To recap: In the train station, Dad’s first mistake was to conspicuously give money to the kids, then put the rest in his front pants pocket, against the body, pocket fully zipped, (so apparently safe) but the pickpocket knew exactly where to go.
Dad is now on high alert. Having been left alone to guard the luggage, he knew he was a prime target for pickpockets, and was in fact actively watching for them at the very moment of the heist. How then, did the scalawag manage to sneak up from behind, unzip Dad’s front pants pocket, make a ‘withdrawal,’ and then melt into the surroundings without being detected?
Easy. In fact, the pickpocket was almost 100% certain of success, with the only real risk being that someone else would see them and raise the alarm.
Here’s what happened.
We know that pickpockets use distraction, moving in while the victim is watching the ‘action.’ Dad compounded his first mistake (of conspicuously putting money into his pocket) by doing exactly what he was left behind to do: He was “watching” the luggage. But by focusing on the luggage, he inadvertently created the distraction that left his ‘six’ unwatched.
The pickpocket saw money go into the pocket, the rest of the family left, and after half a minute, could see that Dad’s attention never left the luggage.
Scalawag was accompanied by Scoundrel and Lowlife. They approached Dad from behind, behaving as if they were with him so that no passersby notice anything amiss. Had dad turned toward them, they would casually stroll away as if they were just passing through. This is something they practice, and can react instantly in the same way to a trigger. “If his head turns, everyone walk that-a-way.” Lowlife and Scoundrel pretended to study a map or tour guide, while their bodies shielded Scalawag from view. Scalawag carefully unzipped the pocket and separated Dad from some cash. Then they went to a nearby café for a cookie, and to watch for their next victim.
Tip: The jitterbug dance involves relatively small moves and changes in direction. Add a little jitterbug to your sentry duty. If you’re guarding something in an open space, you can keep your attention on that something and also protect your ‘six’ by simply moving around. Shift positions and angles, somewhat randomly, so there’s no way for pickpockets to predict where to set up the screen or the heist. By being unpredictable and mobile, you’re automatically making the pickpocket work hard and take more time, which they don't want to do. Chances are that they'll move to easier pickin's.
Too Bad Dad! You should have done the east coast swing.