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Pickpocket, as practiced by some magicians "for entertainment purposes only", is the act of "stealing" items off a person without their knowledge.

Also called "Stage Pickpocketing", it has enjoyed a long association with conjuring depending on sleight-of-hand and misdirection.

Compars Herrmann and his younger brother Alexander Herrmann both did pickpocketing acts as publicity stunts.

Possibly one of the first performers to make it a centerpiece of their act was Fred Brezin, an English magician of French extraction, who was performing in London by 1906 as “The Original and First Pickpocket”. [1]

It was being shown as an act on the stage in London around 1929 by the Italian Dr. Giovanni who continued performing it into the 1940s. It was also being done on the American stage in New York that same year by Walter Sealtiel.

The heyday of stage pickpocketing came after World War II. Borislav “Borra” Milojkowic , a Serbian living in Austrian, went by the stage name “Borra - The King of the Pickpockets” and was a star of night clubs, variety’s and circuses throughout Europe.

One of the common effects performed in a pickpocket act is the Watch Steal.

Other magicians known to have performed pickpocket acts include:


  • The Professional Stage Pickpocket by Ricki Dunn (2006)