A “hypnotist thief” used distraction techniques
made famous by TV illusionist Derren Brown to pickpocket the owner of a
wine merchant in north London.
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This is the first time such a crime, which took place at 9.45pm on 11 September 11, has been captured on CCTV footage in Britain.
Dressed in a black bomber jacket, the suspect is around 5 foot 8, in his early ‘30s and “of Eastern European appearance” with short black hair.
Entering the wine shop, the suspect brushed past Haider as he put a bottle of wine on a shelf, tapped him on the arm and made a gesture with his right hand that appeared to leave Haider mesmerised.
He then reached inside the shop owner’s trouser pocket and pulled out his wallet. The thief then mimed the gesture of a pregnant woman’s tummy as Haider turned to face him.
He then reached into his other pocket and pulled out hundreds of pounds in a wad of notes before tapping him on the shoulder again and walking out of the shop.
Snapping out of the trance, Haider called after the thief, who made a quick exit onto Archway Road.
“The victim remained motionless and unable to stop the robbery taking place,” detective sergeant Dave Bullock told the Evening Standard. “The suspect’s distraction tactics appeared to have worked,” he added.
Magician Damien O’Brien believes the merchant may have previously been hypnotised by the suspect to implant “trigger” words into his subconscious.