If you’ve ever been abroad, chances are you’ve been pickpocketed – whether you’ve known it or not.
Whether it be pocket change, a pair of sunglasses, or something a bit more vital to your travels like your wallet, there’s a good chance you’ve come across a thief at one point or another.
Catching them, though, is a different story – unless you happened to take a picture of it.
Posting to Reddit, user MedardBoss explained he was taking a photo of his girlfriend outside a temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand with two children in traditional dress holding her arm. While you may just think it makes for a great travel photo, it caught something a bit more sinister.
After they left, her watch was gone. And the photo solved the mystery.
Wondering how the thieves were able to steal her watch so easily without her feeling anything? Turns out there’s a science to it.
Reddit user Jibsand says the trick to thievery is misdirection.
There’s enough stimuli going on that your brain lumps in the sensory information with everything else. That’s why pick pockets always bump into you. Between getting hit and balancing yourself, you don’t notice your pocket getting lighter. A lot of times they’ll apologize and help you right yourself too, since they’re friendly you don’t even suspect anything. Scammers and shoplifters use similar logic.
And user Sunbrick agreed, saying: “That’s why magic tricks and illusionists work. You distract with words, touches in other places, and you don’t feel the touch where it counts.”
So next time someone bumps into you, it may be a good idea to check for your wallet.