Illusions come in many forms. An illusion can be used for entertainment, amazement, bewilderment, but also for conning unexpecting people. Pickpocketing uses the art of illusion to steal, but it’s trickier than it looks. In fact, the victim won’t even see it happen most of the time. Removing personal property from someone is an art in itself and one of the most difficult ones to master. Especially since it is nearly impossible to practice. Now you see it, now you don’t!
Pickpocketing is currently trending due to ‘Focus,’ the feature film starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie. The movie chronicles the trials and tribulations of a professional con man and woman, who develop a romantic relationship in true Hollywood fashion. Will Smith trained with master manipulator and pickpocket expert Apollo Robbins for the role.
“We tried to find what’s a different type of con or organized crime group that hasn’t really been approached by Hollywood and how could that be developed in this film,” said Robbins in an iTricks interview.” We sought to show authenticity without exaggeration where people just bump into people and steal their wallet.”
As one of the top Seattle magicians (http://AceOfIllusions.com), I use pickpocketing as a form of entertainment. It never fails to draw laughs and confusion from my audiences. I’m able to use sleight-of-hand and misdirection to distract volunteers, and much to their surprise, snag some important items off their person. Watch closely—you may just notice the theft in action. My pickpocketing acts can be done on stage in front of a large audience, or roaming through an event for a close-up experience. Here’s an example of my pickpocketing skills:
Just remember to never lose focus.
*Photo via IMDB