If there were a criminal hall of fame with an award for the coolest criminal, it would have to go to the pickpocket. Pickpockets are sneaky creatures who manage to function exactly one degree below the radar.
Pickpockets whisper through society, undetected and undeterred. They are subtle and brazen at the same time. They are like bed bugs, crawling on you and injecting numbing venom that prevents you from detecting their bite until it’s much too late. They aren’t violent like a drug-crazed mugger, or confrontational like a stick-up robber. They have more gumption than criminal hackers, since they don’t hide behind the anonymity of the Internet.
NPR reports that nowadays, picking pockets has become a rare and increasingly difficult crime, thanks to “stepped-up surveillance in most public places,” the dismantling of systems of apprenticeship, heftier sentences, and the widespread use of debit cards.
One pickpocket is quoted as saying,…