I was standing in a big crowd during a concert on a street in São Paulo, Brazil. My friend was in front of me, looking in the same direction. A guy came from behind, shoulder-checking me. He said "sorry" and stood on my left. I instinctively patted my pockets, to find the right one, where I keep my phone, empty. I looked at the guy who passed me and he said "look, there are some children running away from here, maybe they have your stuff". I looked around and didn't see anyone running though. A few seconds later my friend pointed at the ground and showed me my phone lying down there. There's no chance it fell out, I was standing still in fairly tight pants.

Also, few minutes later, I saw a credit card lying down on the street, as it turned out, it belonged to a woman standing next to me.

I'm quite sure the guy who passed me was trying to rob me. Is it a common/well-known strategy of pickpockets? Is there some sensible purpose to throw stuff on the ground (to pick it up later when I leave?), or is it possible he simply panicked and dropped it?

  • This is a known strategy for pickpockets. – Andrew Lazarus Oct 2 '17 at 5:18

This is a known strategy, when pickpocketers feel caught. They throw the stolen goods on the ground to get rid of the evidence. In Italy, you frequently see wallets on the ground of the subway, where the pickpocketers have just taken out the money. You can see an example here: Youtube

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