Magicians are asked to look at pickpocket techniques as follows:


Sexual Distraction

This is a technique used mostly by women in the business of picking pockets or males with women as accomplices.


Bumping and Jostling

A classic among those who trade in picking pockets, the pickpocket bumps a mark. The bump distracts the mark from noticing the tool (slang for pickpocket) picking pockets with him before the two of them part ways.



This is a ‘my-bad’ moment, contrived by the tool to distract the mark. It could be ketchup or mustard squirted on the mark’s shirt or a drink spilled on his person. While the mark is preoccupied with wiping the stain off his clothes with the aid of the pickpocket himself or an accomplice, the pickpocket will nimbly pry away the valuables from its owner.



An unwitting tourist or foreigner, or perhaps a frail and elderly person, will most of the time appear lost and needing help in finding their way. A pickpocket may approach this type of mark and appear to be helping him, all the while picking the pockets of his prey.


Pity me, please! 

The typical behaviour of a person on the street when coming into contact with a disabled person, a person wearing a sling or using crutches is to avoid eye contact and look away. The pickpocket who acts like he or she is disabled takes advantage of this temporary distraction to go ahead with picking pockets.



Is the drunk and overly friendly person who just slung his shoulder around you really drunk, or is he picking your coat pockets, pants or purse? Is that well-dressed gentleman who had a little chat with you about politics and business while waiting for the train and later shook your hand before leaving really what he appears to be? Where then is your watch?



A tool who uses surprise techniques would use tactics like accidentally knocking a mark’s hat or glasses off him, prying the loot from him while pretending to apologise. He could also have an accomplice throw something at the mark and then use the moment of distraction to claim his prize.