Like any tool or skill, the power of sleight of hand can be used for good or evil. And while fooling people is perfectly fine when magicians use illusion to entertain, it’s a whole other issue when people use this power to line their pockets with ill-gotten gains.
The latter happened in mid-December at a Walmart in Sarasota, Florida. In a report by Florida NBC affiliate WFLA, a woman used misdirection and sleight of hand on a hapless cashier to confuse them then pocket hundreds of dollars in cash. You can see exactly what happened in the security video posted to WFLA’s Facebook page, embedded below:
In order to find out exactly what the con artist did to get away with this crime, WFLA found local Sarasota magician Toby Ballantine and showed him the video.
“She has a move and she’s doing the move over and over,” he tells WFLA while watching the surveillance footage. “I think she got away with it.”
While Ballantine notices the woman’s talent for misdirection, he is sure to set the record straight on what he thinks of this act: “It’s terrible, disreputable, and it has nothing to do with entertainment.”
You can check out the full video report and interview at WFLA’s website. Our advice to the perpetrator? Drop the life of crime and try being a magician instead; you’ve probably got a future in prestidigitation ahead of you.