Originally posted on TED Blog:
If you ever meet Apollo Robbins in person, hold onto your wallet. The professional sleight-of-hand artist, who has been studying magic for more than 25 years, made headlines in 2001 when he pickpocketed Jimmy Carter’s Secret Service detail, taking their badges and even the keys to the motorcade. Since then, he has gained a reputation as the best pickpocket in the world, taking things (and giving them back) from more than 250,000 people at his long-running show in Las Vegas and at private events, where he’s swiped all sorts of loot, from Jennifer Garner’s engagement ring to Charles Barkley’s cash. His pal David Copperfield calls him “my favorite thief.”
[ted_talkteaser id=1821]Robbins, who was born in Plainview, Texas, in 1974, was taught by his older half-brothers how to steal from people on the street. And as he explains in today’s fascinating talk, given at TEDGlobal 2013, being a successful pickpocket is more about “controlling someone’s attention” and “predicting human behavior” than anything else.