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Altaïr pickpocketing a target

Pickpocketing is the act of stealing an item, most commonly money, valuables, or secret documents, directly from the person in possession of it.

Although it is widely committed illicitly by thieves for sheer profit, it is also an important method of acquiring confidential information as part of espionage. Accordingly, it has been a common, yet invaluable, tactic employed by the Assassin Brotherhood throughout its centuries-long conflict against the Templars. While the same result may be achieved by looting the target after incapacitating or killing them, pickpocketing allows for the possibility of lethal conflict to be avoided altogether, eluding detection and preserving lives. Aside from intelligence purposes, pickpocketing is often employed to obtain keys for liberating imprisoned allies or infiltrating and escaping enemy territory.



For Assassins during the Third Crusade, pickpocketing was used for gathering letters or other items from informants, as well as for restocking on throwing knives.[1][2]

To pickpocket an informant, usually after eavesdropping on them and discovering what they had in their possession, Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad approached the target quietly from behind, before reaching out to slip the desired item from their satchel. Should he not move away from the target after they discovered the theft, the victim often called the guards to attack Altaïr.[1][2]

Optimally, pickpocketing targets was only viable if they were moving, not facing the one targeting them, and if they were positioned far from a guard. This method was also the only way for Altaïr to gather throwing knives, apart from returning to Masyaf or visiting an Assassin bureau.[2]

To do this, Altaïr would acquire knives from certain thugs, who – unlike regular citizens – would engage Altaïr in a fistfight if they discovered his attempt to steal from them. Should they be nearby, other thugs would also join in and assist the target. Each thug carried around five knives, all of which could be stolen. However, upon being discovered and defeating them in a brawl, Altaïr would only be able to take one knife from the beaten thug.[2]


Ezio Auditore da Firenze learned how to pickpocket from a fellow Assassin, Paola, soon after the execution of his father and brothers.[3]

Unlike Altaïr, Ezio would only pickpocket money from civilians. However, he also looted both money and items, usually trade items or ammunition, from dead or unconscious guards. Doing so in public, though, would usually prompt nearby citizens to reprimand him. Civilians who discovered Ezio's efforts, would engage him in a fight and would usually flee after a single strike.[3][4]

Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Assassins created the hookblade, which came in useful during conflicts to perform a counter-steal: an Assassin could simply rip a purse off a guard, enraging them.[5]

American Colonies

The Colonial Assassins could pickpocket both civilians and guards to steal a variety of items or to simply take their money. The Assassin would stand next to their target and search their pockets or pouches for items. Searching for a longer time yielded more money and items, but the target and all nearby guards would get suspicious of them.[6]


A pickpocket stealing from Ezio in Rome

Like Borgia messengers, several thieves roamed the streets and rooftops, and would often seek out Ezio to steal from him. One such pickpocket was successfully able to take his money in Florence, though the thief had only intended to lead him to La Volpe.[3]

As well as this, pickpockets would only approach Ezio if he was not looking at them, and would flee immediately should he notice them. If pickpockets took his money, Ezio could chase after them – with the help of any nearby guards – and tackle or grab them to reclaim his money, as well as taking the money the pickpocket had obtained from other marks.[3][4]

Alternatively, should Ezio or a guard kill the pickpocket, the Assassin could simply loot the body to take back his money.[3][4]


  • In Assassin's Creed, the The Hands of a Thief achievement can be earned by pickpocketing 200 throwing knives from thugs.
  • In Assassin's Creed II, the Kleptomaniac achievement can be earned by pickpocketing 1000 florins.
  • In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, the Easy Come, Easy Go achievement can be earned by paying 500 florins to an orator, and then pickpocketing him afterwards. The Da Vinci Disappearance DLC is needed for this achievement to be available.
    • This achievement has been known to be glitched and not trigger.
  • In Assassin's Creed III: Liberation, the Thief achievement can be earned by pickpocketing 5000 écu.
  • Unlike in other instances, pickpocketing in Assassin's Creed: Altaïr's Chronicles involves both approaching the target and maneuvering the desired item out of their item pouch.
  • In Assassin's Creed II, the pickpocket will always steal 5% of Ezio's total florins.
  • It is possible for pickpockets to steal more than 44,000 of Ezio's florins depending on the amount of money he has by rebuilding Rome.
  • Arquebusiers and crossbowmen are the only guards who will actively shoot a pickpocket should he be on the rooftops. Pickpockets take a single shot to die from an arquebusier and multiple shots to die from a crossbowman.
  • In Assassin's Creed II, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, and Assassin's Creed: Revelations, after bribing a herald, the money can be stolen back from him. Alternatively, the herald can be killed and the corpse looted to recover the money.
  • After completing five Thieves Guild challenges, hired thieves would automatically pickpocket money for Ezio.
    • As well as this, thieves in Constantinople could loot the bodies of dead guards for Ezio, once he had completed a specific challenge set.
  • Certain guards held more florins than others when looted, with certain Borgia Captains carrying more than 900 florins. In Constantinople, the Janissaries could be looted for up to 84 akçe.
  • Like Borgia messengers, pickpockets in Assassin's Creed II will drop their florins if they are struck with a throwing knife.
  • In Assassin's Creed: Unity, when Arno Dorian catches pickpockets the money is added to his pockets, rather than needing to return the money to their victim.