To a pair of pickpockets in London, Lionel Skidmore looked like an easy target. The thieves mounted a bus, then immediately turned and got off, pushing past Lionel, who was just getting on. Checking and noticing that his wallet was gone, Lionel ran after the perps and demanded the return of his wallet. One thief took off. The other pointed to the ground, where the wallet had been dropped. Nothing was missing from it.
The novel part of this story, to me, is that Lionel’s wallet was deep in his pocket, attached to a chain. Granted, the metal ring attachment was a weak one, according to Lionel, but the pickpockets didn’t know that when they decided to take the wallet.
This reminds me that there are no rules in pickpocketing; or rather, that there are, but they’re all bustable. For example, how many of you have heard that wrapping a rubber band around your wallet makes it harder to steal? Hands up. Right, I thought so. No, the thieves tell us—a rubber band makes their job easier. It gives them something to grip, and it keeps the wallet closed, preventing corners from catching in the extraction.
It’s easy to think that a wallet on a chain is safe (no comment on the fashion statement it makes). You’d think that pickpockets would move on to an unchained wallet—the vast majority of them. Turns out that the chain makes a handy little extraction tool. And according to Lionel, a long-time chain-user, most chains are cheap, Chinese-made metal with weak attachment rings.
Lionel showed us his new, heavy-weight chain-attachment-ring. Looks strong! But it’s threaded through a thin layer of worn, flimsy leather at the corner of his wallet. Easily the weakest link in a weak system. A useless grommet, freed from the loose leather, slides around the ring. Lionel feels his chained wallet is secure. His (false) sense of security allows him to travel the world with confidence.