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Topic: Pick Pocketing Question
Message: Posted by: Full Effect (Jun 1, 2002 01:07AM)
I'm not sure if this thread can go here but I was wondering if anyone knows any books on pick pocketing?

Thank you
Message: Posted by: Joe M. Turner (Jun 1, 2002 06:57AM)
Jim Ravel's Theatrical Pickpocketing is one reference, but as the title suggests, I think it's more in the vein of stage pickpocketing as opposed to "the real deal."

By stage pickpocketing, I mean the type of thing you see at magic shows, often with the "I can steal the shirt off your back" finish.

Message: Posted by: Thoughtreader (Jun 1, 2002 12:23PM)
Mark Raffles has both a book and a video out. The book is excellent!
PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
Message: Posted by: Andrew Wong (Jun 1, 2002 11:24PM)
Greg Wilson' on the spot!! :wavey:
Message: Posted by: Allen Gittelson (Jun 3, 2002 04:24PM)
I do have Jim Ravel's "Theatrical Pickpocketing," and as indicated by Joe, it is a good reference for a pickpocketing stage act or perhaps if you want to incorporate some parts of a pickpocket act into your show. Since it does cover pick pocketing, it includes information that relates to how people can have their pockets picked by people on the street, etc, but that is not the focus of the book. Jim Ravel did a pick pocket act and used some magic tricks that are very touchy feely (read: physical) to condition his participants to be accustomed to the touching so that he could pick their pockets, which was the main act of his show.

It is an interesting read. I have not used much of this information, other than to guard myself from pick pockets. I did use the shirt steal (which is also in The Jinx & Practical Mental Magic) to steal a person's shirt off his back on stage in Vegas in front of a crowd of over 1300 people. It went over well as it was totally unexpected. One tip on this steal is to make sure your helper has unbuttoned all the buttons. My helper somehow forgot about one button when it came to the actual showtime (rehearsals were great). The removal took 2 pulls on the shirt as opposed to the prefered single pull. This did not really lessen the effect, but my helper did lose one button, and looked a bit more surprised on stage due to the remaining button. Hey, that's showbusiness. This was just a tiny comedy bit from a larger effect.

In thoughts,
Message: Posted by: Stuart Hooper (Jun 22, 2002 06:21PM)
Yeah, be careful pickpocketing cause you can get burned say, on the street. However, if you put things into peoples pockets rather than take them out, you can do some really cool stuff. Use coins, cards whatever. Scothch and soda is good for this. :stout:
Message: Posted by: Depasco (Jul 3, 2002 03:43PM)

try the video of Chappy Brazil - the watch steal video. A great video to learn the watch steal with any kind of watch bands...
Message: Posted by: danny (Jul 4, 2002 03:43AM)
Pickpocketing for fun and profit can be got from many dealers one being http://www.magicbypost.com
Message: Posted by: HuronLow (Oct 13, 2002 01:04PM)
I was really wondering. do you guys steal rubber buckle watches. Chappy mentioned not to do so. Howevever, lots of people do wear those kind of watches. Advice please! thanks! :goof:
Message: Posted by: Rod Lages (Oct 13, 2002 02:36PM)
Any good video or DVD abou pick pocket?

Rod Lages
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Oct 17, 2002 01:58AM)
David Maurer's out of print book, "Whiz Mob" is the best and most informative book ever written about the real work of the professional pickpockets.

It is a fascinating read, with a lot of great background information and some real insights on the technique of the genuine thieves.
Message: Posted by: Ron Giesecke (Nov 14, 2002 12:41PM)
I always thought it funny that the late Chappy Brazil and Charles Bach indicate that one should stay away from the rubbery band watches. True, they are unwieldy and bind up a lot, but it makes more sense to me to avoid the flex watches, and for that matter, any watches that come off over the wrist.

In my opinion, there are no natural ways to do this. Of course I either take watches during a sponge ball routine or during my cups and balls routine (leading the spectator through the wand sequence, holding them by the wrist). I for one, do not do routines that require enshrouding scarves, or tortured manipulations of the spectators. reasonable people here may differ, but I tend to narrow my watch steal requirements, to guarantee a higher success rate.

I took two last night at a United Way fundraiser, and the supersonic scream from the table was partly responsible for one of the largest donations of the night. waiting for the right moment trumps trying to get every one that comes along, any day.
Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Nov 14, 2002 02:50PM)
On 2002-11-14 13:41, Ron Giesecke wrote:
but it makes more sense to me to avoid the flex watches, and for that matter, any watches that come off over the wrist.


I agree with this Ron, but where there is a will there is a way.

I had a very nice thumb tie type routine that I got from Magic magazine. It was a Ricky Dunn trick (Ricky was a genius!).

Anyway, while you were shackled you put your hands in a black bag. I found that when sticking the spectators hand inside this big bag to check it out, under cover I could yank a twist-o-flex or a tag type watch right off their wrist and no one was the wiser.

The idea of grabbing a watch from inside a bag was something Mike Bent told me. Mike is also a genius! Not to mention funny as anything.

The thing just worked a treat. If I ever go back inside to work it might be something I'll do again.
Message: Posted by: Ron Giesecke (Nov 15, 2002 12:37AM)

Cool story. I never doubted the fact that it can be done. I just don't perform routines that are that prop-saturated, if that makes sense.

One of these days, I'm going to have to meet you. You contribute a lot of great thinking, and deferential to your influences as well. It's a nice thing.

Message: Posted by: tkuhns (Nov 18, 2002 11:48PM)
Has anybody heard of Gene Turner? He certainly has the domain name (http://www.pickpocket.com)

My father, who is a nurse, met him in a hospital waiting room, where he was entertaining the other nurses with sponge balls and watch stealing. One guy had the metal band watch that slips off your wrist, and he was keeping the heat on it. Of course, somehow he got distracted. The next time he looked at his wrist, he had another person's watch on.
Message: Posted by: Ron Giesecke (Nov 21, 2002 07:14PM)
I'm sitting here reading a book called [i]Complete Course in Pickpocketing[/i], by Pierre Jaques, By Tannen, 1983. pretty cool book.

Bascomb lent it to me.
Message: Posted by: UJ (Nov 25, 2002 09:48AM)
There is a terrific section about pickpocketing in Derren Brown's "Absolute Magic". He doesn't discuss technique very much but the applications are crazy... For instance, he had a lady describe to him where exactly her watch was sitting in her bedroom and the watch materialized in Derren's hand. It was presented as an example of teleportation... She was convinced that she'd left it at home.

Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Nov 25, 2002 12:29PM)
Ron, that little book is excellent. Check out the bluff move with a wallet he teaches. The one where you put a folded newspaper back instead of the wallet. I use that gag all the time in my bar/club act. It works well and gets a reaction as if I actually dipped the wallet! I get credit for having more skill than I actually have!
Message: Posted by: sdgiu (Nov 26, 2002 04:29AM)
You guys are the reason I keep my wallet in my front pocket with my hand on top of it in crowds. :rotf: I have wanted to do the pickpocket tricks since I was a kid, but I always thought it was a fake, guess I'll have to buy some books and practice on my friends. :baby:
Ps I've never lost my wallet, but I do seem to replace alot of watches... :confused:
Message: Posted by: MxJoKeR (Dec 5, 2002 09:04PM)
I'm wondering, and I guess you guys are the ones to ask, but in comparison to magic effects, how long must the average magician practice pickpocket/watch stuff to be performance ready? I know it's always different, but what is your experience?
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Dec 6, 2002 06:08AM)
Whew, that is a real poser of a question. Pickpocket acts much like manipulation acts require constant practice. But then any good magic act, regardless of the type of the act (manipulation, comedy magic, illusion, etc.), requires constant rehearsal and practice to keep fresh and smooth. Most pickpocket stunts require great physical misdirection (touching, shoving, moving, verbal barrage, etc). The true secret to pick pocketing is to create sensory overload in the victim. Simply put, the victim is bombarded with visual, auditory, and kinesthetic cues simultaneously. It is impossible to respond to that much going all at the same time.

In general, learning the basics of a pick pocketing stunt probably takes the same amount of time as learning the basics of any magic trick. That said, I learned to “dip” a wallet from a pants pocket, unnoticed, in minutes. I have diligently practiced my “invisible pass” for years and it still isn’t (invisible!)! Oh well…
Message: Posted by: Merlin! (Dec 7, 2002 12:20AM)
I don't know about you, but I only do pick-pocketing/watch stealing on people who I know fairly well, I couldn't bare the thought of being caught half way through while doing it on a stranger.
Message: Posted by: genemccarthy (Sep 24, 2005 09:29PM)
Two site for Whiz Mob book;



Message: Posted by: swee (Oct 15, 2005 06:31AM)
James coat is the person you should see!!
Message: Posted by: the_houdini_jester (Oct 15, 2005 02:56PM)
On 2002-06-22 19:21, Stuart Hooper wrote:
... However, if you put things into peoples pockets rather than take them out, you can do some really cool stuff. Use coins, cards whatever. Scothch and soda is good for this. :stout:

I was wondering, How would you get a coin into someones pocket? I tryed it on my friend(his name is Danzig here), but he just yelled at me when I tryed to get the coin into his pocket, he said it made him think I was trying to do "Something".

Message: Posted by: Dave V (Oct 15, 2005 03:26PM)
Like any other, it's a skill that requires practice, and some good misdirection.
Instead of "pick pocketing" it's called "put pocketing."
Message: Posted by: glatner (Oct 21, 2005 04:25PM)
Greg wilson has a "watch steal" manuscript out. it's around $10 CDN. I suppose you could go tp the local penitentiary and ask for some advice...
Message: Posted by: Roland (May 23, 2009 11:56PM)
I remember an afternoon in Rome many years ago, when I was living in Paris, watching the gypsy kids pickpocket the tourists walking to the coliseum. Everyday, all day, they would fleece the big red tourists in shorts and tennis shoes, wearing a fanny pack on the front side. Five to fifteen kids would come to the tourist, pulling on them, putting their hand out, and asking questions that were unintelligible. The oldest kid standing directly in front of the victim would hold a newspaper horizontally over the fanny pack and literally zip it open and go through it. There wasn't a direct view due to the newspaper over it. The kid would go through the wallet, take the cash, look into the passport, and go through the entire pack. Finally they'd put everything back into the pack (except the cash) and zip it closed. When finished, the kids ran off and nothing would be noticed until dinner time.

What amazed me most was how easy it was and how unaware the victims were. So, be confident when pickpocketing on stage and be careful when traveling!!!