Recursive Theft
A thief's loot is taken by someone else.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-01-08 14:13:39 sponsor: matsuiny2004 edited by: crazysamaritan (last reply: 2014-07-26 12:13:30)

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An item or person is taken by someone, and then taken again. It can form the bass of a plot if the original owner of the item chooses to steal the goods back from the thief instead of relying on the police.

See also Double Caper, Stolen MacGuffin Reveal, MacGuffin Melee, Colliding Criminal Conspiracies.


  • In the fourth Artemis Fowl book, The Opal Deception, there is a painting ("The Fairy Thief"), which has been stolen from thieves who have stolen it from thieves about fifteen or so times, IIRC. Artemis intends to be the youngest thief to steal it.
  • In Cradle 2 the Grave, Fait steals the black diamonds from Ling and in turn has them stolen from him by Chambers. It might even be that Ling stole them in the first place making this a doubled version.
  • In one episode of CSI: NY, a boy is shot in an allyway by a mugger, but his brother appears to be hiding something. It turns out he and his brother robbed the bank (to get enough money for their mother to pay the rent) and the mugger (a career bank robber who was casing the joint at the time) robbed them.
  • The pilot episode of Dark Angel had Max steal a cat sculpture from Logan (who she didn't know at the time). Only to later have Logan break into her apartment and steal it back, and uses the act to try to recruit her. She was more than a little shocked and "betrayed" to have her personal space violated like that. Logan even apologizes over it.
  • Despicable Me: Right after Gru steals a Shrink Ray from a secret facility, Vector steals it from him. Gru's attempt to steal it back using three orphan girls is what kickstarts the plot.
  • In The Elderscrolls IV Oblivion, in order to get into the Thieves Guild, you have to steal a journal. If someone else steals it before you, then you get a chance to steal it back.
  • Not A Penny More, Not A Penny Less has victims of stock fraud conspiring to steal back their money.
  • The Princess Bride. After Vizzini kidnaps Buttercup, the Man in Black tries to acquire her.
    Vizzini: You're trying to kidnap what I've rightfully stolen.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons Homer gets conned out of his house by a grifter and his son, who sqat in Casa Simpson and won't leave or let the Simpsons in. Homer manages to outcon the con artist to get his house back.
  • Lina Inverse from Slayers uses this as a justification for her practice of robbing bandit lairs. "If I stole from thieves, this is honest!"
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, Ralph has his medal (which he got in another game not playing by the rules) stolen by Vanellope.

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