Feb 18 2013

Expert pickpocket

I once had my pocket picked. It was on a bus in Sri Lanka and I never even noticed that I had lost something. But the thief made a mistake in that he mistook a case containing keys for a wallet. When he discovered his error, he threw the case away and left the bus. When I later discovered my loss I asked the conductor if he had seen my keys and he said that he had found them and gave them back to me. So I had a lucky escape.

But pickpockets are extremely skillful and some cities (Rome, Paris, Bangkok) are notorious for being infested with them and people are urged to attach their wallets to a chain that passes over their neck and tuck it inside their shorts or blouses.

In this clip, a pickpocket shows how he can get away with it even when the victims know he is going to pick their pockets and with the cameras pointed right at him.


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  1. 1

    Wow! I wonder if there are classes you can take to learn that!

  2. 2
    Marcus Ranum

    That’s nothing – you should see what my stockbroker can do…

  3. 3

    I once had a pair of pants meant for travel, that had a zippered pocket on the inside of one leg just above the ankle.

    They worked for me–didn’t get my wallet stolen–but I’ll bet this guy could do that too.

  4. 4

    Right, Marcus Ranum. And then there are the banksters…

  5. 5

    There was an interesting article in the New Yorker last month about Apollo Robbins: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/01/07/130107fa_fact_green

    One amusing excerpt:
    “Come on,” Jillette said. “Steal something from me.”

    Again, Robbins begged off, but he offered to do a trick instead. He instructed Jillette to place a ring that he was wearing on a piece of paper and trace its outline with a pen. By now, a small crowd had gathered. Jillette removed his ring, put it down on the paper, unclipped a pen from his shirt, and leaned forward, preparing to draw. After a moment, he froze and looked up. His face was pale.

    “Fuck. You,” he said, and slumped into a chair.

  6. 6

    Sorry–here’s the punchline to the above:

    “Robbins held up a thin, cylindrical object: the cartridge from Jillette’s pen.”

  7. 7

    The pen from the wallet was NOT the pen he stole back from Ryan Seacrest. He shows it to the camera, places it in his back pocket, and at NO TIME is he within reach of the man in the grey jacket to do anything with his wallet.
    I call shenanigans.

  8. 8

    This reminds me of a video I saw on TV maybe 10 years ago in a hotel, of what is easily the greatest pickpocket I have ever seen. I’ll show it here:


    He systematically removes EVERYTHING from a few people simultaneously, it’s astounding!

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