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ShawnMilo
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I saw a TV special on the Travel Channel a few months back, and I wrote about it as part of an article on misdirection. Since my daily blog is fairly new, I'd appreciate some other Café members having a look and giving me feedback (e-mail or posted comments) on what I have so far.

http://milocast.com/?p=8

Thanks,
Shawn
Expertmagician
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I do recall hearing on one of those shows that women's cleavage or even removing their top was more common than you expect.

Fights or roudy behavour is also common to distract attention.

Bear in mind that casinos are not stupid. Whenever they see or hear something unusual, it raises their antennas to look elsewhere because they too suspect misdirection.

It is like when you walk into a store and they have a sign that says "Watch out for pickpockets". Many people touch their wallet to make sure it is there. This tells the pickpocket where to hit. When I see that sign, I intentionally touch the wrong pocket. (Maybe I should make sure the "wrong pocket" has a recently used dirty tissue Smile ).

I react that way because I was educated....much like casinos are educated.
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ronfour
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What stores have a "Watch out for pickpockets" sign?
Dannydoyle
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The only scam that was ever proven by the guy hosting that show is his scam to get the travel channel to believe he knew ANYTHING about scams in the first place.

The sign in question actually was in the "tube" in Englandn for a spell.

As for "distractions" in a casino, often this is one of the reasons for the sepporation of departments. Security will usually respond to such things, where as the "eye" will be on the games, and at times even MORE vigilant. You only have to rewind video a couple times before you get the idea.
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
ShawnMilo
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Quote:
On 2007-07-06 11:08, ronfour wrote:
What stores have a "Watch out for pickpockets" sign?


In the TV show they just had one out on the sidewalk. They just had a camera rolling and you saw nearly everyone walking by touch their pockets or handbags. Then they had a magician performing on the street and drawing a crowd, while an accomplice took items from the spectators. The items were returned by the victim being asked to come up and assist the magician, and then being asked for their cell phone or whatever. When they were unable to find it the magician produced the item.

Another interesting point here is that most people, upon not finding their item, immediately began checking other pockets -- assuming they had mislaid it. That's a real advantage for the crook, because he's long gone before they have decided that it's really missing.
Expertmagician
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Quote:
On 2007-07-06 11:08, ronfour wrote:
What stores have a "Watch out for pickpockets" sign?


Macy's department store used to have one in their front lobby years ago when pick pocketing was an issue in New York. They though they were helping customers be aware...little did they know that the sign had a negative effect ;-)
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Police Magician
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Very well written post, Shawn. I like the concept of the con men angle as well. That scam was known as "Rocks in a Box" many years ago. I enjoy watching some of the scams shown on television. Court TV asked me about some scams many months ago and I sent them my lecture notes on various street scams.

Misdirection plays a role in a lot of things. Even in law enforcement it happens. One night, we were summoned to a high priority call on another part of town while a burglary was in progress on the other end. Be aware of your surroundings and environment.

Glenn
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Quote:
On 2007-07-06 14:55, ShawnMilo wrote:
Quote:
On 2007-07-06 11:08, ronfour wrote:
What stores have a "Watch out for pickpockets" sign?


In the TV show they just had one out on the sidewalk. They just had a camera rolling and you saw nearly everyone walking by touch their pockets or handbags. Then they had a magician performing on the street and drawing a crowd, while an accomplice took items from the spectators. The items were returned by the victim being asked to come up and assist the magician, and then being asked for their cell phone or whatever. When they were unable to find it the magician produced the item.

Another interesting point here is that most people, upon not finding their item, immediately began checking other pockets -- assuming they had mislaid it. That's a real advantage for the crook, because he's long gone before they have decided that it's really missing.

I have never seen a sign like the one in question, but it used to be a fairly common technique for a member of a pickpocket mob working a crowd, such as a carnival or county fair, to periodically shout out a "warning" about pickpockets, to get the marks to tip where they were carrying their wallets.
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Expertmagician
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I distinctly recall the sign just inside of Macy's revolving door entrance on the 34th street and 6th avenue entrance.

If my memory serves me correctly, it was probably there during the very late 1960s to early 1970s.

The reason I remember it is because my magic friends used to joke about it as we used to watch people and laugh Smile

Those were the days when Macy's has wooden escalators instead of metal Smile
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Whit Haydn
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Guys in New York who do the "rocks in a box" scam are called "flyers." Another variation is to wrap a rock in an empty box, expertly decorated with artwork photos and logos cut from magazine and newspaper ads to look like a new camera or video device and then they shrink wrap it.

When done right, it looks like it came right off a truck. They then will come up to a car at a red light, and acting like they need to make a deal really, really quick, they sell the empty box for twenty to fifty bucks.

People looking for cheap bargains--who don't care how they are come by--get taken by this every day. Just find the people who want something for nothing, and you can give them nothing for something.
Police Magician
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Very well stated, Whit. I remember the "warning" about pickpockets at carnivals. Although I never heard it myself, I have spoken with others who did.

Jeff, I know NYC had a public service alert for the Three Card Monte sometime ago, I suppose Macy's put the sign up due to a rash of problems with pickpockets. I did visit NYC in 1969. Our fear was getting mugged on the street. I did see a guy get shot outside the hotel we stayed in.

It is not until the problem occurs that people want to do something about it. I see this when people call about starting a Neighborhood Watch program in their area. It is always better to be proactive rather than reactive.

Shawn, you started a great thread, thanks.

Glenn
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Fortunately Rudy Gulliani really cleaned up New York....New York is very safe now...they even cleaned up 42nd street / Times Square which was the heart of 3 card monte and hookers back then.

He even cleaned up the mob...at least in the most obvious areas like construction, the fish market, etc.

Come back and vidit...you will see a big difference !
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ShawnMilo
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Quote:
On 2007-07-07 12:01, Police Magician wrote:
<snip>
Shawn, you started a great thread, thanks.

Glenn


Glenn,

Thank you. I'm very happy that my posts have raised important topics, and it's interesting to hear some of the stories posted above. I had never heard about the Macy's or carnival pickpocket stories.

In case anyone only read that one story, please check out http://milocast.com/ in general -- I have a handful of posts up there, and a couple of them have gotten great responses on another part of the Café.

Shawn
Police Magician
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Jeff, I was a deputy in Sullivan County, New York for some years before moving back down to Georgia. When I first visited NYC in 1969, it was as a tourist and teenager (17 years of age). Quite an experience for the first time. I have been to it several times in later years and did see a difference (of course I could carry a gun being in law enforcement). I have relatives on Long Island that I would love to visit again.

Shawn, thank you for the other posts. I identified with reading the part where the sandwich shop woman gave you problems. This is common with some people, so don't let it bother you. Just do as I do when my fiance' starts that stuff; stop the routine, put it up and refuse to do it anymore since she cannot follow directions. I am honest with people (which sometimes gets me in hot water).

Keep up the good work. Glenn
Expertmagician
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One other short version of a long story....

In the early 1970s I was watching a 3 Card Monte game in Times Square and a Jamaican Merchant Marine (in uniform) approached me and asked me if I knew of a local brothel.

So I pointed him in the right direction (there were many in NY at that time) and he asked me and my friend to hold his money for him while he was inside....In a nutshell, he tried to pull the Pigeon Drop Con on us.

Bottom line, was that a plain clothed police officer hopped out of a passing cab and solved the situation....Of course, his Jamaican accent disappeared very quickly Smile

It was an interesting story that I will remember the rest of my life....If I did not know magic, I would have been conned !
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Police Magician
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Chalk one up for magic. Glad you were not a victim in this incident. If more people just stepped back and realized what was going on, con artists would be out of business.

Glenn
NJJ
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0y3aKYqckmI

Here is a similar story but with a MUCH more attractive presenter.

:)
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