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[[quoteright:350:[[Webcomic/SaturdayMorningBreakfastCereal http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_smbc_pickpocket_2_5366.gif]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:350:"Hey, stop him! That guy just stole that suit's man!"]]-]

->''"This fell out of her pocket when I accidentally bumped into her. Took me four goes."''
-->-- '''The Doctor''', ''Series/DoctorWho'', "The Beast Below"

In short, a thief pickpockets something off of someone, disguising the act as an accidental bump on the street. The theory goes that a brief, seemingly harmless touch presents all the opportunity a skilled thief needs in order to take what he wants off an unwitting target.

The marking quality of this type of encounter is that the thief usually tries to make as small a deal about bumping into the victim as possible, hurrying away before the mark realizes what happened. This is usually accomplished by a quick "Sorry," and brisk walk away from the protagonist.

[[CrashIntoHello Bumping into someone]] in fiction can indicate a wide range of events, from an [[MeetCute early romance]], to [[EstablishingCharacterMoment introducing]] a [[TheKlutz clumsy character]] to showing that the new character is simply prone to [[JerkAss shoving people out of the way]]. What these events all have in common however, is that it is usually made apparent right away why the collision took place. There are times though, when someone will bump into the protagonist, and despite a suspicious amount of attention being given to the moment, the protagonist will play off the event as nothing, and little further attention is given to the collision even though it obviously [[TheLawOfConservationOfDetail happened for a reason]]. In nearly every such case, it is almost guaranteed that the colliding stranger introduced in this scene is a [[FiveFingerDiscount pickpocket at work]].

There are a couple signals that indicate this trope:

* The thief tends to have a [[TheLawOfConservationOfDetail disproportionate amount of screentime/attention dedicated to him/her]] for such a brief moment.
* The victim tends to brush off the encounter and assumes that [[GenreBlindness it happened for no reason]]. The same goes for any of his traveling companions.
* The thief doesn't make a big deal about bumping into the protagonist. The thief doesn't give his name, doesn't try to engage in any extended conversation with the victim, and generally tries to get away from his mark as quickly as possible. In general, the scene is played off to be as seemingly insignificant an event as possible.

To make it even easier, the thief tends to look shady or untrustworthy in general. If he is a child, you can expect him to be a [[StreetUrchin Street Urchin]]. If the stolen item was something [[MacGuffin important to the plot]], you can be certain that the protagonist and the thief will meet again later sometime after discovering the loss of his missing item, having deciphered [[StickyFingers what exactly happened]].

This ''can'' happen in {{real life}}, but pickpocketing in the real world is usually more complicated than how this trope is typically portrayed in fiction. Professional pickpockets tend to work in groups, and employ a variety of hybridized techniques to distract their victims that involve far more than a simple bump on the street.

While the term "percussion" is usually attributed to the family of musical instruments, as a word it simply refers to the act of one body striking another, hence the trope's name.

A {{subtrope}} of FiveFingerDiscount. Compare to AffectionatePickpocket, where contact with the mark is achieved in a [[DistractedByTheSexy more forward manner]].



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/{{Gintama}}'': Seita and Gintoki first meet when Seita pretends to accidentally bump into Gintoki and steals his wallet. Hilariously enough, not only does Seita find out that Gintoki wasn't carrying that much money but he also finds out that Gintoki had pick-pocketed him at the same time.
* ''Anime/KillLaKill'': When Ryuko Matoi is pickpocketed by a group of street kids, she sees the theft coming and gives them a half-eaten lemon instead of her wallet.
* ''Anime/RurouniKenshin'': Yahiko tries to pull this on Kenshin. [[GiveMeBackMyWallet Kaoru catches him in the act]], and when Kenshin gives the kid the wallet anyway, Yahiko [[DontYouDarePityMe throws the money back into his face]].
* ''Anime/SamuraiChamploo'', Episode 7: Fuu's money bag is stolen in this manner by a {{street urchin}} trying to fence off enough money to pay for his mother's illness. He later gets into a lot more trouble pickpocketing something else, only realizing after the fact that the victim was a gangster and the item he stole was very valuable.
* ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}'': A little boy does this to Lina Inverse. [[GiveMeBackMyWallet She catches him]] and makes him her slave.
* ''Anime/CowboyBebop'':
** Spike lets the bad guy Asimov bump him (actually grab and start to strangle him) in order to steal a vial of the drugs Asimov was carrying.
** Another variant occurs in the movie, when Spike slips a listening device into Electra's pocket while fighting her.

* In the ''ComicBook/{{Chick Tract|s}}'' "Framed!", the opposite happens when a kid bumps into Joe Harris so that one of his accomplices can plant a gun on him.
* During a flashback in ''ComicBook/{{Criminal}}'', veteran pickpocket Ivan tells a young Leo that "the bump is for amateurs". Leo is later shown being able to lift people's wallets [[spoiler: and weapons]] without them ever noticing.
* A StreetUrchin attempts this on Mechanika in ''ComicBook/LadyMechanika: The Tablet of Destinies'' #2. It doesn't work.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAdventuresOfTintin'': The pickpocket in the 2011 movie.
** Or, you know, the one in the comic: All the Thompson twins initially remember of him is that they bumped into him.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Felix does this in ''Film/TheFiftyFirstState'' to a lawyer, in a police station no less. He does it under the guise of being a confrontational ass, but he gets the key to a really nice car.
* In the ''Film/TheThreeStooges'' short Loco Boy Makes Good, Curly manages to lift $50 and a pocket watch off a debt collector harassing the elderly owner of a hotel in renovations.
* Tom Canboro in the ''Film/{{Apocalypse}}'' film series movie ''Tribulation'' disguises stealing a phone out of somebody's pocket with this, and then conveniently distracts his victim by pointing to a passing jogger, saying that he noticed that the jogger doesn't have [[MarkOfTheBeast "the mark"]].
* We see the protagonist do this in ''Film/BulletproofMonk'' during Rush Hour on the subway. One pocket turns out to have a handcuff in it, but Kar gets away. Later, the Monk does this to him to return the wallet he just took to its original owner.
* Used for a BrickJoke in ''Film/{{Casablanca}}''. At the start of the movie, we see a pickpocket at work. Later the pickpocket bumps into one of the main characters, who frantically checks his pockets to make sure his wallet is still there.
* In movies, this trope dates at least as far back as 1912 and ''Film/TheEvidenceOfTheFilm''. In this example, a corrupt stockbroker retrieves $20,000 in bonds by knocking over a messenger boy on the street, switching out packages as they're tangled together on the ground.
* ''Film/GangsOfNewYork'': Amsterdam is pickpocketed by Jenny in this exact manner.
* In the film ''Film/HarryInYourPocket'', Creator/JamesCoburn plays Harry, the leader of a band of pickpockets. Part of their stealing technique involves bumping into people.
* In ''Film/{{Inception}}'', Eames bumps into Fischer and steals his wallet, which he then gives to Cobb so that he can return it to Fischer and thus have an excuse to talk to him.
* Inverted in ''Film/{{Lincoln}}''. Lincoln's lobbyists deliberately crash into a Democrat they hope to bribe a vote from, apologize, and help him recollect his papers. It takes a second or two for the Congressman to realize that they're ''piling money into his folder''.
* At the end of ''Film/MyBlueHeaven'', Creator/SteveMartin's character, an ex-mobster, teaches two boys how to do that at a baseball game.
* In the beginning of ''Film/{{Payback}}'', the Porter has just recovered from his wounds and is out on the streets with no money. He spots a man with a passing resemblance to him so he bumps into the man to steal the man's wallet. Porter not only takes the cash but also uses the man's ID to make a number of fraudulent credit card purchases.
* ''Film/TheSting''. While Doyle Lonnegan is walking through the train to the poker game, Billie (Gondorff's girlfriend) bumps into him and steals his wallet. He doesn't notice until after he loses big at the poker game and tries to take it out to pay off his debt.

* In ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'', one character steals some diamonds from someone by bumping into him in the market. [[ImpossibleThief Despite the fact that he had swallowed the diamonds for safe keeping]].
* Raiders of ''{{Literature/Gor}}'': A girl is sentenced to slavery for being a pickpouch (Goreans don't have pockets) of this type. Bosk buys her and insists that she keep her skills sharp by allowing her to steal anything in camp, with the caveat that she must return whatever she steals within an hour or face serious consequences.
* ''Fraternity of the Stone'' by David Morrell. The protagonist wants to be a spy like his CoolUncle, who gets a Hong Kong StreetUrchin to teach him this technique. In order to graduate, he has to rob the urchin without him noticing. As a distraction, he hires another urchin to throw a fruit at his head.
* In ''The Twisted Thing'', Literature/MikeHammer gets TheGlomp from the murderer, who takes the opportunity to [[ItWorksBetterWithBullets remove the magazine from his Colt automatic]].
* ''Literature/OliverTwist'': Happens to Fagin when he runs into a gang of young pickpockets.
* In "The Man Who Was Clever," a mysterious stranger collides with Jerry Stannard in the street, mere seconds before one of UsefulNotes/ScotlandYard collars him for drug trafficking. No one is more astonished than Jerry when the bobbies find nothing on him. Of course, Jerry is eternally grateful when the pickpocket who relieved him of a package of pure cocaine reveals himself to be [[Franchise/TheSaint Simon Templar]].
* ''Franchise/StarWarsLegends'':
** A pair of Bothans pull this stunt on Wedge Antilles and Corran Horn in ''[[Literature/HandOfThrawn Vision of the Future]]'', with one of them doing the bumping and grabbing while the other distracts the marks by loudly berating his companion's clumsiness. Corran, a former police officer, is naturally suspicious of the incident but doesn't realize what happened until a little too late (and is incredibly embarrassed at having fallen for it).
* ''[[Literature/HeraldsOfValdemar Take A Thief]]'' refers to a two-person version of this as the "shake and snatch". The "shaker" bumps into the mark (fairly hard) on the street, the "snatcher" pickpockets the mark while helping him catch his balance.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Parodied in an episode of ''Series/AngieTribeca,'' when Dr. Scholls gets a ferret out of a cage simply by bumping into the Fish & Game officer holding it. Taken UpToEleven in the slow-motion flashback, which reveals that during the bump she took the cage, swapped the ferret for a box of Pop Tarts, applied lipstick, gave a passionate kiss to a nearby policeman, returned the cage to the officer, and then apologized for the bump.
* ''Series/BabylonFive'': Happens to Sheridan, where the thief steals the comlink.
** ''Series/{{Crusade}}'': Happens to Max. Dureena recovers it, and tells Max that the pickpocket was clumsy, which is the only reason she took it back.
* 1960s ''Series/{{Batman}}'' episode "The Joker's Last Laugh". Batman discovers a tiny loudspeaker built into Commissioner Gordon's cufflink. He deduces that the Joker, who is a "master conjurer" (AKA stage magician), brushed into Gordon and switched cufflinks. Batman then reveals that in that single bump the Joker also managed to wrap several feet of an induction-receiving antenna around Gordon's waist and down his left trouser leg! Gordon then remembers that an oddly dressed person did bump into him on the subway that morning, confirming Batman's theory.
* An episode of ''Series/{{CSINY}}'''s ColdOpening has Mac catching a pickpocket (who manages to hide his stash before they grab him) just before running into the VictimOfTheWeek. [[spoiler:They later find a security camera video of said pickpocket bumping into their suspect and realise that he stole a camera with vital evidence on it.]]
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E2TheBeastBelow "The Beast Below"]], the Doctor does this to Mandy Tanner to get her wallet to give Amy an excuse to look for her. Thing is, he's not especially subtle: it took him four goes, and when Amy goes looking for Mandy, she finds the girl waiting for her, because Mandy noticed the attempts.
* ''Series/TheEqualizer''. Inverted in "Dead Drop" where the object is to plant something in their pocket, rather than steal it. Jimmy hasn't done this for a while, so another operative helps by gaining the person's attention first. Mickey Kostmayer, who's [[TheGunslinger more comfortable with shooting people]] than the mundane aspects of intelligence work, fumbles this so awkwardly he just gives up and hands it to the person.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Firefly}}'', Mal is rambling on about something, when a kid bumps into him in passing. Without missing a beat, Mal grabs the kid by the collar, [[GiveMeBackMyWallet takes his money out of the kid's hand]], and sends him on his way.
* ''Series/TheHardyBoysNancyDrewMysteries'': the episode "Voodoo Doll" has the Hardy Boys wandering the streets of New Orleans during Mardi Gras. As they're distracted by the parades, the camera focuses on a passing woman moving through the crowd & deliberately bumping into them, lifting both brothers' wallets and walking away. It takes the Hardys a few seconds to realize their wallets are gone, and when they try to chase the woman, she's vanished into a nearby bar, kicking off the plot & getting the Hardys involved in TheVillain's plot against a visiting ambassador.
* ''Series/{{Leverage}}'':
** Parker often does this. A key element for her is that her character has no concept of personal space. Interestingly the actress was actually trained in how to do the lifts for real and was told that the key is soft hands, often combined with this trope.
** In the second season episode where they face off against a team of rival counterparts, Parker and the other team's master thief get into a competition doing this to the owner of the auction house. Unfortunately, between the two of them they get a little too aggressive and steal so many things from him in such a short amount of time that he notices (his pockets are suddenly empty, his watch is gone, and his security badge is no longer attached to his jacket) and immediately closes the public viewing, doubles security, and puts the police on alert about a potential pending break-in.
* {{Inverted}} on ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' during a {{flashback}} to [[DaChief Vance's]] probie days. Another agent bumps into him and discretely hands him a passport for an op in Amsterdam.
* Happens several times in ''Series/PersonOfInterest'', including an electronic example in "Blue Code" where Fusco does this to spoof a magnetic ID card. In "Trojan Horse", Finch comes up with a complicated plan to get a USB stick from an executive, only for Reese to do this trope instead.
* A sci-fi version occurs in the ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' episode "Random Thoughts". On a planet of telepaths where there's a black market for violent thoughts, someone bumps into [[{{Tsundere}} B'Elanna Torres]] and 'steals' her instinctive mental response, which is to imagine herself punching him in the face.
* This trope shows up a number of times, along with the other pickpocketing variants, on ''Series/WhiteCollar''.

[[folder:Tabletop RPG]]
* ''Starblazer Adventures'', based on the 1970's-80's British science fiction comic book. The "Bump and Grab" stunt allows you to take advantage of a distraction (such as bumping into someone) to pickpocket them.
* Creator/{{Chaosium}}'s ''TabletopGame/ThievesWorld'' RPG (1981). The Game Master's Guide to Sanctuary had a plethora of random encounter tables. A couple of the entries had pickpockets bumping into the {{PC}}s in order to steal from them. Other encounters mentioned a {{NPC}} bumping into a {{PC}} so players wouldn't think that everyone bumping into them was a pickpocket.
* ''Witch Hunter: The Invisible World''. The Grab and Run talent allows the user to brush into a target and relieve them of their belongings.

* In the opening scene of ''Theatre/CyranoDeBergerac'', a pickpocket includes this technique in his lesson as he teaches some young trainees the art of pickpocketing while at the theatre.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedII'': Ezio can do this to random people on the streets.
** So can [[VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIII Connor]] and [[VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIVBlackFlag Edward]].
* ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireII'': Patty does this to you a couple of times.
* ''VideoGame/FireEmblem 8, the Sacred Stones'': Colm bumps into Eirika during one cutscene and steals her [[MacGuffin Lunar Bracelet]]. Eirika doesn't quite realize what happened until after Colm has escaped.
* ''VideoGame/LunarTheSilverStar'': When you first enter the town of [[OutlawTown Reza]], a bandit runs into you and snatches your [[EscapeRope Dragonwings]] in this manner.
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'': During the mission ''The Crime in Progress," a volus on the Citadel accuses a quarian of doing this to him and stealing his credit chit. The chit was actually forgotten by the volus at the last place he went shopping.
* In ''VideoGame/SaintsRowTheThird'' you can purchase the ability to do this as an upgrade.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'': Vaan is shown pickpocketing a random {{Mook}} of the EvilEmpire in an early cutscene.
* In ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeon: Gates to Infinity'', a Scraggy does this to the two protagonists after they've retrieved some blue stones from a nearby dungeon. The duo is very GenreBlind about this; they start looking around for dropped stones after they realize they're gone, and when they see the Scraggy again, they think about asking him if he saw where they might have landed.
* A lowlife tries this on Hawke in the first act of ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII''. He's not very good at it. Hawke notices immediately, and Varric pins the pickpocket to a wall with a crossbow bolt before telling him just how bad he is at stealing from people.
* The Thief in ''VideoGame/DungeonsAndDragonsChroniclesOfMystara'' can pickpocket enemies by dashing into them, causing them to drop a small random item (usually a low-value gem).
* Colette from ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'' has the "Item Thief" and "Item Rover" techs, which let her [[VideoGameStealing steal items from enemies]]... [[CuteClumsyGirl by tripping and falling on them]].

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* The title image comes from ''Webcomic/SaturdayMorningBreakfastCereal'''s The Greatest Pickpocket In The World, who is so talented he can 'accidentally' bump into a man, disrobing and kidnapping him from a single bump, and the clothes will walk in humanoid form as if they were still attached to their method of locomotion.
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'': A pair of children [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0649.html successfully do this]] to Durkon in a notorious city of thieves (taking, to their surprise, a bag full of diamonds he needed to resurrect a fallen comrade). Later, another pair try it in Sandsedge, [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0673.html but this time the party's own thief]] is there [[GiveMeBackMyWallet watching his back]].
* Bumper from ''Webcomic/DominicDeegan'', to the point that [[http://www.dominic-deegan.com/view.php?date=2006-09-20 it's where his nickname came from.]]

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsRebels'': Ezra Bridger has been shown to do this to Imperial soldiers.
** In particular, he does it twice in [[Recap/StarWarsRebelsSparkOfRebellion "Spark of Rebellion"]]: The first time, he pickpockets Imperial officer Grint's comlink. The ''second'' time, near the end, he goes for ''Kanan's lightsaber'', taking advantage of the jolt when the Wookiees' ship undocked from the ''Ghost''. Grint never notices he's been robbed. Kanan most definitely does, although whether he let Ezra steal his lightsaber on purpose or not is up for debate.

[[folder: Real Life]]
* A real world variation is used by two pickpockets working in tandem. One does the clumsy bump but doesn't steal anything. The genre savvy victim ''thinks'' this has happened and reflexively puts a hand in/on the pocket holding his wallet. The second pickpocket spots this, tails the victim and lifts the wallet without the victim even noticing their presence.