filming thieves

Guatemala pickpocket

Guatemala City Pickpockets

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Almost gone for good, finally. Our lucky wallet, our favorite thief-bait, would have been stolen in Guatemala City by a stone-faced woman backed by…

A platform for pickpockets

A platform for pickpockets

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Denouement. None of us wanted to leave the park. After the demos, the dinner, and the as-yet-untold experience on the buses, after the conversation,…

Criminal scavengers, and poets as well

Criminal scavengers, and poets as well

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Bob gets cold feet. Overnight, reality began to percolate and bubble over the exhilaration of yesterday’s thieves’ challenge. By morning it was clear to…

A seafood orgy with thieves

A seafood orgy with thieves

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Dinner with thieves, continued. Carafes of white wine land on the table. I join Andy and Lou and have beer. Among much laughter, the…

A pickpocket party begins

A pickpocket party begins

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Dinner with thieves. It’s 3:00. The film crew’s still perfecting camera angles, lighting, and table arrangements. I’ve taken my seat as requested, so cameras…

Overly careless behavior repels thieves—but don’t try it!

Overly careless behavior repels thieves—but don’t try it!

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Anticipation. Frank has RSVPed by email, with enthusiasm. But what about the others? Will they come to our dinner? I wonder about the restaurant…

A missing wallet, nakedness, email from a thief

A missing wallet, nakedness, email from a thief

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Thieves find us, more. It was a big day for us, and for the whole documentary team. The lowlifers stealing Bob’s wallet, finding Marc…

Andy demo: "The best pickpocket"

The best pickpocket, self-proclaimed

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Thieves find us, continued. We’re not looking for pickpockets; just busy filming pickup shots on the bus for the documentary, when known thieves Marc…

A lowlife, drug-addled pickpocket

A lowlife, drug-addled pickpocket

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Thieves find us. “Police, police! She took my wallet!” That’s Bob screaming at ear-splitting volume. Not his usual reaction to pickpocketing! Usually, he turns…

Getting used to cameras on me all day

Getting used to cameras on me all day

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On making a documentary. As I said, you’d think a documentary is just a camera following the action—but the action must be lit and…

Just listening flatters the thieves

Just listening flatters the thieves

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Thiefhunting, Day One, still more. This is an old-fashioned town, lightly touched by the 21st century. Vendors ply the streets like the horse-and-buggy days…

Pickpockets, meet the film crew

Pickpockets, meet the film crew

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Thiefhunting, Day One, more. We’ve been standing in the tiny coffee bar more than an hour, speaking loudly. Eventually, the owner throws us out….

Frank's hand

The human side of cold, heartless criminals

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Thiefhunting, Day One, continued. Bob and I were on a high, having found a talented pickpocket team on the first bus ride of our…

Bob Arno “Pickpocket King” National Geographic documentary—part 6

Bob Arno “Pickpocket King” National Geographic documentary—part 6

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Thiefhunting, Day One, continued. As we synchronize our thiefhunting plans with the film crew, I’m newly appreciative of Michele, our London-based sound recordist, who…

Bob Arno “Pickpocket King” National Geographic documentary—part 5

Bob Arno “Pickpocket King” National Geographic documentary—part 5

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Thiefhunting, Day One. Fully half the day is spent rigging hidden cameras. I’m wearing a button camera attached to an awful button-down shirt that…

Bob Arno “Pickpocket King” National Geographic documentary—part 2

Bob Arno “Pickpocket King” National Geographic documentary—part 2

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“Are you wearing a bra?” That was one of the first sentences directed to me upon landing in our location city. We did not…

Bob Arno “Pickpocket King” National Geographic documentary

Bob Arno “Pickpocket King” National Geographic documentary

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Day 1—TIME TO MAKE an announcement. Our long-dreamed of, long-worked-for project has become reality. Bob and I are making a documentary about pickpockets. The…

Bob Arno on “Pickpocket King”

Bob Arno on “Pickpocket King”

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Hi, Bob Arno here. First, thank you all for passionate comments (here and here) on our National Geographic documentary, Pickpocket King. To a certain…

Naples pickpockets dinner party pickpocket king national geographic documentary

Our National Geographic documentary “Pickpocket King”

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Bob and I are thrilled to announce the world premiere of the documentary we shot late last year with National Geographic. Pickpocket King features…

Spilled secrets

Spilled secrets

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I guess I spoke too soon and too much about our documentary project. I held back information, but not enough. Our producer has asked…

Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—21

Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—21

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Denouement. None of us wanted to leave the park. After the demos, the dinner, and the as-yet-untold experience on the buses, after the conversation,…

Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—20

Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—20

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Bob gets cold feet. Overnight, reality began to percolate and bubble over the exhilaration of yesterday’s thieves’ challenge. By morning it was clear to…

Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—19

Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—19

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Dinner with thieves, again. But wait— there’s more! The day isn’t done. And though we want nothing more than to sit and process our…

Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—18

Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—18

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Dinner with thieves, continued. Carafes of white wine land on the table. I join Andy and Lou and have beer. Among much laughter, the…

Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—17

Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—17

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Dinner with thieves. It’s 3:00. The film crew’s still perfecting camera angles, lighting, and table arrangements. I’ve taken my seat as requested, so cameras…

Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—16

Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—16

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Anticipation. Frank has RSVPed by email, with enthusiasm. But what about the others? Will they come to our dinner? I wonder about the restaurant…

Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—15

Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—15

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Thieves find us, more. It was a big day for us, and for the whole documentary team. The lowlifers stealing Bob’s wallet, finding Marc…

Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—14

Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—14

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Thieves find us, continued. We’re not looking for pickpockets; just busy filming pickup shots on the bus for the documentary, when known thieves Marc…

Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—13

Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—13

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Thieves find us. “Police, police! She took my wallet!” That’s Bob screaming at ear-splitting volume. Not his usual reaction to pickpocketing! Usually, he turns…

Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—11

Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—11

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On making a documentary. As I said, you’d think a documentary is just a camera following the action—but the action must be lit and…