Fascinating look at how pickpockets work

via Kottke

New Yorker has a profile about?pickpocket?and magician Apollo Robbins:

A few years ago, at a Las Vegas convention for magicians, Penn Jillette, of the act Penn and Teller, was introduced to a soft-spoken young man named Apollo Robbins, who has a reputation as a pickpocket of almost supernatural ability. Jillette, who ranks pickpockets, he says, ?a few notches below hypnotists on the show-biz totem pole,? was holding court at a table of colleagues, and he asked Robbins for a demonstration, ready to be unimpressed. Robbins demurred, claiming that he felt uncomfortable working in front of other magicians. He pointed out that, since Jillette was wearing only shorts and a sports shirt, he wouldn?t have much to work with.

?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.

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

 

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