New York City serial thief Cory Christopher, 39, tells the New York Times in a jailhouse interview how he picks wallets out of women's purses in crowded bars and quickly puts them to use. He blended in with the affluent clientele at a dozen Manhattan bars and restaurants. Besides unattended purses, the easiest targets were hanging over the backs of chairs, even when the women were sitting in them. He would use a menu or, sometimes, a female partner to block the view of his hand darting in.
Overseas tourists' wallets were often loaded with foreign currency that he would quickly exchange. And it seemed to take tourists longer to cancel their cards. Wallet in hand, he would go straight to a drugstore and grab gift cards that were preloaded with, say, $200, and basically untraceable to him. He would take them to a cashier who, 19 times in 20, would tell him to swipe the stolen credit card himself and never ask to see it. When it went that smoothly, he would pretend he forgot a gift card for someone else and go get more.