A thief is any individual who undertakes the action of stealing. During the Renaissance, professional thieves were one of the available factions-for-hire, alongside courtesans, mercenaries and the Romani. They were adept free-runners, and possessed a number of guilds in different cities; several of these, including the Venetian and Roman guilds, were allied to the Assassin Order. As such, they possessed a measure of virtue, in that they refused to steal from the poor and fought to defy the local, corrupt nobility.
However, a number of thieves were independent of the Order. In particular, the Cento Occhi were allied to the House of Borgia, and sought to counteract the Assassins; unaffiliated pickpockets chose to steal freely as well.
During the Classical Era, thieves weren't organized as guilds. Criminals like bandits or pirates committed stealing during their raids. In Greece and Egypt, ancient ruins and tombs as the Knossos Palace or Great Pyramid of Giza were pillaged by raiders or military forces to find treasures or artifacts. These acts were also perpetrated by secret organizations like the Cult of Kosmos or the Order of the Ancients in their search to Isu technology.
From as early as when a thief helped to save his life by urging him to run from the guards at his family's execution, Ezio Auditore da Firenze both helped and enlisted aid from thieves on several occasions.
Thieves were often included in the most well-informed factions of the cities, for which they were able to provide Ezio with information on assassination targets and other events in their district. In Florence in 1478, La Volpe made use of one of his thieves to lure Ezio to him, after which he gave the young nobleman details on how to locate Francesco de' Pazzi.
In 1481, after assisting Rosa, one of the members of the Venetian guild, Ezio allied with the thieves there in order to infiltrate the Palazzo della Seta. Together, he and the Venetian thieves successfully claimed the building after Ezio assassinated Emilio Barbarigo in 1485.
Some time prior to 1499, Paganino, a member of the Venetian guild, betrayed his allies and became a spy for the Templars; passing them vital information on the Assassin Order and their base in Monteriggioni. At the opening of the new year in 1500, his actions eventually led to the fall of Monteriggioni.
Upon traveling to Rome, Ezio allied his newly-founded Guild with La Volpe's thieves. After aiding them in establishing their headquarters in La Volpe Addormentata, he learned of their close rivalry with the Cento Occhi thieves.
In contrast to the Assassin-allied thieves, the Cento Occhi stole from the poor, and terrorized the civilians of Rome. At La Volpe's request, Ezio assisted in repressing them, fighting in brawls alongside La Volpe's thieves, sullying the Cento Occhi's reputation with the Borgia, and killing the guild's leaders.
In 1511, Ezio visited the Constantinople Thieves Guild and learned they were having troubles due to a snitch tipping off the city guards to their activities. After an investigation into these claims, Ezio learned that a lord by the name of Halim was bribing the snitch, before assassinating the former.
Golden Age of Piracy
- Main article: Piracy
In British America, many children became thieves to survive in the street as Liam O'Brien, Hope Jensen and Jack Weeks. Their skills attired the attention of the local Assassins and the Templars who inducted them in their groups. Hope Jensen became the leader of a Gang who operated in New York City, River Valley and North Atlantic and committed acts of thievery and rackets.
In New Orleans, thugs operated in the streets harassing the Louisiana Assassin Aveline de Grandpré if she wore her Lady guises to steal her. Aveline also pickpocketed individuals for Jeweled broochs, Voodoo dolls and Assassins' coins.
During the American Revolutionary War, orphans organized as thief guilds in Boston and New York. They entered in contact with the Assassin Ratonhnhaké:ton giving challenges to accomplish and become a member of the guilds.
By 1868, orphans from Babylon Alley led by Clara O'Dea operated as thieves to survive and save the children from Blighters and Templar factories. They allied with the twin Assassins Jacob and Evie Frye, giving them ammunitions in exchange for their efforts to liberate the children.
Though he usually worked alongside the guilds to suppress Templar control of a city, Ezio also hired thieves on the streets, offering them money in return for assistance. Unlike the other hired factions, they could easily follow the Assassin along rooftops.
The thieves could help Ezio by distracting any soldiers guarding high-profile locations, such as banks or other restricted areas. They often did so by attacking or taunting the men, and subsequently luring them away. Should Ezio engage in a fight as they followed him, they would always help him defeat his enemies as well.
Thieves were lightly armed, carrying only a dagger (or a sword on rare occasions) and wearing very light armor. This allowed them to follow Ezio in many of his acrobatic moves, though did not offer much protection in combat.
To offset this, thieves resorted to speed and agility in combat, dodging and countering enemy blows much like Agile guards. As such, they were usually only vulnerable to well-protected guards, predominately Brutes and Seekers.
- The Steal Home achievement was awarded for winning a race against any thief in Assassin's Creed II. Also, in Assassin's Creed: Revelations, once Ezio fulfilled the guild challenges for the thieves and unlocked the capability for them to loot dead bodies, the Fast Fingers achievement could be unlocked after 50 instances of a hired group of thieves looting the dead bodies of guards.
- In the memories "Cleaning House," and "Who's Got Mail?", thieves used swords as opposed to short blades.
- Like guards, in Assassin's Creed II, thieves were generally better equipped in Venice than in Florence.
- The child in the mission "Human Cargo" was dressed like a thief.
- In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Ezio could lock onto thieves that signaled the start of a thief assignment and perform execution moves on them. However, after appearing to die, they would soon recover and get back up.
- In Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy, it was possible to train Cento Occhi thieves and use them in missions.
- In Assassin's Creed: Lineage, the courier intercepted by Giovanni Auditore was dressed similarly to a thief.