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Pickpocket class empties bag of tricks

June 01, 2000  | 

Washington, D.C. — Not only is pickpocketing one of the oldest crimes in the book, but it is incredibly easy to get away with. Although robbery, the crime is often viewed as petty and childish and even when it is prosecuted, time served is short if served at all. Det. Cedric Mitchell, of the Metro Transit Police, in Washington, D.C., has been working on pickpocket cases for more than 11 years. In an effort to teach officers how to catch and prosecute these criminals, Mitchell teaches a class on the subject three times per year. "For part of the class we focus on identity theft, which, right now, is probably the hottest crime in America. People actually steal your wallet and they're not so much after the cash and credit cards; they are actually after your identity," Det. Mitchell told Police. In half an hour, he said, a skilled pickpocket can open accounts in their victim's name. The victim may not know about this for months. In addition to the dangers of this crime and specifics on how to catch and prosecute a pickpocket, the class offers a unique insight into how pickpockets operate. Det. Mitchell's pickpocket class was also recently featured on Good Morning America, and he continues to gain a national reputation as an expert in catching and prosecuting pickpocket criminals. For more information, contact Det. Mitchell at (202) 962-2145. — Amy Schmidt, editorial assistant, Police

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