The Watch Steal

This is a popular steal, and one that is described in detail in other works. In essence, you take the spectator by the wrist from above, your thumb pressing against the face of the watch. Your third finger is naturally in position to find the end of the strap, and to walk it up through the buckle. This sante finger pinches the same end of the strap, against the second finger if need be, and pulls it up and clear of the pin. Keeping the strap up and back, the fingertip pushes the pin down, and keeps it there. The strap is released and the watch is pulled away in palm position. Who needs pictures?

Like many non-exclusive pick-pockets. I only work with leather straps. One can afford to be opportune. If I only see metal straps, I don't steal any watches. I would, however, refer the enthusiastic novice to the Watch Steal Video of Chappy Brazil.

The important issues here are how to start performing the steal with real people, and what misdirection is needed. I find, the best idea is to begin by practising on yourself: placing a watch on backwards and learning the basic technique. Next, find a willing guinea-pig (this is a figure of speech which I hope travels across the Atlantic. Fitting a real guinea-pig with a watch and then repeatedly practising the steal can be distressing br the animal and is just plain unkind), preferably one who would like to learn the steal too, and practise on each other.

You will note when it is practised upon you that with the thumb pressing against the face of the watch, the strap is raised from the back of the wrist and the steal is not felt as much as you would imagine. However, the real key to making this work most effectively is confidence (which begets speed) and the occupying of the spectator with some task.

What tasks? The novice brings out his plastic finger-chopper. This disastrous item aflords him every reason to grasp the spectator's wrist. Well, that seems to me to be a disadvantage on all sides. Not only are you performing a bad trick for the sake of performing the steal, you are also allowing everyone to backtrack and know when the watch was taken.

The first important point to take on board is that if you are known to be a magician. performing at the time, it does not matter ~f you nzess up the steal. Watches will always get stuck now and then and you will occasionally be caught. Make the most of the embarrassing moment and ham it up. It is potentially very funny to be caught in the act. Similarly, if you are in a small group when the watch becomes stuck and you feel that you have been discovered although the spectator has been obliging enough to say nothing, then look at it disdainfully and say, 'That's not coming off is it The spectator will laugh and his tension at realising your efforts will be released. The rest of the group will be caught off-guard and find it mildly entertaining as well.

It may be odd to recommend making this admission. In a larger group, it is certainly better to play to the audience and steal items without worrying too much if the spectator has felt one or two. A watch or belt that gets stuck is worth persevering with, as long as your victim does not let the audience know that he is aware of what is going on. But in smaller groups, the first question that is always asked of the spectator after a watch is returned is "Did you feel him take it?" II he answers in the affirmative, it is suddenly tremendously disappointing for the entire group. Better to abandon the steal and make a joke of it.

So bearing that in mind, I suggest that the best moments to steal a watch are as follows:

Taking the spectator by both wrists, the steal can be made while moving him from one seat to another, before you begin an effect. You may wish to sit with one person to perform a piece, and ask the spectator if he wouldn't mind exchanging seats with you.

• Similarly, the steal can be made as you bring a spectator over to participate. You guide him arowid the table or across to it, or perhaps just stand him up, asking his name and telling him to trust you and so on. (Always tell them to trust you as you steal from them. It's one of the perks of the job). While perfonning this or the above steal, it is necessary to press a little harder with the other hand against the other wrist while you remove the watch. This is the tactile misdirection: the essence of pick-pocketing.

Asking for the loan of a ring from a lady as you sit to her left, you take her left wrist with your right hand and place her hand into your left. You then massage her fingers a little as you ask her about one of the rings. As she answers, the steal is made: if she keeps looking at the rings, you may wish to misdirect her to the other hand by reaching across her and taking it with your left hand, allowing her left arm to drop (signalling her to lose interest in it) but keeping hold of it as you steal the timepiece.

• If you must give something to someone to hold, have him hold out his hands, as you sit to his left and guide them into position for him by grasping his wrists. Ask if he is left- or right-handed, and whichever he says, release his right hand and place the object on it and allow the left wrist (with the watch) to drop in the same way as before. Tell him to squeeze the object in his hand. You have plenty of time to make the steal here, and the attention has been on the right hand for some time. However, further cover can be gained by touching him on his right shoulder with your left hand in a cautionary gesture as you tell him to keep his hand absolutely still, or some such instruction. This action should block his view of your hand on his left wrist as the steal is completed.

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  • Razanur
    How to mentalism for stealing?
    2 years ago

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