Some pickpockets execute their craft by avoiding all detection and making sure their victims never register the fact that contact was made. Others prefer just the opposite. Affectionate Pickpocket is when a character tries to disguise picking someone's as an affectionate hug. Or even a Kiss of Distraction.
For instance, Alice spontaneously gives Bob a great big hug. "Did I ever tell you what a great friend you are?"
Oh, how sweet, thinks Bob. ...wait. Where's my wallet gone?
- Happens once to Achille Talon with a man in the street pretending to recognize him as an old friend who saved his life — and getting all touchy-feely in result. Achille can't manage to put a word edgewise until he reaches for his wallet to prove his identity. He then pursues the man, only to see him pulling the same trick on Lefuneste.
- In Bat Lash #1, Bat lifts a gold pocket watch off an itinerant monk as he is affectionately farewelling him after the monk has shared his meal with him.
- Firefly: The Sting: Saffron nabs Inara's earpiece while kissing her.
- In The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #11, Indy's old 'friend' Torino hugs Indy in greeting, and lifts his wallet, leading Indy to tell him Give Me Back My Wallet.
- In #32, Classy Cat-Burglar Amanda Knight lifts the keys to the museum from Indy while she is kissing him.
- Garfield has done this to steal food from people's pockets on at least two occasions.
- Living with Danger: While she is staying at the Weasley's house after the Pack's adults have been arrested, Meghan hugs Mrs Weasley, telling her she is a great mum, and takes the chance to swipe her wand. She needs it to activate the Marauders' Map and find Hagrid.
- In Respect a Woman, Hunter uses a tender embrace as an opportunity to mess with Smoker:
Hunter: I'm stealing your wallet. ♪
Smoker: That'll be a neat trick after I snap your neck.
- Not as affectionate as some, but in The Adventures of Tintin (2011), Silk reaches his arm around someone to light his cigarette, while lifting his wallet with his other hand.
- In Bachelorette, Lizzy Caplan's character, Gena, pulls this off skillfully — while high on cocaine.
- The guy in Casablanca who puts his arms around visitors and warns them about thieves while robbing them.
- Countess Dracula: When her Abhorrent Admirer jailer attempts to force himself on her, Ilona uses the opportunity to steal the key off his belt and attempt to escape.
- The Dark Knight Rises: Selina Kyle kisses Bruce Wayne after their dance... and then Bruce realizes that she used the opportunity to take his car keys and steal his car.
- In the 1932 film Frisco Jenny a woman is shown sitting on a drunk man's lap in a 1906 San Francisco brothel. While distracting him with a kiss, she steals his wallet from his breast pocket, takes the money out, puts the wallet back, then discreetly draws a little circle on his shoulder with chalk (a sign to other pickpockets that he has no extra money to be fleeced).
- F/X: Murder by Illusion: McCarthy is ordered to turn in his badge. This humiliating defeat is apparently a bit too much for him to handle since he has to hug his boss for comfort... and then he walks away with his boss's badge.
- Paco in Herbie Goes Bananas.
- In Key Largo, Gaye steals Rocco's gun from his pocket while clinging to his body.
- In the 1995 film Kleptomania a rich wife starts to steal out of boredom; one day she meets a pickpocket girl who agrees to show her the tricks of the trade. First she distracts her with a kiss and steals her wristwatch, then both go to the subway where the girl starts pickpocketing various people while the wife watches. The girl then dares the wife to go and try her hand at it; she steals two wallets, a pen, and a wristwatch.
- In the 2008 film Mail Order Bride a 19th-century con artist takes place her dead friend as a rich man's fiancee. During a party at the inn, she dances with several guests and picks their pockets.
- Maverick. Annabelle Bransford does this to Maverick twice in the same scene. The first time he notices and makes her give his wallet back, the second time he's so overwhelmed he doesn't notice and has to track her down later.
- The Thénardiers in Les Miserables, as seen in the "Master of the House" number.
- Mission: Impossible II: Nyah sidles up against Ambrose, the villain, to steal a valuable envelope. She's successful the first time, but he notices when she does it again to return it (and she puts it in the wrong pocket, which would have tipped him off anyway).
- Red Sun. Cristina tries to seduce Link, only to grab his revolver and attempt to shoot him. She discovers It Works Better with Bullets. Link quips that the problem with Cristina is that you never know which gun she's going to grab.
- Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Sherlock steals a message meant for Moriarty from Irene Adler, who tries to steal it back while kissing him after making a dinner date, but Holmes just grabs her hand before it reaches its target.
- In A Study in Terror, Polly lifts a purse from her mark while she is canoodling with him at the pub. She is caught when he goes to pay for the drinks and can't find his purse.
- In the German silent film The Wildcat, Rischka the thief and Lilli the officer's daughter are part of a Love Dodecahedron which has both of them pining for handsome Lt. Alexis. Rischka embraces her rival, pats Lilli on the back, and tells her that she will step aside and leave Alexis to Lilli. While she does this, she steals Lilli's necklace.
- There's a story in Henry Peacham's The Art of Living in London (1642) about a tradesman whose wife's purse is stolen at the theatre after she put it in her petticoats for safety. He asked why she didn't feel a hand, and she replied "I felt ones hand there; but I did not thinke hee had come for that."
- In A Brother's Price, Jerin pretends to stumble against a woman and allows her to grope him in order to steal back his own gun, which she took away from him earlier. He repeats this with a different captor to get back his confiscated lockpicks.
- In The Golden Nineties by Lisa Mason, one of the main characters meets a woman on the ferry into San Francisco, who claims to be seasick and asks if she can lean on him. After the boat docks, she disappears along with his wallet, and when he describes her to some locals, they identify her.
- Fisk pulls this off enough times in the Knight and Rogue Series (in just the first book) that Michael gives up and simply makes holding on to the money Fisk's job.
- The Twisted Thing by Mickey Spillane. When detective Mike Hammer gives The Summation and announces to the murderer that he's going to get a Vigilante Execution, the killer points out that he removed the magazine from Mike's pistol while giving Mike a 'welcome back' hug earlier, having already anticipated that Mike had found out the truth.
- One episode of Arrested Development has Michael and Gob have a heart-to-heart talk which ends with a handshake and Gob saying "Thank you for your time." Later, Michael discovers that Gob stole his watch when they shook hands.
- Arrow. In Season 8, Oliver Queen travels to an alternate universe and has a tearful reunion with his mother, long since dead on his own Earth. This doesn't stop him from lifting her Queen Consolidated swipe card while hugging her.
- Babylon 5, "Legacies": Ivanova has a heartwarming conversation with a Street Urchin that ends with the two of them clasping hands in a gesture of mutual sympathy... and the street urchin takes the opportunity to steal the commlink off Ivanova's hand, just to keep in practice.
- Barbary Coast: During the opening credits of the pilot movie, a prostitute lifts the wallet off a client as she sends him into a saloon.
- The Benny Hill Show:
- In a sketch three men break out of prison; they reunite and give each other hugs, each of them robbing the others.
- In another sketch, Robin Hood (Benny Hill) has become the new Sheriff of Nottingham — Friar Tuck and Will Scarlet come to congratulate him and he lifts their money pouches as he hugs them, then sics the guards on them.
- Blake's 7:
- In "Assassin" there's a weepy Damsel in Distress who has a tendency to Security Cling to our heroes. It turns out she's actually the Villain of the Week, and uses the opportunity to steal and later replace a key.
- In "Sand", Tarrant is stranded on a planet with Servalan, so they form an alliance to survive. When Tarrant has a "Eureka!" Moment on how to defeat the Monster of the Week, Servalan gives him a Smooch of Victory. Tarrant warns that he still has his gun...which Servalan promptly produces in her hand.
- In "Sarcophagus", Avon kisses Cally, who's been possessed by the Villain of the Week, using the opportunity to slip a Ring of Power off her finger.
- In Burn Notice, Samantha, Michael's ex-fiancée and thief will often pickpocket Michael as a way of flirting with him. He always asks for it back immediately after.
- In the very first episode, Castle to Beckett. He presents her with a signed copy of his book, kisses her on the cheek... and steals crime scene photos while she's too stunned to notice.
- Alexis to her father as he was Bound and Gagged to a chair. She says he wouldn't respect her otherwise.
- In a later chapter, Beckett steals Castle's phone without him noticing. Being as he is, Castle can't help but ask her to do it again.
- In "The Limey", Beckett lifts a golden case from a man's pocket while dancing with him. It had his prints on it.
- Community: In the season 4 finale, Annie gives Jeff a hug in order to steal his phone from his back pocket.
- A Different World: At a championship football game, a team mascot picks Ron up and twirls him around, much to his annoyance, given that the mascot is from the opposing team. Later, the mascot ends up in the same cell with Ron, Dwayne, and some other students. They've been arrested for brawling, he's been arrested for pickpocketing. As he's escorted out, he confesses to Ron, "Your wallet is with the others".
- Doctor Who: In "Victory of the Daleks", Winston Churchill swipes the TARDIS key while hugging the Doctor. Amy is the one who catches it and asks Churchill to return it, to the Doctor's surprise.
- Father Brown: In "The Two Deaths of Hercule Flambeau", Lisandra hugs the Anglican bishop in gratitude, and uses the opportunity to pickpocket the key to the safe.
- Gilligan's Island had a scene where Ginger seductively talked up Gilligan in order to steal the necklace he's wearing. Subverted in that, as she's walking away afterwards, Gilligan held up the necklace and said "You don't have what you think you have."
- On Hogan's Heroes, Hogan would send messages to a female underground contact (who was dating Schultz in this episode) like this. The boys at Stalag 13 would put a message in Schultz's belt on the pretense of helping him stretch to stay in shape. Later, when he goes to the girl's home, she would greet him with a hug and take the message out. The process would then get reversed for her response message.
- Subverted in JAG, an old friend of Harm's who works as a security consultant gives him a friendly handshake and slaps his back in a bar. Later, when Harm goes to reach for his wallet the friend pulls it out of his pocket and says that he could now get on any military base using Harm's stolen ID. Harm says he knew he'd been picked and opens the flap for his ID, which has a piece of paper saying "ARREST THIS MAN" instead of his credentials.
- Las Vegas: The opening sequence of the episode Mothwoman features a scantily clad woman walking around the casino, she flirts with several men while picking their pockets.
- Leverage: Parker's mentor Archie asks her for his wallet back after they share an embrace. Given that he's the one who taught her to be a master thief, he'd probably be disappointed if she didn't steal it.
- MacGyver: In "Runners", teenage runaway Crystal hugs Mac when he drops her off at a shelter. Later on, he is filling up his Jeep and discovers that she has stolen his wallet.
- Married... with Children: Peggy has done this to Al, leaving him with "empty pants".
- In The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed we're told that Ruchechnik started his career in this manner — "mistaking" strangers for dear friends and filching their valuables as he enthusiastically greeted them.
- In The Mentalist, Patrick Jane is a proficient pickpocket, and often uses this method, either to lift something from a suspect or to plant something on them. It's gotten to the point where Agent Lisbon, upon hearing from a freed hostage (long story) that Jane had hugged her, immediately asks the woman to check her pockets. Sure enough, there's a message there from Jane.
- In the 1996 mini-series of Moll Flanders, the title character prostitutes herself to an elderly judge, then robs him of his cigarette case afterwards. That saves her life as she later uses it as blackmail material to get her death sentence commuted to transportation to the American Colonies.
- The Musketeers: At the end of episode 5, "The Homecoming", Porthos and Flea share a kiss before she leaves, but not before revealing she has pickpocketed his purse. Porthos was impressed.
- The Mysteries of Laura: In order to get information about the suspect's relationship to a murder victim, Laura flirts with him and steals his phone from his pocket.
- One episode of Nash Bridges ended with the title character sending away a young hoodlum. They hug just before the kid is to get on his plane. After that, the kid reveals that he stole Nash's wallet. After the kid returns it, Nash reveals he also stole the kid's wallet.
- The Pretender, "Crazy": Jarod, doing time as an inmate in a mental asylum, hugs the orderly and thanks him for caring. The orderly immediately makes him give back his keyring. (After he leaves, we learn that the keyring was just a decoy theft, and Jarod also lifted something else.)
- At the end of a Christmas Episode of Psych, a little girl/con artist thanks Shawn for helping her dad, and hugs him... and Shawn immediately asks for his wallet back.
- Stargate SG-1: Vala Mal Doran in season 9 episode 3, asking for a parting hug from Daniel Jackson — to steal back the valuable artifact he just confiscated from her. Daniel still sees it coming.
- Star Trek: The Original Series. In "Wink of an Eye", Deela is quite amused when Captain Kirk tries to steal the handweapon she has attached to her sleeve during their Duel of Seduction. He's more successful later when reaching for her hand after convincing him he's been brainwashed and grabbing her weapon instead.
- On World's Dumbest..., Mike Trainor pulls this in a clip of his hypothetical show "The Fresh Prince of Baltimore" in which he, as "White Will Smith", gives his Uncle Phil (played by Chuck Nice) a hug - and steals his car keys.
- At the end of Beside the Seaside by Leslie Sands, two thieves are let off with a stern warning and hug the main characters in gratitude. When the latter's pants fall down, they realise they've been robbed of everything including their braces.
- Played with in Baldur's Gate II: Imoen suddenly starts acting all love-struck and swooning around Keldorn, much to his horror (since he is Lawful Good, married, and old enough to be her father). After making him squirm for a bit, Imoen chuckles and gives him his ring back.
- Annah of Planescape: Torment tries this on your Player Character — typical of her overall Tsundere manner.
- In Tales of the Abyss, Luke gets his wallet stolen when he first meets a "very friendly" Noir. Luckily Tear noticed before she left.
- Be the Sea Dweller Lowblood has two people do this with sloppy make-outs, in similar circumstances.
- Sam Starfall from Freefall has been known to attempt this — but then, he's probably tried every thieving technique in the book, and invented a few himself. (Of course, since everybody knows that he's a notorious thief and pickpocket, this particular technique doesn't work well for him.)
- Goblins: Ruby steals Kin's necklace (that Minmax made for her) by giving her a parting hug. Then she throws the necklace in an oblivion hole, erasing it from reality, and with it Kin's memories of the gift and why she fell for Minmax in the first place.
- Something*Positive featured this exchange:
Jason: My wallet's on the dresser. There should be enough money in it to cover the bill and tip.
Aubrey: Don't worry about it, baby. I've got it covered. I palmed your credit card weeks ago.
Jason: Ah, yes. I do believe that was the sexiest pick-pocketing I ever fell victim to.
- In Adventure Time, little orphan girl Penny is this. When Finn and Jake assume they converted her into living a new life, she gives Finn a thank-you hug... then runs off after swiping all his clothes!
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, "Foster's Goes to Europe": Right before finally getting to leave for Europe, Mac receives an extremely long hug from Madame Foster... only to discover by the time he and his friends are at the airport that his tickets are missing! The result: everyone is disappointed in a confused Mac (even poor Wilt!). Frankie comes in to see Madame, only to find her missing. Cut to Madame, with her friends in tow, not to mention Eurotrish, in the plane en route to Europe, chuckling over "getting what she needed from that hug". Certainly one of the most infuriating endings for what happened to Mac.
- In the pilot episode, Fry and Leela put their hands together and Bender puts his hand in as well.
Fry: What's the matter with you?
Bender: I just wanted to be part of the moment.
Leela: Hey, he stole my ring!
- In Fry and the Slurm Factory, Bender gets sick; it turns out he stole Amy's watch and it's jammed in his gears. He pulls it out, returns it, and hugs her in apology. As he hugs her, he swipes her earrings.
- In The Farnsworth Parabox, while Bender hangs out with his parallel universe counterpart, the two hug each other; both of them steal the others wallet.
- In the pilot episode, Fry and Leela put their hands together and Bender puts his hand in as well.
- The Simpsons, "Curse of the Flying Hellfish": Mr. Burns forces Grandpa to give up his key to the Hellfish fortune. Bart throws himself at Burns and wraps his arms around him, saying "Can I go with you to get the treasure? I won't eat much and I don't know the difference between right and wrong." This seems like a very in-character thing for Bart to do; but when Burns leaves (without Bart), Bart shows Grandpa that he picked Burns's pocket, so now he has both keys needed.
- In Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Janna steals Marco's keys while sidling up to him and putting her arm around his shoulders.