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Thief Bag

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"I used to love those old silent movies where the robbers would crack a combination lock with their ear pressed up against the safe. And the money they stole was always in a white bag with a big dollar sign on it."
John Locke converses this in Lost

A Thief Bag is a bag containing loot, often seen in the presence of thieves who are thieving it. They tend to differ by region: Britain uses a large burlap bag marked "swag", America uses a white bag with a dollar sign on it, and Japan mainly uses green bags with white swirls that tie over the face (which some fans will demand be called furoshiki).

Expect any thief carrying one to also sport a Domino Mask and striped shirt or prison garb, because otherwise how do you know they're thieves? Less careful ones will end up leaving tracks for the coppers to find...

More sophisticated or white-collar criminals prefer a nondescript Briefcase Full of Money.

A Sub-Trope of Expo Label and a vital accouterments of the Blatant Burglar. Compare Bag of Kidnapping and Stock Money Bag. Not to be confused with Bindle Stick, the makeshift fabric bag hanging from a stick usually carried by hobos and small boys who are running away from home.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Paranoia Agent one of the disillusioned policemen mentions that he became a policeman to chase those kinds of crooks, not strange supernatural batsmen.
  • Ranma ½:
    • Happosai always uses a Japanese Thief Bag when going panty-stealing.
    • A particularly epic version occurs when Ranma faces the Rival Of The Month, Ryu Kumon. The final countermove to Ryu's devastating Yamasenken style consists of Ranma using a gigantic towel and stuffing all sorts of random debris inside it —rocks, soil, stolen goods— just like a thief would fill a sack, and hefting it on his shoulders. It was later revealed that the Umisenken really was developed as a martial art for thievery.
  • In one episode of Samurai Pizza Cats, the villain Seymour Cheese tries to reinvent himself as a hero of the people, and goes out to look for good deeds to do. He hears a lady screaming "Help! Purse snatcher!", and turns around to see a burglar with a huge Japanese thief bag, prompting the remark "That's one big purse."
    Asian Animation 
  • Lamput: The robber the docs find in the Season 3 episode "Reward" stashes a big bag of cash into his van (actually the docs' van; the docs reluctantly let him have the vehicle in exchange for some money earlier).
    Fan Works 
  • Fate/Starry Night: As the only one able to breach the wall of mud preventing other Servants from entering Fuyuki, Jack is entrusted with a bulging bag of Saint Quartz and various useful magical tools and artifacts for Ritsuka to use.
  • The eponymous Kazuma of Kazuma V Tanya originally uses a stolen pillowcase to hold his pilfered gains, but eventually trades it in for a much larger bag which is very accurately emblazoned "Loot From Nobles".
    Films — Live-Action 
  • The groundbreaking 1903 film The Great Train Robbery has the thieves carrying their loot in these. No dollar sign, though.
  • In Zig Zag (2002), ZigZag carries the money he steals from Mr. Walters' safe in a white sack.
  • Change of Habit: When Julio sneaks into the church to return the statue he stole, he carries it in a sack, presumably the one he stole it in.
  • Official Thieves Guild burglars in Discworld carry bags marked SWAG as part of the uniform. Given the peculiar nature of theft in Ankh-Morpork, it's in their interest for official burglars to be identified as such, rather than random housebreakers.
    Live-Action TV 
  • From Alias Smith and Jones:
    "What makes a criminal a criminal? [pause] The black mask, the stripy shirt, and the bag marked 'swag'."
  • In one of his appearances on Batman (1966), The Riddler can be seen toting around a bag labelled LOOT SACK.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances", Nancy carries around a burlap sack to hold the food she's stolen from peoples' houses while they're hiding in their bomb shelters.
  • In The Goodies episode "Alternative Roots", Tim's sheep-stealing ancestor Kounty Kutie (and all the other men of his village) were shown in the traditional striped shirt and mask and carrying the swag bag.
  • A Key & Peele sketch that centers on a man buying things in a pawn shop that are totally for Christmas shopping and aren't going to be used to rob a bank reaches its peak when the buyer asks if the store has a bag with a dollar sign on it, which the clerk even calls "a cartoon money bag".
  • In one Monty Python's Flying Circus skit, highwayman Dennis Moore (after a little economic education) is seen dragging a yards-long bag behind his horse marked 'SWAG'. In "Old English" lettering, so it looks like "FWAG".
  • Our Miss Brooks: The thief in "The Jewel Robbery" carries away the loot from the burgled store in a bag. However, the crook later stores it in a suitcase.
  • The bag of cash with a dollar sign version shows up in the Power Rangers: Dino Thunder episode "Lost and Found in Translation". It's actually scenes from Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger that the American Rangers are watching dubbed on TV, involving an American baseball player visiting Japan who falls under the spell of the Monster of the Week, Ka-Ching, and becomes greedy and obsessed with money, returning in the next scene with big dollar-sign-emblazoned burlap sacks full of American C-notes he got by cheating at a baseball exhibition game.
  • In Capcom's unreleased Kingpin, the playfield has several indicator lights featuring a bag with a dollar sign, while "The Big Heist" has The Kid fill up a bag that's several times larger than himself.
    Tabletop Games 
  • Champions supplement C.L.O.W.N. (Criminal Legion of Wacky Non-conformists). In one picture, C.L.O.W.N. members Skate Kate and Toe-Tapper are carrying white bags with dollar signs on them as they flee from a pair of UNTIL agents pursuing them.
  • Tamagotchi: On the Entama, Uratama, and Versions 4 and 4.5, the player's Tamagotchi can be robbed of Tama Points by a burglar whose sprite and official artwork depicts him carrying a big bag with him.
    Video Games 
  • The little guys in Golden Axe carry bags bigger than they are. Between levels, they attempt to steal your magic potions if you have any.
  • In the Pokémon game series this is a feature the "burglar" trainer type.
    • Team Rocket uses these occasionally in Pokémon.
  • Fire Emblem: the Thief and Rogue classes carry bags on their overworld sprites in GBA games.
  • The thieving enemy TAC from the Kirby series is shown with one of these.
  • Burglars from The Sims series would put everything they steal into a sack. The games also combines this trope with Bag of Holding, as they could put stuffs like a TV set or a piano inside those bags.
  • Mask de Masque in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is shown with one in a photo.
    • Kay Faraday from Ace Attorney Investigations doesn't carry an actual bag, but she does wear the associated Karakusa pattern on her clothing. As does her father Byrne Faraday, in a very small clue to his identity as part of the Yatagarasu.
  • In at least some of the Fire Emblem games, the map sprites for the thief and rogue classes are shown as holding these.
  • These end up lying around in the Sly Cooper games, on some stages (especially the very last one in Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, in the Cooper Vault). These are breakable, and release gold coins.
  • There was a game in the 80s called 'Bagman'. You were the titular thief, stealing these from a mine.
  • In The Godfather game, there are several of these bags lying around for your acquisition, usually at a Bank Robbery or Armed Blag.
  • Super Mario Bros.
    • The bandit enemies in Super Mario RPG.
    • Nabbit, a thief carries a bag containing stolen items.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has the Mer-kin takebag, carried by Mer-kin burglars and scavengers. "Incidentally, in the Mer-kin language, there's no difference between the word "collect" and the word "steal." When equipped, the bag improves item drops, especially underwater.
  • The Thief from Zork has one of these bags, sans the dollar sign. Occasionally, things will fall back out when he is forced to retreat.
  • In Secret Agent, these are one of the items that give you points if you collect them.
  • Final Fantasy VI has Harvesters and their fellow roguish recolors carrying these.
  • Fake News Rumble: Steve Carell carries around a sack of money that serves as his weapon.
  • I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space!!!
    Cashier: How will you be paying for these shoes?
    Susan: Sacks of money with dollar signs on them.
  • In Bob and George, Dr. Wily will lampshade this in a parody. Instead of the common money sign, any bag he uses to steal will have "bag for stealing (item)" on it. At one point, while somebody is talking to him while he is carrying one of the named bags, Wily directly asks if they are going to even check the large bag he is holding, and is filled with trophies that were to be used in a contest, and the person replies "nope".
  • The eponymous loot bag of the sneaky, thieving Lootbag Commando, a recurring character in Miniature Rules, "an irreverent look at the BattleTech Universe" and its "only source of humor since 3CL's peg leg incident."
  • The robber in this strip from Zero Percent Discount carries a thief bag.
    Web Original 
  • DSBT InsaniT: Robber Eel carries it with his tailfin-hand, and can use it as a weapon too.
    Western Animation 
  • Spoofed in a Yin Yang Yo! episode, where the bag didn't hold money, but actual dollar bill signs. Master Yo even tries to insert his dollar bill signs into it after Yin accidentally transformed it.
  • The Simpsons:
    • * Lampshaded in "A Hunka Hunka Burns In Love", where Snake refers to it as a "dollar sign bag".
    • In "Miracle On Evergreen Terrace" when Bart claims a burglar stole all of the Simpsons' Christmas presents (and the tree), the description he gives includes (as well as a wooden leg and hooks for hands) a large sack with a dollar sign on it.
    • In "Mayored To The Mob", Mayor Quimby receiving a kickback from Fat Tony and says that "in future I would prefer a nondescript briefcase to the sack with a dollar sign on it."
    • In "When You Dish Upon a Star", Brian Grazer hands Ron Howard two of these after he pitches Homer's movie idea. The frame freezes on Ron holding them with a toothy smile as the Happy Days intro plays.
    • In "Bart to the Future", Bart has one that Ned Flanders refers to as his "mooching sack".
    • In "The Boy Who Knew Too Much" Moe is handed one of these in the middle of a courtroom after he submits a obviously phony alibi to cover for Mayor Quimby's nephew Freddie. He lamely tries to pass it off as his laundry.
  • An episode of Danger Mouse had these as the way cash was stored in a bank vault. This variant had the pound sign, of course.
  • The Beagle Boys used these types of bags a lot on DuckTales (1987).
  • In the Futurama episode "Godfellas", Bender acquires a bag labeled "swag" while being shot through one of the space pirate's ships.
  • In the Christmas Special The Christmas Tree whenever the mayor gives the town's donations to the orphanage, he brings the money over in two large bags, for some reason.
    Real Life 
  • Gene Simmons of KISS owns the trademark for a sack with a $ emblem on it. He got a check from Geffen Records for its use on the cover of the album Bandwagonesque by Teenage Fanclub.
  • The Unicode symbol "MONEY BAG" (U+1F4B0) 💰 looks like one.
  • You can buy a laundry bag that looks like this. Gives a whole new meaning to "money laundering".

Alternative Title(s): Swag Bag