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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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….

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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