Ex-Pickpockets And Magicians Share 20 Changes In Fashion Trends That Affected The Way They Steal

Published 2 years ago

Skinny jeans – you either love them, or you hate them. However, it seems that skinnies are no longer the trend. Let me present to you what’s hot – boyfriend jeans, mom jeans, dad jeans, grandpa jeans…I definitely have missed out on some. What’s next? Stepbro jeans? Whatever. This is not really why I started ranting about the jeans, and you’ve already seen the post’s title. So apparently, skinny jeans have made pickpocketing harder while other loose-style pants have made it more convenient. Interesting, isn’t it?

So a while ago, Reddit user Sir_Slamalot decided to learn more about specific fashion trends that affected pickpocketing. They asked former pickpockets of Reddit, “What changes in clothing fashion made your job harder/easier?” And many delivered. However, other than sharing where NOT to put your valuables, some people shared practical advice on avoiding potential theft. Take a look. Do you have any helpful advice to share? Or, perhaps, you’ve been pickpocketed yourself? Share your answers in the comments!

More info: Reddit

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Image source: TheSump, Manuel Iallonardi

Surely the iPhone jammed into the shallow back pocket of girls’ jeans so the top half is just right there on display must be the biggest invitation? Hell, I’ve been tempted to have a go just to see how easy it is.


Image source: BuddyBizarre, Ally Griffin

Relevant experience. I was getting off the subway in central Athens. In retrospect I was a perfect mark, carrying two bags jetlagged and a bit disoriented. Was walking away from a train and a guy was running to catch the train going in the opposite direction. Just bumped into me ever so slightly and it took a few seconds to register that I felt the slightest hint of his hand going into the breast pocket of my suit jacket. By the time it registered I turned around and caught his eye just as the doors to the train were closing. And I grinned. My suit was a special travel jacket (the “Envoy”) made by Rohan with zip pockets on the inside and some other nice features. Definitely saved me as that was where my wallet was.


Image source: RecreationalChaos

Chains… tough guys who like to wear chains are great targets! They’re normally too cocky to pay attention to anyone other than who they are talking to and their chain is normally connected to a wallet. In a club setting with so many people (and distractions), it is remarkably easy to bump into someone while lifting their wallets free from their back pockets and having your spotter come in for the snatch and grab. 75% of the time they won’t notice until you’re already gone and the rest of the time you have a perfect exit strategy.

Had family with a legally questionable definition of fun


Image source: Treczoks, Emil Kalibradov

I had a pair of trousers once that stopped a guy picking my wallet. The pockets had a narrow opening but were wider on the inside, so I could only pass them through the opening in a certain way. Whenever I put my wallet back in the pocket, I rotated it 90° inside the pocket to prevent (originally only accidental) loss, but this also stopped a boy pickpocket in Berlin from getting successful. He managed to get away, though.


Image source: TheWindCriesVee, Bluewater Sweden

Leggings have made it impossible.

Baggy jackets and shirts inspired by hipsters, on the other hand, have made my job a lot easier. Sadly, they only usually have roll-up tobacco on them, so it’s not worth it.


Image source: Rhanii, Jason Leung

I know several magicians who use pickpocket skills in their act, they all agree that the small and shallow pockets common in women’s pants make pickpocketing easier.


Image source: mrwhibbley, Vitezslav Vylicil

Worked as a magician that did pickpocketing in my act. No one wears watches anymore. Those that do wear stupid plastic Fitbits. Those bands are harder to lift. Also, people don’t wear their shirts tucked in as often. Harder to lift a wallet with the shirt covering the pocket. It can be done but it’s hard to identify where the wallet is in the first place. Finally, those losers (yes, you are a total loser) that wear their pants sagging down and their a*s hanging out, it’s super easy to pick a wallet, but it’s impossible to see where the wallet is if it’s not sticking out. Plus, I am guessing these stars of fashion don’t have much in the wallet, to begin with.


Image source: speaklouderpls, Jose Luis Espindola

The fanny pack made things very difficult for a while, thankfully it’s not very fashionable anymore. That doesn’t mean I don’t wear one…


Image source: NWBoomer, Brian Evans

We were in Europe earlier this fall. I wore pants that had zippers on the pockets where I kept my wallet, they would tug at the pants so I would easily notice. My credit cards, extra cash, and passport were in a money belt under my shirt. I never thought about my watch being taken, a cheap Timex.

We noticed people wearing their backpacks on their chest, not on their backs, mostly in Paris.


Image source: anon, Chris Hunkeler

Cargo shorts made it soooo easy to snag phones and wallets from my friends. I’d always do it as a party gag.


Image source: Roman_Statuesque, Geoffrey Crofte

Obligatory not a pickpocket, but I was told a good method was to wrap your wallet with a rubber band or two. Makes it much harder to pull it out. My brother tried it and told me he had trouble pulling it out normally.


Image source: anon, avat fathiazar

Won’t give specifics, but joggers.


Joggers have crazy leg room, and most people with joggers are teens with rich parents, meaning if there’s a wallet it has 400 at least, if there’s a phone it’s usually an expensive one. Vape pens are commonly seized as well.


Image source: Gooblygoo68, Luve Christian

Women’s pants where it looks like they have pockets but don’t, it just becomes me randomly feeling the side of a women’s leg


Image source: riso2015, Eli Christman

I’m a 23-year-old and a magician. I do a bit of pickpocketing and reverse pickpocketing during my routine. Anyone who is wearing tight clothing, or shorts has made it pretty much impossible to steal from or ditch items to. Anyone wearing a hoodie has made it super god damn easy.

UPDATE: Also I should say that if you come up to me wearing a suit, and suit pants I’m going to steal everything you have by the end of my show. It’s stupid easy to steal from someone wearing a suit.


Image source: timesuck897, Ryan Moreno

In a cracked article by a former pickpocket, apparently skinny jeans are like safes for your wallet.


Image source: canadiangrlskick, engin akyurt

As a white girl traveling alone in Manila, I was a huge target. Twice I caught children (like under 8) with their hands in my purse.

Luckily I’m a pretty seasoned traveler. The purse is really more for a water bottle, a snack, maybe a map, etc. Very small amount of cash in my front pocket ( tight-ish pants) and a money belt with the essentials (more cash, credit card, passport or photocopy, depending on the rules of the particular country)

That said, I once had my wallet picked out of my purse at a bar when I was in my home city. Apparently, I’m only cautious when overseas…


Image source: Southell, herryway

I traveled Europe for 6 weeks last year, I kept my wallet and phone in my back pockets and always carried my bag on my back. I honestly never even thought about my things being stolen. The only time I was aware of pickpockets was in Paris, in the train station. A group of 4 young teenagers, two girls, and two boys. They were lingering at the entrance and would watch for unsuspecting travelers. They would line up behind you in the line to get your ticket and try to steal your stuff. Luckily for us, the nice lady in front of us, knew what they were trying to do and pointed them out to us. They weren’t too impressed about that haha.


Image source: lavachequipisse, Russ Quinlan

Saw an ex-pickpocket talking about his trade on telly once. (Yes we’ve reached that point in the barrel!) He said that they would stand near the London Transport posters warning passengers on the tube against pickpockets. The passengers would instinctively pat the pocket their wallet was in to check it was still there. Then the pickpockets would follow them and dip the pocket they’d patted.


Image source: artreject

I store important things like my phone and cash in my bra. Best pocket ever, since women don’t get pockets on their pants. Plus I figure I would notice a hand down my shirt.


Image source: muffintaupe, Godisable Jacob

Not a pickpocketer, but have lived in pretty bad pickpocketing capitals (NYC and Paris) and never had a problem. Also, a woman, so that makes things easier fashion-wise.

Keep your purse in front of you. If it’s to the side, at least keep the zipper in front of you. Ideally, keep your hand over the zipper/opening. Strap across the body if possible

Use coats with interior pockets. No one can get to them unless your coat is open.

If you’re on a bus or subway, pay extra attention/keep a good grip on your stuff while the doors are open. Not exactly pickpocketing but someone can rip your phone from your hands and run off the subway just as the doors are closing.

Don’t trust anyone approaching you on the street. I’d rather be rude than have something bad happen to me.

tl;dr don’t put s**t where someone can just reach in and grab it and your s**t won’t get taken

Violeta Lyskoit

Violeta is one free soul. She feels the most alive when traveling to new places and seeing the beautiful world out there.

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