How to Pickpocket - Survival Fitness Plan

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How to Pickpocket

In this article you will learn some basic pickpocketing techniques.

Learning how to pickpocket someone is a valuable skill when escaping your enemy. Knowing a few common pickpocket techniques will also help you in pickpocket protection.

What is a Pickpocket?

The standard pickpocket definition is "a person who steals money, wallets, etc., from the pockets of people, as in crowded public places." - (via

The pickpocket is a gray man. He or she is someone that other people overlook and don’t worry about. Achieve this non-suspicious persona and you will have one of the most powerful techniques of a professional pickpocket.

How to Pick Pockets

Here is a basic four-part method for how to learn to pickpocket and will teach you how to pickpocket wallets, though you can adapt it for other things.

1. Choose a Mark

A mark is a person you plan to use your pickpocket tricks on. He is your victim.

Choose the person with the most value. On the street, this would be someone with a lot of money, and/or car keys. As a captive, you might choose someone who has the keys to your cell or a weapon.

The only way to determine who has what is with observation. If you need money, go to places where money is visible, such as ATMs, racetracks, bars, and banks.

Older people are easier marks because they often need help, which allows you to get close. They are also less sensitive to your moves.

Once you have a mark, tail him until an opportunity presents itself.

2. Determine Location

Never attempt a lift (the act of taking something) unless you know where an item is.

Watching where your mark puts an item of value is the most reliable way to confirm its location. Another option is to look for the weight and/or shape of the object. Your mark may check it periodically, placing his hands on it to make sure it’s still there.

The back pocket is the easiest to lift from. A skilled pickpocket can get to any pocket, but as an amateur, you should avoid:

  • Tight pants.
  • ​Front pockets.
  • ​Inner jacket pockets.
  • ​A wallet placed side-on (that is, in a position where the fold of it is not directly up or down).

3. Wait for or Create an Impact Distraction

Pick your mark’s pocket is when he is distracted. People can only concentrate on one thing at a time. You want him focused on anything that isn’t you or what you want to take.

The best type of distraction is one that has a small physical impact with him. This is because any sensation from a greater force nullifies that of a lesser force. For example, if someone taps him on the shoulder, he is less likely to feel you removing his wallet.

Impact distractions can occur naturally in crowded places, or you can create them. For example, you can spill something on him (preferably something hot) or bump into him while pretending to be drunk.

4. Lift the Item

The two-finger snag is an easy way to lift items of various shapes and sizes, such as a phone, keys, or a wallet, especially if they are in a rear or outer coat-pocket.

Stand behind your mark and make a narrow "V" with your index and middle fingers.

Place your fingers inside his pocket, just far enough to touch the item, but no more.

Jerk it out quickly and forcefully as the distraction occurs.

The two-finger snag.

When you have the time, such as when you’re waiting in line, you can nudge a phone or wallet up bit by bit. Make sure your hands are visible after every big push.

Aborting the Lift

If a suspicious mark turns around, throw the wallet on the floor and then pick it up, saying "I think you dropped this."

When caught before the lift is complete, play it off as an accidental bump.

If accused, deny everything. Run if needed.

How to Practice Pickpocketing

Learning how to be a pickpocket is a skill, and like any skill, it requires practice for you to get to be any good at it. You need to put yourself through pickpocket training.

Practicing this pickpocket exercise on real marks is not a good idea, but practicing on real people is essential, as they can provide feedback. If you need a cover story, tell them you are learning pickpocket magic.

When a real person is not available, use a mannequin, a coat on a chair, and/or trousers filled with rags.

Pickpocket Prevention

There are many other techniques for picking pockets, but the pickpocket guide explained above is (arguably) the easiest to master with the highest chance of success.

Now you also have a better idea of how to avoid pickpockets in Europe or any other place you end up in the world.

Did you find this article about how to pickpocket useful? If so, please share it with your friends.

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Now, after nearly two decades of relentless training, refining, simplifying, and perfecting the Survival Fitness Plan, Sam is eager to share this transformative program with the world.

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