The Definition: The Pinch-Push Pocket Pick is an excellent description of this snatching technique. It describes the actions taken by the dip to setting up the mark for a smooth and undetectable pick.
The Mark: Usually a male. Always a male who has not heeded advice that he has probably heard countless times before: NEVER carry your wallet in your back pocket. Remember the dips credo – out of sight, out of mind, out of pocket.
The Scam: This simple little hustle requires two hustlers; one to do the dip, and one, called the “runner” to handle the getaway. Naturally, any crowded street or public place is ideal for these scammers. In a typical shopping center situation, the runner will position himself at the top of a bank of escalators, casually reading a newspaper, while the pick-pocket will linger near the bottom waiting for an appropriate mark. Sadly, there are probably many to choose from – carelessness abounds.
Having chosen a likely target, our dip follows him onto the up escalator, which, in turn, is a signal for the runner to start down. Now for the technique: the dip first pinches the material of the mark’s jeans, which, because the wallet is between the pinch and the mark’s skin, the mark does not feel it. At the same time, using another finger, the dip pushes the wallet up till it is exposed above the top of the pocket. Because the pinch has moved the pocket away form the mark’s body, he now does not feel the push. All that remains is to time the lifting of the wallet with the passing of the runner on his way down.
When their relative positions are exactly right, the dip easily lifts the wallet the remainder of the way out of the mark’s pocket and deftly flicks it across to the down-side of the escalator. There, as you can imagine, the runner is waiting for the toss with his opened newspaper, which catches the wallet basket-style. A quick couple of folds of the paper and the wallet has disappeared, so even if the mark has sensed something…by the time he realizes that he’s been robbed, any evidence against the dip is long gone.
The Lesson Learned: The lesson to be learned here is no different than any other pickpocket lesson. If your wallet is easy for you to reach, it’s easy for him to reach. It may be slightly more uncomfortable, and slightly harder to get to, but if you carry your wallet in your front pants pocket when you leave your home, you have a much better chance of returning with it.