FUN! Featuring the World’s Best Pickpocket!

January 5, 2013 at 6:17 pm (Icepick)

You can read the whole thing here, but first a sample to whet the appetite:

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.


  1. A said,

    Love this!

  2. wj said,

    The essence of magic (and I have heard Penn say this) is misdirection. And clearly misdirection is exactly what Robbins did: misdirected Penn;s attention. Touche!

  3. karen said,

    Love Penn.
    Funny, that- Penn’s pen.

  4. Icepick said,

    I’m not sure if you read the whole article, wj, but if you didn’t I should mention that Robbins is a student of human attention and perception. There were a couple of other examples within the article of him actually telling people what he was doing to them and they still didn’t realize that he had actually done it to them! They just thought he was describing how it would work, not that he was walking them through it step-by-step.

    And Karen, somehow it didn’t hit me that it was Penn’s pen. Nice!

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