 4, 2008 2:26 PM

Option 1: midgets are being stuffed into luggage (staying protected enough to survive being tossed into the hold and having more luggage land on top),being checked as luggage without arousing suspicion or going over the weight limit, managing to dig out of the luggage pile midflight, open and search other suitcases, remove valuables, and then stuff themselves back into the luggage.

Option 2: Luggage handlers are stealing stuff.

Now, I’m not saying anything about the trustworthiness of Swedish luggage handlers vs. the trustworthiness of dwarfs, but I do know that Option 2 has happened in other places before.

Nomen Publicus February 4, 2008 2:28 PM

As the report is from the UK tabloid, The Sun, I for one don’t believe a word of it.

You could do the same scam with a child.

Or the staff could just be a bit light fingered.

Johannes Berg February 4, 2008 2:39 PM

Quercus: Coaches, not airplanes. Usually, there are no luggage handlers in that case.

TS February 4, 2008 3:19 PM

From the article:

“We think it is a short, young person, dwarves or perhaps children,??? said Ingvar Ryggasjo, sales manager for Swebus.

ken February 4, 2008 3:29 PM

Nobody leaves the room until I find the person that mucked with my calendar. Even though it says “February”, it has to be April 1.

Andrew Dalke February 4, 2008 3:31 PM

Swebus, like most coach lines, doesn’t have luggage handlers. You put the bag in the storage compartment yourself, or perhaps get it to the driver who is standing there, and you get to watch the whole thing.

If you don’t like the British tabloid link, you can read the article on TheLocal (Swedish news in English) at .

If you want something in Swedish, or a Swedish tabloid at . I can’t find a reference to it in the Göteborg Posten nor in Dagensnyheter.

TJ Hooker February 4, 2008 3:47 PM

Didn’t we cover this last month in the “Five-Year-Old Boy Detained by the TSA” thread?

Oh how you laughed at the TSA then. Now short people are invading Scandanavia, you might want to think twice before criticizing its presience.

Now check your shoes. 🙂

antibozo February 4, 2008 3:54 PM

I hear the directors of Genetic Control
Have been buying all the properties that have recently been sold
Taking risks oh so bold
It’s said now that people will be shorter in height
They can fit twice as many in the same building site
They say it’s all right

  • Peter Gabriel/Genesis, “Get ‘Em Out By Friday” (Foxtrot)

Oskar February 4, 2008 3:57 PM

This is indeed true, it was reported a while ago in Swedish media.

Can I just ask everyone to stop using the word “midget”, it’s terribly offensive to little people, to them it’s like using the n-word. Say “little people”, or if you really have to, “dwarf”, but can we please stay away from pejorative terms?

Barry Kelly February 4, 2008 4:08 PM

Not meaning to be insulting or otherwise demeaning to people concerned, Oskar, but the words ‘midget’ and ‘dwarf’ are not synonyms.

— Barry

Matt February 4, 2008 4:09 PM

Well, Houdini wrote in his work The Right Way to Do Wrong of this very type of activity. That was 100 years ago.

In fact, much of what he wrote then is still applicable today (including scams, break & entering etc…). Great book to read.

I wrote more extensively about it at if you are interested.

Andrew Dalke February 4, 2008 4:24 PM

On the use of midget vs. dwarf vs. “little people”, see .

It’s changed over a lifetime, and continues to change. “Len Sawisch … says that the use of the D-word was initially quite controversial.” “But dwarf slowly grew in acceptance to the point at which, today, it’s probably more popular with people under, say, fifty, than little person is”. “Little people is just euphemistic crap.” “one reason that dwarf has grown in acceptance is that it is rarely used in a truly derogatory context.” “Now the dwarf community may be slowly coming full circle, embracing “midget” as a way of lessening its sting.”

Thomas February 5, 2008 5:33 AM

Having seen how some Romanians gangs exploit children for begging or preform criminal activities like “emptying” parking meters, I wouldn’t be surprised it would be kids rather than small size adults.

Sortkatt February 5, 2008 6:27 AM

A dwarf recently assaulted a friend of mine. While she was running downhill, he sat hiding and tripped her while she went past. She broke her knee and had to go on sickleave for almost 3/4 of a year. I only mention this to underscore the fact that dwarves can be evil too.

I read the story some weeks ago in a Norwegian tabloid. I’ve taken those buses, and I saw little reason to doubt the story. Its common that the passengers handle the luggage themselves, and if the thieves made certain they were last, placing the luggage in a way that made certain the dwarf didn’t get hurt would not pose a problem. Nor would navigating in the storage compartment, I think.

It might be worth mentioning though, that the Norwegian tabloid only claimed thieving dwarves was the Swebus’ and the police’s theory. According to the paper they had indications (such as the seedy looking fellows carrying the heavy bag and lack of other explanations) this was the method, but they were not certain.

Snarki, child of Loki February 5, 2008 8:07 AM

Why is it, when I ready Sorkatt’s comment above:

“A dwarf recently assaulted a friend of mine. While she was running downhill, he sat hiding and tripped her while she went past. She broke her knee and …”

what immediately leaps to mind is

“…a moose once bit my sister. No realli!…”

truely we live in strange times.

Jonathan February 5, 2008 8:20 AM

Who was it who attracted a crowd by standing, respectably dressed, beside a London letterbox and calling into the slot “Don’t worry, my little man, we’ll soon have you out of there”?

Jonathan February 5, 2008 8:34 AM

Who was it who attracted a crowd by standing, respectably dressed, beside a London letterbox and calling into the slot “Don’t worry, my little man, we’ll soon have you out of there”?

aixwiz February 5, 2008 9:37 AM

Dwarf vs. midget:
A midget is a person who is small/short but they are proportional; i.e. they look like a “normal” person, only smaller.

Dwarf: There are many types of dwarfism, the most common being achondroplasia. With dwarves, they tend to be normal size through the torso but their limbs are shorter, head tends to be larger, etc.

As for what to call a midget or dwarf, try using their name.

Savik February 5, 2008 12:33 PM

TSA will now start banning midgets in your luggage and carry on…they will need new signs with a midget in a circle being crossed out…

Graham February 5, 2008 3:18 PM

Stuff like this does happen for real. I was burgled some years ago when I lived in London – our flats (in a gated building with a doorman) had a small compartment next to the door where the postman could leave parcels. The compartment had an inside door which was relatively easy to force open, but no-one worried too much about it because no normal person could be expected to squeeze through it.

I came home after a vacation and found my flat had been turned over (I was more annoyed by the police having dusted several valuable books with fingerprint powder – never did get it all off – whereas all the burglars took were some crappy CDs and my VHS player, so the police cost me more than the burglars did) and when I went to the police station next day to find out what had happened, they said with a mostly straight face that there was a well known burglary ring operating in the area (WC1) that used little people to get access to flats.

paul February 6, 2008 9:04 AM

How long before the state of remote-controlled or autonomous robotics advances to the point where you can do this kind of thing with a machine?

tubs February 6, 2008 9:47 PM

so your trying to tell us that all midgets are criminals?

i find this hard to believe since they are surrounded by millions of presents every Christmas and still all the kids get what they asked for

its not science to come to the conclusion that midgets are really just dogs that can walk on two legs

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