Better sound the alarm, as Rush T. Benson of Potomac requests. Pickpockets have come up with a new scam, as they always seem to. Their latest allies: a child and a Metro escalator.

Brother Benson was proceeding down a moving staircase the other day after entering the Metro Center station through the 12th and F street portal. Immediately in front of him was a well-dressed man. Beside the man was a girl, approximately three years old. They were holding hands. Because they were, Rush was prevented from passing.

As the escalator reached platform level, the man leaned over, blocking Rush's way. He appeared to be picking up some beads that the girl appeared to have dropped. Naturally, the two or three people immediately behind Rush on the escalator were "discharged into (my) backside, jostling, pushing, no place to go."

In a few seconds, the man had recovered the beads and Rush was on his way, thinking nothing of what had just happened. But about a minute later, Rush reached back to be sure his wallet was still in his left hip pocket. It wasn't.

To repeat what police have said for so long: the best place for a man to carry a wallet is in the inside pocket of his jacket. If it's a jacketless day, carry the wallet in a front pants pocket. If that's too uncomfortable, at least button your back pocket if possible.