National Geographic

A platform for pickpockets

By

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,…

Read More

Criminal scavengers, and poets as well

By

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…

Read More

A seafood orgy with thieves

By

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

Read More

A pickpocket party begins

By

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…

Read More

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

By

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

Read More

A missing wallet, nakedness, email from a thief

By

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…

Read More
Andy demo: "The best pickpocket"

The best pickpocket, self-proclaimed

By

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…

Read More

Getting used to cameras on me all day

By

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…

Read More

Just listening flatters the thieves

By

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…

Read More

Pickpockets, meet the film crew

By

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….

Read More
Frank's hand

The human side of cold, heartless criminals

By

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

Read More

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

By

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…

Read More

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

By

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…

Read More

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

By

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

Read More

Bob Arno “Pickpocket King” National Geographic documentary

By

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…

Read More