Famed picketpocket Apollo Robbins is like a magician — only his tricks are real. There are no smoke and mirrors behind what he does. Instead, Robbins is an expert at distraction. To do his work, one also has to have very agile fingers. In this video, Robbins reveals his secrets.
Robbins — a legend of sorts in the craft of pickpocketing — has stolen (and returned) items from a host of celebrities: Jennifer Garner’s engagement ring, Charles Barkey’s wad of cash, Ace Greenberg’s watch. But Robbins, 38, is probably best known for emptying the pockets of Jimmy Carter’s Secret Service detail in 2011.
According to Adam Green of the New Yorker, while Carter was at dinner, Robbins struck up a conversation with the Secret Service. Within minutes, unbeknownst to them, their pockets were practically emptied of everything but their guns.
“Robbins brandished a copy of Carter’s itinerary, and when an agent snatched it back he said, ‘You don’t have the authorization to see that,’” wrote Green. “When the agent felt for his badge, Robbins produced it and handed it back. Then he turned to the head of the detail and handed him his watch, his badge, and the keys to the Carter motorcade.”
Green writes that he met Robbins in Las Vegas and that he was lively and expressive — and that he saw him in action, his swift fingers dipping into the pockets of unsuspecting tourists.
“Don’t worry, I give everything back,” Robbins said.
Read more about Robbins in Green’s article – an in-depth look at the fascinating life of a pickpocketing legend who’s none to shy about sharing his secrets.