Interview with a Pickpocket Expert


How do you track down pickpockets?
I stuff my wallet with paper and keep it in my pants pocket. Then I linger in prime tourist spots in foreign cities. Sooner or later, someone steals the wallet, and I try to steal it back.

Yeah. If I successfully steal the wallet back—and I often do—the thief is usually willing to share the latest techniques.

Posted on October 18, 2006 at 5:47 AM59 Comments


Paeniteo October 18, 2006 6:52 AM

If I were a thief, I would probably take care to notice that the person I just stole a purse from follows me and get suspicious – making a re-theft very difficult.
Or, I might as well break into a run, given the chance that my theft was noticed and I would be in great danger of being caught.

bob October 18, 2006 7:06 AM

So the only people he gets new techniques from are those who are not materially better at it than he is? (since they have to be about as good as he is to get it in the first place, and not much better to let him get it back) Is that valuable?

Seems like he would be better off putting a note in the wallet with a phone number and a promise to pay if they call him; that way he might be able to get techniques from people who steal his wallet and he doesnt realize it for hours.

Basil Berntsen October 18, 2006 7:23 AM

I went on vacation to Paris once and I was worried about pickpockets, so I bought one of those pouches. Worked like a charm… but I suppose that there’s no fool proof way to avoid getting robbed except not carying valuables. I never had more than 15 euros on me 🙂

Robert October 18, 2006 7:37 AM

That’s why I always carry my wallet in a front pocket. With it and my cell phone wedged in there togther, it’s pratically impossible to remove without me noticing.

Rich October 18, 2006 8:13 AM

When I was a student teacher in an inner-city school I had a student who was a good pick pocket. He could slip things in and out of my pockets without me knowing. I remember once when he said he couldn’t do his assignment because I had taken his pencil. I denied it, but he said “it’s right there in your pocket” and it was. He never actually stole anything from me (I don’t think :-).

Marc A. Pelletier October 18, 2006 8:32 AM


You’re presuming that the skillset required to avoid having your pockets picked is congruent with the skillset required to pick someone else’s pockets. I see no reason why it would be.

The very best pickpockets might be just as vulnerable to having their pockets picked to someone of at least moderate skill as the rest of us.

Timm Murray October 18, 2006 8:52 AM

I bet he always got strange looks from people, too. “You want to learn to be a pick pocket? Why would you want to do that?”

Interesting guy. Not a particularly interesting interview, though.

Hadmut Danisch October 18, 2006 9:01 AM

Some time ago I was standing at a corner in San Francisco, waiting for the traffic light, when I realized that something touched my wallet in my pants pocket. I flipped around immediately just to see a crowd of people behind me, obviously surprised by my move, but I was unable to spot who exactly had touched me.

However, a young guy standing next to me, asked me what’s wrong, and we came into a conversation walking down the street. Since I was suspicious but didn’t want to be rude I told him the obvious (german tourist, visiting SF, being away from Germany), carefully avoiding to reveal any details (name, hotel, conference,…). He nevertheless seemed to enjoy the conversation, while I was unsure how this would end up.

After walking a few blocks he suddenly told me that he was a professional pickpocket and indeed had tried to steal my wallet, but had really been surprised that I had realized the attempt. While I was sort of astounded, he gave me the ‘good advice’ to never put my wallet in the pants pocket, but in the inner pocket of the jacket, where it was much more difficult to steal from and almost unreachable for amateur pickpockets. He then immediately ran across the street.

I checked my belongings, but nothing was missing.

One of the most uncommon conversations I ever had.

Jon October 18, 2006 9:03 AM

“Pickpockets are rare here because we train our cops well, we use security cameras and the consequences are too severe.”

Imagine that: Good training for those responsible for enforcement; reasonable monitoring; and consequences for those who break the law.

frequent tourist October 18, 2006 9:12 AM

I wonder if Hadmut’s pickpocket wasn’t giving him inaccurate information to improve his (the pickpocket’s) working environment. In the travel briefings I’ve received, jacket pockets are identified as relatively easy (perhaps because they hang loosely on the body), especially if the jacket is unbuttoned. Front pockets are harder (perhaps because they are close to the body and next to a sensitive spot), pouches and belts even harder.

Of course, nothing’s perfect. In Saigon, my colleague’s neck pouch was jerked off her neck to break the strap.

I wonder why metal wire – or maybe superstrong plastic to avoid annoying airport metal detectors – isn’t routinely inserted into belt/pouch/waistpack straps.

Carlo Graziani October 18, 2006 9:14 AM

Community sharing of pickpocketing techniques. This has got to be the weirdest of Open Source Software’s distant cousins.

bac October 18, 2006 9:26 AM

#frequent toruist, one reason that I can think of is the manufacturer would not use a metal or plastic wire is to avoid personal injury lawsuits. Imagine the neck strap cutting into one’s neck. Which would you like to have, your money stolen or your money stolen and hospital bills?

Hadmut Danisch October 18, 2006 10:12 AM

@frequent tourist:

that’s really difficult, I’d rather give my wallet away since having my neck seriously injured. Everything in my wallet can be replaced, my neck can’t.

Keep in mind that it is a common practice in southern europe to steal bags, purses, neck pouches from motorcycles. Typically two persons are sitting on it, a driver and a ‘snatcher’. They are approaching from behind in high speed and tear away your bag faster than you can react. Imagine your bag had a strong plastic or metal wire.

Furthermore, it wouldn’t want to wear a neck pouch which is stronger than my neck. You can at any time have some accident, the pouch can get caught anywhere, e.g. train.

I’d prefer the predetermined breaking point to be the pouch strap, not my neck.

BTW: When in crowded areas, I sometimes have my wallet in the pants front pockets.


bob October 18, 2006 10:28 AM

@Marc A. Pelletier: As Anonymous alludes to a couple of posts back, it isnt so much the technique of taking the stuff out of your wallet that is the key issue, it is the “sleight of hand” to distract you from it that is the problem. Similar to a magician being aware of what another magician is doing in terms of misdirection enabling him to see through the “trick”, even though he’s never seen that particular trick before.

If a standard technique is, as they mention in the article, squirting you with mustard to distract you; then if you are a pickpocket and get squirted with mustard, you are probably going to think about your wallet at that time, whereas a normal mark will be distracted.

Stipulated that maybe a given pickpocket doesnt know all the distraction techniques; to stretch the original analogy almost to the breaking point, maybe he knows about mustard and mayo, but is caught unawares when squirted by catsup.

X the Unknown October 18, 2006 11:33 AM

I carry my wallet in my shirt pocket. It’s a tight fit, and I can literally see any attempt at removal.

It does look kind of ugly, though.

TomInOhio October 18, 2006 11:51 AM

When in high-risk venues, I keep a substantial amount of money in one of my shoes. If I do get pickpocketed, I’ll have the money to at least get back from wherever I’m at.

another_bruce October 18, 2006 12:13 PM

never been picked, don’t know anybody who has. wallet in front pants pocket where i believe it is most secure. kinda touchy about my personal space, even a well-meaning stranger physically accosting me puts his front teeth at risk.

Nobby Nuts October 18, 2006 12:14 PM

I keep my wallet in my front pocket normally, but in very high risk situations like crowds, particularly if my attention is elsewhere (like at a gig, for instance) it goes in my underpants. I’d most likely notice that! Makes buying anything dodgy though if I’ve forgotten to get a bit of cash out first.

JT October 18, 2006 12:49 PM

My pocket was picked successfully once — I became aware of it just as the door to the bus I was getting on closed and the bus rolled off. Annoying. But I wasn’t sure who’d done it.

Another time I was getting on a bus and there was a lot of jostling and I noticed someone’s hand going into the breast pocket of another person. Just as I was about to yell something, I realized someone was trying to pick my pocket too! My friend and I started yelled and the crooks hopped off the bus and fled.

Realist October 18, 2006 1:01 PM

There’s an old trick to stopping a pickpocket or at least make their actions very noticable…

Place a comb in your wallet so the teeth are facing towards the open side of the wallet (away from the hinge point). Place the wallet in your pocket (can even be the back pocket) so the comb teeth are facing upwards. Be sure to buutton the pocket.

When someone makes a grab for your wallet, the teeth of the comb will snag on the inside of the pocket lining and you will definitely feel the tug. The theif will have some difficulty removing the snagged wallet

Damon October 18, 2006 1:37 PM

I carry two wallets normally — mostly because I don’t like thick wallets.
* One has “essentials”: (driver’s license, major credit cards, most cash)
* The other has: one credit card, a little cash, and misc other cards (medical, business cards).
If mugged, I plan to hand over the one without my drivers license.

When travelling, I keep super-important stuff (passport, traveler’s checks, most cash) in a pocket hanging around my neck under my shirt. I only access this in the privacy of my hotel room or alone in a bathroom stall.

I’ve never been pick-pocketed or mugged, so I don’t know if these methods are working or if I’m lucky/paranoid.

“See, this rock will keep tigers away. I’ve carried it in this city for twenty years and no tigers.”

quincunx October 18, 2006 2:14 PM

Buy pants with a button or zipper on the back pocket.

And/or use a chain.

Install a tracking device sewed into the lining of your wallet. Presto!

je October 18, 2006 4:29 PM

and get killed requesting your wallet back from the 140KG guy with “KILLER” tatooed on the back of his skull.

(Or is it you believe any cop will spend his day chasing RFIDs through Paris/Rome/whatever…)

Any pickpocket (if not really stupid – and the lifespan of stupid pickpockets tends to be quite short) will throw away the purse and keep only the money and only the valuable items worth the perceived risk of having an interview with a prosecuter…

Robert October 18, 2006 5:03 PM

“You won’t notice if you get hit hard enough somewhere else”

Then it’s a mugger, and not a pickpocket…

Roger October 18, 2006 6:54 PM

I live in Sydney, which had a massive increase in pocket-picking when we hosted the Olympics in 2000 — an increase which has not subsequently abated. I have a friend who was a student during the Olympics, but worked part-time as security at a couple of Olympic venues. He personally arrested several pickpockets, three IIRC. And had some interesting tales to tell.

For a start, Bob Arno’s “follow that thief” method will often not work, because all but the most amateurish pickpockets have at least one assistant, with the dip handing off the stolen article to a second guy — typically in less than a second! Larger, more professional teams may include 4 or 5 people:
* a distraction/interference person, (often an attractive woman ) who distracts or positions the victim for the dip, and then (if necessary) covers the escape by being “too helpful”;
* the actual dip, who takes the article and immediately hands it off. Often very lightly dressed so he can be searched quickly to “prove his innocence”, and he won’t be carrying any reliable ID documents;
* two hand off guys, one who times his path so he can receive the article immediately it is dipped, and a 2nd who gets another handoff, possibly as a reverse dip, out of sight of the primary witnesses. (This works particularly well on public transportation and escalators.) This guy, if he is smart, will be travelling and lodging separately from the rest of the team.
These sorts of teams usually travel from place to place, hitting a large public gathering hard for one day, and moving on immediately.

There is psychology as well as some pretty fancy sleight of hand involved, but more importantly the system is designed to be almost impossible to prosecute. Against all this, what works? Well trained security staff PLUS cctv; you need both. Even when the cops or security guys are sharp enough to spot a team at work, a conviction is unlikely unless the whole thing was filmed. And without someone to grab the suspect immediately, the CCTV is useless because no-one will chase the suspect to another city over a non-violent wallet theft.

Some other random points:
* inside jacket pockets are NOT safer unless the jacket is fully buttoned up. The weight distribution as the panel swings makes it obvious “something” is there; then all it takes is for the distraction girl/guy to get a jacketted victim to lean forward slightly, and it is actually easier for the dip to pick the jacket pocket than a pants pocket, even if you are looking straight at him!
* waist pouches (known as bum bags here in Australia, fanny packs in the US) are a little safer, but not much; they have caused the resurgence of that ancient trade, the cut-purse! They sidle up to the victim in a crowd and snip through either the belt or the bottom of the bag with razor sharp surgical scissors. Other methods include simply unbuckling the whole pouch, or gradually sliding the zipper open.
* Front pants pockets are NOT necessarily any safer than hip pockets. The difficulty of dipping a pocket mainly depends on how tight it is, and front pockets are often looser than hip pockets. A better choice is to keep your wallet in a pocket that is fastened with velcro or a reasonably tight button. If you buy new pants and there is no fastener on the hip pocket, add one. If you are forced to carry your wallet in a pocket that doesn’t have a fastener, squeeze in the biggest paperback novel that will just barely fit.
* A final point is that people keep talking about wallets. Nowadays, the target is more likely to be a mobile phone or PDA. In fact, I have been a victim of a pickpocket once, and it was my phone that was stolen, whilst coming down a set of crowded stairs at a nightclub. I actually felt her dip, turned in time to see her face, but couldn’t fight my way back up the stairs in time or make myself heard over the music. It later also turned out that those stairs were the only part of the club (other than the toilets) not covered by cameras.

joe blow October 18, 2006 7:57 PM

I was in Rome in college and I went to a market place (or something). As we were walking up I was warned by some of the other students I was with (who were italian) that this particular place was a well known place for gypsies. They told me that typically a gypsy will come up to you and try to tie a ‘free’ string bracelet on your arm while the accomplice picks your pocket. As soon as I was a few steps from my Italian looking friends, sure enough, a little girl approached me and tried to grab my arm and tie a string bracelet on. I put my hand in my pockets and said no. The strangest part was when the girl finally walked away she completely disappeared into the crowd. I foiled their attempt, but I am confident that if I was not told about the scheme 5 minutes before, I would have lost my wallet.

Seventy2002 October 18, 2006 8:40 PM

Larry Niven’s short story “Flatlander” was set in the future where overcrowded cities made pocket picking laws impossible to enforce. Instead, it was legalized. Wallets were made with a place for the owner’s address and postage. Pilfered wallets would be returned, sans cash.

George October 18, 2006 10:42 PM

In the Philippines, I am riding on the back step of a jeep-cap. I am blocking the exit by standing and holding the vertical hand holds. I feel a draft and look down and where I had placed my wallet in a hidden pocket on the front of my pants is a neatly cut (razor blade cut) hole. I am looking at the dozen fellow passengers and one of them has my wallet.

kiwano October 18, 2006 11:03 PM

I thwarted a few pickpocket attempts a few years back by using one of htem wallets on a chain in by back pocket, with the chain connected to my front pocket and my thumb resting gently on the chain while the rest of my hand sat in my front pocket. I just noticed the change in tension on the chain under my thumb and often got a decent look at the pickpocket running away without my wallet.

kiwano October 18, 2006 11:05 PM

George: one of them has your wallet, AND a blade sharp enough to cut your pants without you noticing.

ruley October 19, 2006 12:53 AM

One of the best bits of advice I was given is to put a large rubber band around your wallet. This makes it much harder to remove without you feeling anything.

J. October 19, 2006 5:40 PM

@ Roger “Front pants pockets are NOT necessarily any safer than hip pockets. The difficulty of dipping a pocket mainly depends on how tight it is, and front pockets are often looser than hip pockets.”

Not only that, also how much is in the pocket. Just combine a wallet with a passport with a DAP with a PDA with a phone. Make it so when you sit, you really do feel it very well whereas when you walk you still feel it but not much (balance depends on wether you sit or walk much). Because when you sit, it is also tighter. If you travel: take insurance, use traveller cheques instead of money, and use combinations of liquid money and digital money. I check my pockets frequently, not because I’m afraid of pickpocketers, but because I tend to forget my belongings (or fear I will). I have a jacket where I can put the wallet inside, in a zipped pocket, but it really sucks if you have to remind yourself “oh my wallet is in my jacket while I want to put my jacket off or open”.

When my aunt goes to the famous Albert Cuyp market in Amsterdam she never has anything with her except money, in her bra. No purse (it gets opened/stolen). She puts change in her pockets I think, but paper money is in her bra (mind you, not between her breast, since it can easily be grabbed out of there and yes I heard it happening). There are many pick pocketers in that area and its very crowded with a lot of pushing and slow-walking etc and I know it works well for her although I heard this from her years ago. A recent change in laws require you to always carry an ID in the Netherlands, not sure if/where she carries that.

On a week vacation to Budapest, at a gas station, I gave the guy 10000 Forint (about 40 EUR or so?) to buy beer and cigarettes for me and my friends. When I came back and counted my money since I wanted to buy something, I found out he gave my back a piece of paper worth 500 Forint, instead of one worth 5000. I normally don’t count (I tend to trust people on small amounts of money). Expensive cigarettes/beer. Such could happen in any tourist area. Taxis also asked 10000 Forint to drive us from Pest to Buda (our sleeping place for that night). We walked 15 meters futher and a guy who spoke German (not ath else) would drive us for 2500 for a 45 min walk (we walked to Pest). We had no Forints, so we gave him 20 EUR, including tip. Oh and yes what also helps is don’t dress like a tourist. Next day, in a restaurant in Pest, they tried to serve a friend of mine something she did not order. Later, they tried to make her pay for that. The food was also pretty bad, yet expensive (we knew though which was why my friend didn’t order much), but we at least sat outside. Not really a good argument for my point but I’d like to make it anyway: you need to have balls as tourist. We insisted, and didn’t give a tip either.

On Schiphol (Amsterdam airport) I couldn’t find my terminal/gate. I asked a person to help me, and he tried to help but didn’t know exactly either. We chatted a bit. It took me too long, and he took my plane ticket to view my terminal/gate, but didn’t give back. The guy was in a suit (which was why I trusted him, I assumed he worked there) and asked me if I was American (I was heading to the USA), and he was black which together with the fact he had my ticket put me off. At that moment I was angry at myself for being racist, but I realized the fact he had my ticket was my actual concern, not color (Nigerian 419 scammers are based in Amsterdam). I insisted I really wanted my plane ticket back. He said oh no big deal, give back, said he wanted to drink coffee w/me, but I thanked him and went sitting on a bank with my belongings between my legs. Nothing happened, and I cannot say he was trying anything, but I did learn a person in a blue suit doesn’t necessarily work as airport personel (doh?!).

On a train station in Den Bosch, Netherlands a guy once asked me a EUR for a cup of coffee. I took my wallet, took a EUR, noticed we watched in my pocket, gave him the EUR, and quickly put it gone again. I walked to a snackbar, went back to catch my train (food on the train station is expensive and you have to wait anyway so why not take a fresh walk), and there someone who was staying in a group, came to me, asking me for a EUR for a cup of coffee. I said I already gave him one 15 minutes ago and quickly walked to catch my train.

In various major cities in the Netherlands people try to sell coke to you. Wether you sniff coke or not (I don’t but sometimes play along, asking if he has asperines or sth instead), just say no and walk away. Some may insist. Thing is, a recent survey by a journalist figured out all they sold was either total crap (0,3g claiming was 1g), some other cheap replacement, or you get scammed. If you are in the Netherlands and wish to consume drugs (some come to the Netherlands for that also) then don’t buy illegal drugs, but buy your marihuana in a so-called ‘coffeeshop’ outside the tourist area, and your other drugs (e.g. ‘smartdrugs’) at a so-called ‘smartshop’. Don’t buy drugs on the street. You get ripped off, pick pocketed, robbed and in the very least you don’t know wtf you are buying (but you never know that w/certain drugs). Don’t piss of these streetsellers either, they may become aggressive. And, don’t smell like marihuana when you get back to your home country. Put fresh clothes on. Just as precaution.

There’s also ATM scams in the Netherlands. They go from 2(+) people standing behind you one distracting you, to pricks installing a camera on a ATM machine (no kidding). I always look around me before I go to my ATM, cover the keypad with a hand, and I prefer to not withdraw money in city (crowded) prefering town instead and finally prefer not have a lot money w/me. If you’re together, one person can turn their back to you, looking around and covering what you are doing (the camera on the ATM by the bank registers you, and if pricks installed one, that one would too).

My other aunt runs her own shop and sells expensive clothes. She has learned to ‘detect’ the type of person who’d (investigate to) steal some of her assets. I think, if you get pick pocketed enough or have scam experiences, eventually you’ll get more aware and more careful, too. Believing it won’t happen to you with a shiny “tourist” attitude, won’t serve you. However if you knew how cheap she gets her clothes, you’d say her legit business was a scam as well. The irony.

I am more worried on robbers, criminals and people who steal electronic devices btw. I am a tall guy, who doesn’t look strong (working on it though).

Thanks a lot linking to the informative Rick Steves article! Follow the link there, too. The person seems to be a frequent traveller. Some of the scams are really, really sad.

solinym October 23, 2006 8:01 PM

Best way to get pickpocketed is to go to the Colliseum in Rome, right across the street in the tourist mall (which has info about the colliseum and is sort of a food-court). The gypsies have lots of small children who will pick your pockets. One scam is for all of them to run up to you shouting and touching you repeatedly, so that you don’t feel your billfold being removed. Another is to have a fake baby in one arm, hand you something to read, and pick your pocket with the hand supposedly holding the baby.

And yes, these people often work in teams, doing quick handoffs to people you haven’t seen. So calling the cops will not help you much; beating the person up is probably more satisfying but less legal. 😉

In groups, form a circle, facing in, to stop them from approaching/distracting you. Alone, front pocket is good, coat pocket bad, and you can buy little pouches that loop around your belt and stay inside the pants. I use those, and if I carry a billfold it doesn’t contain much cash, and never has my passport. You might also put in a slip of paper with the old gypsy saying, “sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you”.

If mugged, take out a wallet with a small amount of cash, say “this is all the money I have”, and throw it one direction and run the other. Which way do you think they’ll go? It would probably be satisfying if the wallet was totally empty, or had a smart-ass remark. Just make sure the mugger doesn’t catch up with you….

linda October 29, 2006 4:38 PM

something i do all the time. im in the habit of carrying a change purse inside my bra cup. i do this everytime i go out even if i have pockets though most of the time i dont. i think the greatest pickpocket in the world would be challanged by this. only problem in the summer i wear tight fitting tank tops and the outline of my change purse does show through a bit. nothing i can do about that. if your a girl try it. it really works. takes a bit to feel comfortable at first. its a full proof system. linda

mary November 6, 2006 5:12 PM

i also carry my valuables in my bra. its something i see me aunts do. lots of women do this. i think it goes back a hundred years or more

badasschick November 7, 2006 10:11 AM

I would just drop the wallet/purse in front of me. When the perp is picking it up, I’d then kick their sorry head like a football. And make a necklace with their teeth. Yes, I’m a trained kickboxer. They never suspect us chicks would do stuff like that.

Ruther November 15, 2006 7:47 PM

I’ve had a seamstress sew pockets into 5 pairs of my boxer shorts. Just enough room for cash and credit card. I’ve been around the world and have only lost a camera, wouldnt fit in underwear!

nancy November 29, 2006 5:10 PM

after reading lindas post i tried it in a crowded shopping mall. wow what a great idea. you rock linda!!!!!!!

Myself April 18, 2007 1:13 PM

When in Paris across from the Louvre, just arrived in Paris so a little tired, and spouse was there also but a little ahead of me shopping at storefronts for a souvenier T-Shift or Had, had unfortunate occurence. I had my black Italian unlined jacket on which I flew with. My wallet which is thick and I am failry thin and since childhood luckily could hear a pin drop and shirts I could not wear due to the loose threads bothering me:

I got the best of a young pick pocketer. I was looking at some shirts in front of my and felt the slightest pressure in my front pocket of my pants. Luckily, usually it is overstuffed normally. Any way, I turned and saw in a blurr a hand and arm quickly retract and realized something strange was going on. I turned my neck around to the right and looked down to see a child around 15 years old looking forelornly at me with sullen eyes and a strange complexion that coiuld identified him as a gypsy. Anyway When I looked his way I realized before me was my pickpocketer. I was still tired so before I could realize what to do about him he fled of into the busy crowd. That was the close as I ever came to being pickpocketed and as you can imagine the relief I felt, and the worry I was going to still be visiting Paris for 6 more “long” days so I became much more conscoius of my pockets.

When I went on the Eiffel tower they announced it was a famous site up the elevator if people pointed up look at that! Meanwhile, they would be pickpockedted. They advised to all men to keep their hands in their pockets and their wallet in that same pocket. I kept my hand in my pockets till they were dripping sweat but my eyes gleaming I knew to take that advise serously and no buggar was goling to get my wallet when visiting the Eiffel Tower. Now I am on this site to learn more as I am visiting Paris,,,, again!

wanabe pickpocketer May 25, 2007 1:28 PM

i want to be a pick pocketer like chriss angel. you know. he has people take his pictures with him and the he takes their watch or something. then he says does any body have the time. the victim will say i had a watch on. chriss would show him his watch and walk off. it was on his scams episode of mindfreak. so does any body have any sites that i could learn how to pick pocket some one?

Chris June 25, 2007 9:23 PM

um try in google “Mastering the Art of Pickpocketing” it’ll come up w/ some site Th@t will have the dvd for about $25 amaxon is crazy and wants 6o$ i think not! so ya try that out i’m a perty good pckpocket myself and its alllllll about timing and distraction. try youtube as well i ppr3fer 2 dip w/ my thumb and index finger 4 a wallet watches r really EZ also try getting the book on amazon “pickpocket uide for magicians” something like that, but get “Mastering the Art of Pickpocketing” first the book isnt very in depth attt all! OHH AND ITS CRISS ANGEL =]

anonymous August 8, 2007 10:32 AM

i was in an arcade on a 2p machine once and i checked my pockets like you do,then carried on,bout 30 secs later i checked them again and phone…gone

anonymous September 26, 2007 10:12 AM

i work at a grocery store and have seen several women dig into there bra for money. i know this is something women do but to me it just looks cheap . espically when its a thick wallett or over stuffed change purse that they have while wearing a tight fitting tank top. nansy!!!!!!

pickpocket master September 26, 2007 10:24 PM

i am a good pickpocket.
i learned 4 years ago0 and taught all my freinds how to prevent bein pickpocketed by stealing their walets and giving them to them.
ive only ever used is on a person i know who tried to beat me up to show off.

ive gotten like $200U.S. from him and hes got no clue

OMG October 5, 2007 5:18 AM

Wow, some of you people must really have some big pants, if your front pockets are roomier than the back. I’d think that the “hip-hop” look would deter the pockpockets. You must look like rich wannabes.

nancy October 22, 2007 10:38 AM

at the beach i will carry my change purse in my bikini top. i push it down far enough so it doesnt show . i dont think that looks cheap or bad. i dont have pockets on a string bikini and its the only way i have of carrying anything.. nancy

smokey January 29, 2008 11:51 AM

I’ve been reading the above comments and it’s rather humorous to be honest.

A few tips learned by experience. “One of the best bits of advice I was given is to put a large rubber band around your wallet. This makes it much harder to remove without you feeling anything.”
Trust me, it doesn’t… no, I assure you.

And somebody else also mentioned placing things in you’re top shirt pockets is smart, not only does this make you an obvious mark but its also rather easy to extract from there as well. For example if I was going to extract your fortunes, i would be in a crowded place, tram or bus, newspaper or coat in hand and bump into you, you wouldn’t realise a thing.

If you want to keep cash safe, a hat is the best place. Otherwise, a ZIPPED hidden inside pocket is preferable for phones etc.

jack February 9, 2008 8:58 PM

I am a magician, im learning pick-pocketing at the moment to include into a magic show routine and I might add I am becoming very good at it very quickly. Learn by watching people like Bob Arno and Apollo Robbins (check them out on youtube) – It is amazing how well their techniques work.
My interest in pickpocketing started in Amsterdam, where I watched theives prowling my friends in a shop, and caught him in the act, it turns out the thief was actually the son of the owner of the shop we were in!
It is quite amazing how pick-pockets can be so friendly, they don’t see pickpocketing as stealing, but rather as a career.

nuncio May 20, 2008 10:28 AM

hello im going to be honest I AM A PICKPOCKET and have been for many many years i speak perfect english so if there is any questions you wanna ask just go ahead i will be more than hapy to comment

Main150 August 7, 2008 4:47 PM

Im currently learning pickpocketing over the summer vacation. starting off with leather watches. really a good time spender, and seems easy enough since i found an e-book on it on the internet. as for the real pickpocketing goes… theres this kid in my school who always keeps his wallet in his baggy back pants pocket. so, guess what ima do to teach him a lesson?

(PS then ill give it back)

mike September 4, 2008 7:34 AM

at my school we are doing an engineering project, the project involves a world problem and my partner and i have picked pickpocketing as our problem. the only problem we have run into so far is that we cannot really run tests and finding experts on the topic. i was wondering if we could have some help.

sillymanny September 7, 2008 4:07 PM

In travel to many parts of the world, this is my anti-theft procedure: front pants pockets are twice as deep as normal with an inside velcro pocket within. Shirt has zippered chest pocket. Jackets have the inside pockets zippered or velcro. The zipper pockets cannot be opened without unbuttoning the jacket. Finally, I keep only the day’s operating documents in pockets, using a loop over the belt wallet and under clothes waist belt which I tuck into pants. Any seamstress or tailor will make thes alterations for a small fee, much smaller cost than theft. I have been bumped, squirted with mustard (bird poop they said), had screaming gypsies, choke and grab men, others. Another tip, put a shopping bag with bits of junk in it in the top or outside of carry bag, the thief gets a handfull of jam or sandwich wrappings rather than anything good. Also consider getting a wire mesh bag, which you lock to yourself or something else when sitting e.g., on train, eating.

lisa December 11, 2008 2:59 PM

can i ask nancy if she has ever forgot she had a change purse in her bra and went for a swim? doesnt a change purse kind of make a bulge?

Lila June 21, 2009 8:48 PM

i want to learn how to pickpocket, fast but it seems harder then it sounds. Is there a way to practice it w/o going on the streets?

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