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Apollo Robbins (born May 23, 1974) is an American sleight-of-hand artist, security consultant, self-described gentleman thief[2] and deception specialist.[3] Forbes has called him "an artful manipulator of awareness."[4]

Apollo Robbins
Born (1974-05-23) May 23, 1974 (age 45)[1]
OccupationSecurity consultant, magician



In a 2013 profile in The New Yorker, writer Adam Green said, "Robbins, who lives in Las Vegas, is a peculiar variety-arts hybrid, known in the trade as a theatrical pickpocket. Among his peers, he is widely considered the best in the world at what he does, which is taking things from people's jackets, pants, purses, wrists, fingers, and necks, then returning them in amusing and mind-boggling ways."[5]

Robbins was born in Plainview, Texas. A soft-spoken man, Robbins has said, in various interviews, that he learned his skills from two brothers, that his father was blind, and that, as a child, he had braces on his legs.[6][7]

Robbins gained notoriety after pickpocketing Secret Service agents accompanying former President Jimmy Carter.[8] He successfully stole, among other items, former President Carter's itinerary and the keys to his motorcade. The publicity led several law-enforcement groups to contact him about his techniques. Robbins explained to an interviewer, "I pick-pocketed one of Jimmy Carter's secret service agents. After that, I got approached [to consult] police departments and security individuals. I got to visit prisons and I started learning the thinking and skill set of real thieves."[6]

Whizmob Inc.Edit

In 2006, Robbins founded Whizmob Inc., a brain trust that offers law enforcement officials and ex-cons as subject matter experts on current fraud, theft, and scam trends.[7]

The name was most likely taken from David W. Maurer's 1955 book, Whiz Mob: A Correlation of the Technical Argot of Pick-Pockets, with Their Behavior Pattern (Gainesville, Fla.: American Dialect Society; updated 1964).

In popular cultureEdit

Robbins has appeared several times on television. He was a guest on The View on January 22, 2008,[9] and he hosted TruTV's reality show, Real Hustle (Season 1, Episode 1, "The Distract and Conquer Con") the same day.[10]

Apollo served as technical advisor on TNT's series Leverage, a heist film TV show starring Timothy Hutton and Christian Kane, even appearing in the 2nd Season's seventh episode, "The Two Live Crew Job" (2009).[11]

Robbins appeared on Nova ScienceNow to illustrate some features of "how the brain works" on a 2011 episode, alongside fellow magician Penn Jillette, roboticist Rodney Brooks, neuroscientist David Eagleman, and others.[12]

Also in 2011, Apollo Robbins appeared on the Australian television comedy series Lawrence Leung's Unbelievable, on an episode entitled "Magic," in which he was joined by stage magicians Lance Burton and Tim Ellis, neuroscientists Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde, and others.[13] In December 2011, he was one of many featured speakers in a documentary (a European co-production) about the brain entitled Das automatische Gehirn (The Automatic Brain).[14]

National Geographic's documentary show Brain Games kept Apollo fairly busy in 2013, inviting him to appear on several episodes which had such titles as "Illusion Confusion," "Power of Persuasion," and "Focus Pocus."[15] He was given the title of consulting producer for two of these episodes.

Apollo was featured at TEDGlobal 2013 in June that year,[16] and its YouTube video (posted in September 2013) went viral, with almost 15 million views.[17]

He guest starred in the episode "Halloween II" on the FOX show, Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

He served as technical advisor on Warner Bros's 2015 movie Focus, he was also extensively featured in Blu-ray and DVD bonus features.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Green, Adam (January 7, 2013). "A Pickpocket's Tale". The New Yorker.
  2. ^ Bio Archived February 16, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Robbins, Apollo. "Brain Games: Use It or Lose It". YouTube. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  4. ^ "Apollo Robbins". Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  5. ^ Kane, Myles (January 5, 2013). "Video: The Art of Pickpocketing". The New Yorker. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Robbins, Apollo (2009). "Apollo Robbins". / Mental Floss. Archived from the original on July 13, 2013. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Robbins, Apollo (c. 2010). "Apollo Robbins, The Gentleman Thief". Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  8. ^ Hoffman, Jascha (October 31, 2008). "Art Teams With Science to Explain It All to You". New York Times.
  9. ^ "The View, Episode dated 22 January 2008". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  10. ^ "The Real Hustle: Season 1, Episode 1: The Distract and Conquer Con". Internet Movie Database. January 22, 2008. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  11. ^ "Leverage: Season 2, Episode 7: The Two Live Crew Job". Internet Movie Database. August 26, 2009. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  12. ^ "Nova ScienceNow: Season 5, Episode 3: How Does the Brain Work?". Internet Movie Database. February 2, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  13. ^ "Lawrence Leung's Unbelievable: Season 1, Episode 4: Magic". Internet Movie Database. July 6, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  14. ^ "Das automatische Gehirn". Internet Movie Database. December 9, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  15. ^ "Filmography by TV series for Apollo Robbins". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  16. ^ "Apollo Robbins: The art of misdirection". TED. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  17. ^ "The art of misdirection | Apollo Robbins". YouTube. September 13, 2013. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  18. ^ Focus 2015 Blu-ray Extras.


External linksEdit