• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic
File:Bladesofavernum 4952.png

The soulful tunes of this accordion inspire you to new heights of thievery you never thought possible. Forget the Mona Lisa, you've got your eye on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.


This thief is unrestrained by those pesky laws of physics. Leave what they want in a timelocked diamond-hard safe underground in a room filled with lava past a pit of crocodiles and it will be gone in the morning. Should they choose to, they could steal your underwear (while you're wearing them!) without you noticing anything, or they could steal a jewel from in front of a dozen attentive guards without any of them seeing it go. When they're stealing a thing that can't be stolen in normal circumstances, like landmarks, geographic features, or abstract ideas or concepts, such as knowledge, ability, or souls, it's Monumental Theft.

Possibly you will be treated to a long detailed explanation of how they did it later in the show, or maybe it's just magic.

For a thief who isn't 'impossible' so much as 'too good to be true', it's a Classy Cat Burglar or a Gentleman Thief, respectively. Compare with Phantom Thief.

Examples of Impossible Thief include:

Carmen Sandiego

As the Trope Codifier and a character appearing in Video Games, Live Action TV and Western Animation, her and her crew's examples go here..

  • The Portuguese language.
  • The moon.
  • The Mona Lisa's smile.
  • The Hope Diamond's shine.[1]
  • Countries.
  • The ABC: A television channel.
    • The other ABC: the alphabet.
      • The letter ñ in Spanish.
  • The Bermuda Triangle. She probably made it get lost in itself.
  • The International Date Line, an imaginary concept that is part of the basis for time.
  • The Ozone Layer, which would result in worldwide disaster.
    • She would then steal the disaster.
  • ALL the goulash.
  • The internet.
  • Tai chi, a martial art.
  • Periods of history.
  • And to top it all off, the frickin' Milky Way Galaxy. Theoretically, that means she stole Earth as well.

Anime and Manga

  • Atomsk from FLCL is able to steal solar systems.
  • Lupin III:
    • He'll sometimes steal things just to prove that he can. He once stole The Statue of Liberty.
    • He once stole the Cristo Redentor[2] - because he needed someplace to hold the cash from the main heist of the episode.
    • In one movie alone he stole a submarine, a large nuclear fuel source, a space shuttle, and a satellite full of money.
    • In another he started a legitimate company by stealing oil from a rival company's well.
    • A subversion occurs in The Castle of Cagliostro, the treasure of the Cagliostro family is a lost and almost perfectly preserved Roman city which was hidden beneath the lake in which the castle rests. Lupin admits that it's the greatest and most valuable thing he's ever encountered, but it's simply too big for his pocket. Not that he doesn't steal something in that film, though, as Zenigata points out.
  • Jack Rakan from Mahou Sensei Negima stole panties off one of two girls without them noticing. The only reason he didn't get both of them is that the other girl was Going Commando. And he is supposed to be a fighter, not a thief. He later one-ups himself by stealing the panties off of several of Fate's minions simultaneously.
  • Jing, King of Bandits, it's claimed that the title character can steal anything and that is what he does. He does concede defeat after discovering that one treasure is a landmark. Given that he has succeeded in stealing greed, a dream, and a smile, this is quite an admission.
    • However, those three things did have a physical representation that was small enough to carry one-handed. A landmark is not.
  • Ataru Moroboshi from Urusei Yatsura does this to Lum in the first episode, stealing the top to her bikini outfit from 20 feet or so away, pulling it from his pants of all places, to distract her long enough for him to tag her horns.
    • The above refers to the movie Beautiful Dreamer. In the anime, Ataru steals Lum's bikini by using a sticky dart gun to latch onto and pull off her Fur Bikini top. When the ashamed oni dives at him to retrieve it, he outmaneuvers her and grabs her horns from behind, as she's too distracted to think about flying away from him.
  • Deconstructed by Kaitou KID, in several ways. While the biggest thing he has ever stolen is a pair of clock hands from a clock tower, the way he performs his heists make him an impossible thief. Among fan favorites is him literally walking in midair, and establishing an alibi in true Lelouch form by going on a date and performing his heist, effectively putting him in literally two places at once. Shinichi has long since given up on figuring out his identity, focusing more on how he performs his impossible tasks.
  • Genma, Ranma, and possibly Happosai from Ranma ½ apply to this trope. Genma and Ranma using the Umisenken can steal the floor out from under trained martial artists or the clothes they are wearing without them noticing until after it was done. Happosai and Ranma have been shown to be able to steal underclothes (or objects hidden within them) while the people were still wearing them.

Comic Books


Dad: " WALLET!"
Mom: "My PURSE!"
Kitty: "My VIRGINITY! Wow, she's good."

  • Rubel from Thieves and Kings is on his way to becoming one of these when he grows up. His uncle McGi have performed feats like retrieving a girls lost memories and intimidating the hell out of a dragon who ate cities.
  • Fingers from a Lucky Luke comic is a Gentleman Thief who often pulls off insane thefts such as stealing guns from people's hands without them noticing... and without noticing doing it himself.
  • In the Franco-Belgian comic Achille Talon, kleptomaniac Toussaint Glinglin is able to steal absolutely everything, including people clothes while talking to them, or the whole display of a shop he passed by. He even mentions having inadvertently stolen bells while visiting churches.
  • A one-panel cartoon that ran in Playboy shows a woman at a party chatting with a nerdy-looking fellow, telling him her husband calls him the company's slickest salesman. She doesn't seem to notice she's been stripped down to garter belt, stockings and shoes, with her dress and most of her underwear draped over the salesman's arm.


  • Ernie the Klepto strikes again.
  • This Farmer's Insurance spot involves a burglar, tied down, who nonetheless manages to steal what looks like the contents of a two-story house after the trainee agents turn their back on him for a few seconds. Plus an agent's watch. And he managed to put on a wedding dress. He's still tied down.

Fairy Tales


  • Played with in Blade Of Fury, when a noblewoman wants some pesky guards out of the way she places her own jewels into their hands, without them noticing, and screams. Help arrives, believes the scene she has set that the guards were robbing her or worse and the guards are lynched.
  • Exaggerating the Dungeons & Dragons scenario below, in The Gamers, the thief idly picks a bar patron's pocket for some money. Then he sees how far he can go:

Thief: Does he have any, uh... weapons, or anything?
DM: Yeah, he's got a knife.
Thief: I take that too.
DM: Okay, roll it. *die roll!*
Thief: *holding the dagger* Haha, cool! I'm kickin' ass! Hmm... I wanna steal his pants.
DM: You're...not serious.
Thief: I am serious.
DM: * wearily* Why do you want his pants?
Thief: I don't want 'em, I just wanna see if I can steal 'em.
DM: Fine, go ahead, but you suffer a -8 penalty for difficulty.
Thief: *die roll!*
DM: I don't believe it... *the thief shows off the newly acquired pants to his companions*

  • Blazing Saddles: Bart, the new black sheriff, strikes a friendship with Jim, a drunken gunslinger, whom he does not believe is the infamous "Waco Kid". To prove himself, Jim encourages Bart to clap his hands onto a chess piece starting with his hands about about a foot apart, and Jim halfway across the room. Bart claps his hands around the piece, and Jim apparently doesn't even move. When Bart opens his hands, he finds them empty, and Jim reveals that the chess piece is now in his previously empty holster.
  • Christopher Nolan's Inception features a crew of thieves that steal ideas for a living.
    • Justified, since they do this by reading the subject's mind. In a situation like that, all you can steal are ideas.
  • In Despicable Me, one of Gru's rival villains is able to completely remove one of the Pyramids of Giza and replace it with an inflatable model without anyone noticing. Gru himself mentions stealing the Times Square Jumbo-tron, the Statue of Liberty ("The small one, from Las Vegas"), and the Eiffel Tower ("Also from Vegas"), and the film's plot largely revolves around his scheme to steal the moon.
  • In It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, Kermit enters an alternate reality in which he never existed and meets Fozzie, who has become a street thief. Fozzie promptly picks his pocket. Lampshaded by Kermit's angel companion, who correctly points out that Kermit, being a frog, doesn't have any pockets.
  • The Thief from The Thief and the Cobbler steals the MacGuffin from a collapsing death machine, the words "The End" at the end of the movie and the film from the projector!


  • While obviously hyperbolic, the thief Talen from David Eddings' Elenium series is, at one point, said to be able to "Steal the eyes right outta your head, and you wouldn't notice 'till you need to look at something closely." He's not QUITE that good in reality, but he really is very, very good.
  • In Discworld the daughter of Cohen the Barbarian once managed to steal some jewelry by pickpocketing the boss of Ankh-Morpork thieves' guild. It wouldn't be an impossible feat if not for the fact that the jewels weren't in his pocket. He had swallowed them.

This was the type of thief who could steal the initiative, the moment and the words right out of your mouth.

    • Of course, she is the daughter of a man who stole a country in Interesting Times.
      • And an omen
    • The titular Thief of Time Ludd steals items by stopping time so others don't notice. There is a limit, but still...
    • In Reaper Man, two priests in Offler's lost temple hear someone approaching, presumably to steal the huge diamond therein. As the would-be thief trips one murderous booby-trap after another and still keeps coming, the priests grow increasingly alarmed, and are on the brink of panic when the intruder bypasses the temple's final line of defense. Luckily for them, it's only Death, not Mrs. Cake.
  • In Momo, the Grey Men trick people into giving them their spare time, and without any time left for leisure, they lose all emotion or purpose in life.
  • In the Thursday Next book The Eyre Affair the villain Acheron Hades has various inexplicable abilities such as not appearing on film or video, being impossibly persuasive, practically unkillable, able to "lie in thought, word and deed" and can push his hand through a bulletproof glass case to steal the item inside leaving only a faint ripple in the glass. In one scene he muses on how there's no need to hide from the guards, since they would be easily taken care of, but that wouldn't be as much fun.
  • The title character of Roald Dahl's short story "The Hitchhiker"; which was made into an episode of Tales of the Unexpected.
  • Arsène Lupin is an impossible thief, possibly the first. The stories, written by Maurice LeBlanc, are contemporaneous with Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. Lupin sometimes adds insult to injury by giving the owners of his targets details such as the time, date, or even method of the theft in advance.
  • A.J. Raffles, in the stories by E.W. Hornung, repeatedly pulls off "impossible" thefts, including that of a gold cup from the British Museum, and once, stealing the collection of "souvenirs" of his previous crimes from the Black Museum of Scotland Yard itself.
  • The main character of the Dickie Dick Dickens series starts out as this. He is a humble pickpocket who earns the ire of the gangster leaders of Chicago by not playing by the rules; when they sic the police on him in a massive betrayal, he turns out to have stolen every gun of every cop in Chicago the day before. The embarrassed cops call it a day; Dickens dumps the weapons in Lake Michigan.
  • Macore, the master thief of the Dancing Gods series (before he unfortunately succumbed to Sequelitis and went mad, anyway.) Somewhat justified in that, like all high-level thieves in his world, he uses magic (the really good stuff is all spell-protected, so it's an occupational necessity).
  • The children's book Finn MacCool and the Small Men of Deeds featured Taking Easy, who could steal anything. Anything. He stole the headache out of Finn's head and claimed to be able to steal the twinkle from his eye,or the harp from a player whilst he's playing it (and he wouldn't know it was gone). He helped out with the big rescue at the end of the book by stealing the locks off the doors.
  • Played surprisingly straight in the Bernice Summerfield novel Ship of Fools. The brilliant thief called the Cat's Paw defeats the most advanced technological security systems.
  • In the Kid Detective series Misfits Inc., the first book starts with an extremely valuable microchip vanishing while in plain sight, under glass, in the middle of a room. The lead figures out that the chip was never there in the first place; it was a hologram of the chip that had been installed in the base, and the battery had simply died. The chip had been stolen some time ago.
  • Eugenides, from The Queen's Thief has stolen time, peace, a queen, the king's seal, a mythical object, and a country. He was only caught once, when he was trying to get arrested.
    • Acknowledged in-universe. There is nothing he can't steal, except, it is said, himself out of a prison.
      • He could've done that too, but he was in the middle of a Batman Gambit that hinged on still being in prison. For reals. He means it you guys.
    • Twice. The second time the gods ganged up on him.
  • Deltora Quest. Polypans aren't as outrageous an example of this trope, but they are described as being able to 'steal the shirt off your back without you noticing.'
  • Skif of the Heralds of Valdemar series claims to be one of these. At one point, he is challenged to steal a classmate's lucky coin. The classmate spends the rest of the day with his hand on his pocket to make sure it's still there, and gleefully tells Skif at the end of the time limit that he has failed. Skif then produces the coin. Subverted in that he actually stole the coin and replaced it with a lead slug before the other kid challenged him.
  • Kiera the Thief in the Dragaera series was once asked for a demonstration of how she could substitute one weapon for another which her target was wearing. She asked Vlad if he wore a dagger in a forearm sheath. He said he did, and she walked over to stand beside him for a few seconds, her hand never coming close enough to have got the dagger, then returned to her chair. Vlad checked; his dagger was still in its sheath. Kiera smiled. That had been misdirection; she'd swiped the dagger from Kragar's forearm sheath while walking past him. Bear in mind, the sheath is inside his sleeve, so she had to reach in there — twice, once to pull the dagger out and once to put the replacement in — without being noticed.

Live Action TV

  • In an episode of Get Smart, Smart is working with a thief for an important operation. They are hiding behind a clump of bushes from a guard, and Max says that the thief needs to steal the guard's keys without being noticed. Not only does the thief get the keys, he steals the guard's German Shepherd guard dog without him noticing.
  • In The Two Ronnies sketch show, there was an extended series of sketches where they played stage magicians caught up around a diamond heist and having to investigate it for themselves. To reveal the plot at the end they invited the Villains on stage during their act and proceeded with a pickpocket act which went from the mundane "Is this your wallet, sir?" to the absurd "Is this your knicker elastic, madam?" (the Dark Chick's underwear fall down from under her dress at this point) and finally getting to the point of "Is this your stolen diamond, sir?" They also stole the man's belt, setting things up so neither villain could run effectively.
  • Leverage has a Catch Phrase "Let's go steal an X", though they usually do this through Bavarian Fire Drill or similar means. This has led to lines like "Let's go steal us a wedding", "Let's go steal a hospital", or "Let's go steal us a general". The team's thief, Parker, once stole the Hope Diamond, then put it back, just because she didn't have anything better to do.
    • The ultimate examples: "Let's go steal the future" and "Let's go steal the Pentagon." When it's pointed out that the latter would be treason, Chessmaster Nate shrugs and says they'll give it back.
  • An episode of Psych had a thief who managed to do things like steal an object out of a sealed metal box within seconds of the opportunity arising and this without disturbing the casing. It turned out he wasn't a thief at all. Everything was given to him by the "victims" who then collected insurance.
    • He later faked his own death.... with an explosion.
  • The Tales of the Unexpected episode "Fingersmith", based on Roald Dahl's short story (see above).
  • Bill on The Red Green Show demonstrated being an Impossible thief in episode 108. He stole, in order, Red's wallet, house keys, pocket knife, car keys, pocket change, boxer shorts, socks, and then shoes. Red noticed none of this and all the viewer sees is Bill give Red a pat on the shoulder.

Tabletop Games

  • Exalted
    • A power named "Flawless Pickpocket" whereby if you can touch someone you can steal anything from them.
    • The more powerful version is "Steal in Plain Sight". No one even notices the item (possibly protected by museum security, guards, and security cameras) is gone until 5 minutes AFTER you leave and you don't even need to touch them if you spend a point of willpower.
    • There's also one that lets you pilfer things on the other side of a door...literally any kind of door, even if it's a portcullis or has been nailed shut.
    • Other charms which allow you to steal intangible things include Thought-Swiping Distraction, which lets you steal people's thoughts; Dream Confiscation Approach, which is used to steal people's dreams; and Name-Pilfering Practice, which allows its user to steal someone's name. As in, everyone in the world (including the victim) immediately forgets the victim's name.
    • The Adorjan theft charms. They are like the Solar ones, stealing in plain sight, no one realizing it for a while. The difference is the fact that the Scourge can steal individuals "owned" by others. This is more then just slaves, they can steal children, proteges, henpecked husbands, etc. This makes the object of the theft lose any emotional connection to their previous owners as well as making the original owners forget the thing stolen or be alright with it being gone.
      • Note that for most, if not all of these, there is zero chance of failure. They just work.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 a target might notice an attempt to pick his pocket, but can't stop the thing from being taken. Regardless of how big the item is, how it's secured or whether the target is watching, the check is always a flat DC 20. A level 3 character can literally steal the shirt off someone's back with 100% success.[3]
    • It has been worked out on the Character Optimization boards of the Wizards website that a sufficiently skilled thief is able to steal his own pants without himself noticing.
    • An epic-level character with high ranks in Escape Artist is explicitly allowed to crawl through spaces that are smaller than his own head. Don't think too hard about that.
    • In 4th edition, the Thief of Legend epic destiny allows the player characters to approach levels unseen since the double-dealing diva herself. Such a thief can swipe unattended objects or vehicles, intangible concepts such as memory or eyecolor, or even the thief's own soul, ensuring that death will never hold her back.
    • Near the end of third edition the Binder class was published which bound various vestiges (fragments of lost souls) to itself. One of these vestiges is a dying legendary thief that repented on the deathbed. The god of thieves was furious then realized the thief just stole his own soul from the god of thieves. Amused but unwilling to ruin the joke, the soul of the thief in question became a vestige instead of going to the afterlife.
    • Carrying capacity is relatively trivial to push to absurd levels since it grows exponentially and as damage is (normally) not based on it developers rarely care about balancing increases too much. If you take all of them and have access to teleportation you can have a super strong character that can pick up buildings and teleport away with them (or you can take Hulking Hurler and throw them for enough damage to destroy the world).
    • The Eberron Prestige Class Blade of Orien gains the ability to teleport objects that weigh no more than five pounds and are within 25 feet to their hand. As a spell-like ability this requires no movement or noise, just a thought. A lot of clothing (though not the most valuable stuff) weighs 5 pounds or less for the whole outfit. What makes this notable is that Blade of Orien isn't intended as a thief class.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse has the spirit gift "Taking The Forgotten", which lets you steal something and lets the previous owner forget he possessed it in the first place.
  • In the backstory for In Nomine, the Demon Prince of Theft, Valefor, was promoted to Demon Prince after he apparently stole the Word of Rapine from its previous owner. Words, in this context, being abstract concepts that grant semi-phenomenal, nearly-cosmic power to those bound to them. He also stole a Book from the Library of Yves, the Archangel of Destiny, which is located in Heaven. As a demon, he wouldn't be able to enter Heaven without being destroyed instantly. However, this may just raise questions as to whether he's as demonic as he claims to be...

Video Games

If the game mechanics let the player's character steal ridiculous things or under ridiculous circumstances, see Video Game Stealing. Examples here should be limited to impossible stealing that happens as part of the storyline.

  • Garrett from the Thief series - trained by people who make near invisibility and stealth an art form. Let's cut the crap and say he steals an evil artifact from an elder god in the middle of a ritual in which it is being used to make the world a horrifying place.
    • Taken to extremes in that many players consider exploiting bugs to pass through walls or steal items from inside locked boxes as not being bug exploits at all. Garrett is really that good.
  • In Oblivion, Gray Fox, while not technically an impossible thief has many an in-game urban legend surrounding him which seems to regard him as an impossible thief who can turn invisible and slip underneath locked doors. And the player gets to inherit the title by stealing an Elder Scroll, the games namesake and an item that can literally rewrite the laws of time and space, a feat considered impossible in and of itself.
    • The fact the original Grey Fox stole the iconic Grey Cowl from a Daedric Prince (basically demons so powerful they're worshiped as gods) makes these legends well deserved.
  • In the bonus chapter of Disgaea 3, a mysterious thief actually Overlord Baal in his incarnation as an insanely overpowered yet cutesey mushroom is stealing all sorts of ridiculous things from various Nippon Ichi characters, including: An unspecified item from Mao, a 1 billion HL savings from Etna, a collector's DVD set from Flonne... and then it gets weird: Salvatore's "womanliness", a "space and letter A" from Master Big Star (turning him into Master Bigster), Prism Red's friends, Laharl's height and his screen time in the new game, Axel's stardom, Marona's "pure heart", and a game in which Asagi (a Running Gag N1 character) is the main character. Slightly subverted in which Baal says he doesn't remember "stealing all that", making it unclear how much was actually stolen and how much was "insurance fraud".
    • Asagi has regularly tried to steal the role of main character from the protagonist of the game(s) she's appeared in—apparently, a certain book cursed her to not be able to return to her own game, and so she's forced to level up profusely and attempt to steal the spotlight from every other game's main character. Her most recent attempt has her donning an explosive Prinny suit in an attempt to steal the role from the protagonist of "Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero?", a Prinny (of course), only for the suit to violently detonate with her inside it upon losing.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, the Queen of Hearts accuses Alice of being one of these and stealing her heart. The real culprit was a Heartless. The fact that the Heartless managed to steal her heart without her seeing it could also count, unless it did it when she was asleep.
    • Should be noted that hearts are not metaphysical concepts in this case (they're also distinct from the muscle)-- they're literally glowing valentine's hearts that serve as a person's emotional and spiritual core, and Heartless steal them on a regular basis (although not always without being noticed).
      • Also, considering that if something stole your heart you'd die, you just HAVE to wonder, how in the hell is SHE alive to say so?
      • The Queen only accused Alice of attempting to steal her heart. If her heart had been stolen, she would have been in no condition to accuse anyone of doing anything.
    • Not to mention the opening of Kingdom Hearts II, in which the Dusks somehow manage to steal not only every existing photo of Roxas, but also the word "photo" itself.
      • Slightly subverted. the world this takes place in is actually a computer simulation-- the Dusks didn't actually steal the word photo, they just altered the code so that particular word was left undefined and, hence, had no meaning. As all the characters you meet there are simulated by the program, they are unable to recall the word. In the "real world" of Kingdom Hearts, things like this are not possible and do not occur.
  • Final Fantasy VI has an example that overlaps with Video Game Stealing. Locke Cole, behind enemy lines in occupied South Figaro, steals first a merchant's clothes and then an Imperial officer's uniform, while the merchant and the officer are wearing them. While it's done within the standard battle system (this section of the game being the only time Locke's in-battle theft works this way), stealing the officer's uniform is required to advance the plot (the merchant's clothes, while useful, can be skipped), meaning that it's not just gameplay mechanics.
  • One of the steps in the quest to become a full member of the Kingdom of Loathing equivalent of the Thieves' Guild is to steal your own pants, without yourself noticing.
  • In Arcanum, the background material mentions Bolo, halfling god of thievery, who tried to show off by stealing the shadow off his stepfather Progo, god of storms. He was found out, and Progo cut off Bolo's arm. In revenge, Bolo stole Progo's soul, and tore it in half, killing the god instantly.
  • Twice during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion in World of Warcraft, a handful of rogues inexplicably wound up with the ability to speak two languages that are usually off-limits to players: Draconic and Titan. This has never been removed in subsequent patches. Obviously, this means that while you're logged out, your characters are hard at work stealing languages.
  • Tales of Monkey Island features Kevin the Thief who can repeatedly steal anything Guybrush tries to take from his place. Kevin has NO HANDS!


  • Megatokyo: Yuki - she stole a zilla. That is, a Godzilla analogue.
    • That's not all she's stolen - noticing the things Yuki steals has become a sort of sport on the Megatokyo forums. Kleptomania actually seems to be her inherited Magical Girl power, if her mother is any indication. (The first time we meet Yuki's mother, she excitedly shows Erika the new kitchen knife she bought, after a moment realizing she "forgot to pay". Erika just says "You're still doing that?")
    • Any time Yuki gets in a fight as a Magical Girl (usually in the Omake chapters), she "fights" by stealing peoples' weapons before they can use them. When Dom points a gun at her, she steals all of his numerous guns and ammo clips in the blink of an eye, and then she disappears...with his van, before he even notices his guns are missing.
  • This and this from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.
  • Thief from Eight Bit Theater can steal anything that isn't both on fire and nailed down (maybe). He even stole his post-class change costume from his future self. (...Which naturally somewhat bit him in the rear later.)[4] He also stole a soul from its container (the Earth Orb) and once stated he'd have no problem stealing his opponents resolve.
  • This Perry Bible Fellowship episode.
  • Thunderstruck Saxony Canterbury uses magic by pretending to perform conjuring tricks. Stealing with only a fleeting contact is simple for him, more impressive is stealing a bullet from mid-air and producing it from behind the gunman's ear with all the brain spatter that implies.
  • In Comic #649 of Order of the Stick, Haley steals her own diamond from the cast page, leaving an "I.O. Me" note in its place.
  • Subverted in Nodwick. The party thief Keebler, returning from a bout of therapy after Yeagar 'accidentally' put a cursed helm on his head that gave him brain damage, combines this trope (he is implied to have stolen the tips from strippers during a striptease) with a contract that prevents him from being fired as long as no-one in the party can prove he's stealing from them. The party knows he's going to try to steal the artifact they've looted this time around, but aren't sure how to stop him. Nodwick solves the problem because he has his own impossible skills: he stacks the loot so that the item can't be removed by anyone but a trained henchman without the entire pile of loot collapsing onto them, which not even the thief's impossible theft skills can fox and he's caught red-handed. Double Subverted in that Keebler still makes off with Nodwick's shirt and pants as he walks off into the sunset, and Nodwick didn't even notice it.
  • In Adventurers!, Karashi manages to steal Drecker's dagger-print underwear without him noticing. Bonus points since Drecker is the party's thief, not Karashi.
    • Decker manages to steal a huge sword from a foe who didn't even know he was carrying it, and was upset that he'd been stuck with a wooden shortsword all this time. This is of course poking fun at the standard RPG steal mechanic.
  • The Detective, protagonist of The Way of the Metagamer 2: In Name Only. He's confirmed to have stolen a left hand and kidney without their owner noticing.
  • From Cyanide & Happiness, there's this guy.
  • In the comic Lint, one of the main characters is a thief so skilled that he can steal your socks. While you're standing in them. And you won't noticed until you suddenly realize that your feet feel different.
  • Sam Starfall of Freefall has been known to steal the locks ("That's two more for my collection!") off of prison doors while escaping—and sometimes the doors themselves. It's apparently a natural trait of his species.
  • Violetta from Girl Genius has twice swapped a weapon while someone was in the middle of using it, including once from across the room. She even swapped a hostage for a straw dummy pulled out of nowhere ...also from across the room.
  • Eerie Cuties got Blair, who turns out to be an Impossible Panty Thief. Layla once weaponized this by telling him another girl wears "the rarest panties in the Universe". So he stole these. Somehow. From a girl standing on solid floor.
  • Official first contact between the Blood Ravens and Trazyn the Infinite by Chen Ruo Yu (Blood Ravens from Dawn of War got Fan Nickname "Bloody Magpies" due to ludicrous amount and variety of artifacts that somehow ended up in their possession, and Trazyn was an immortal Collector of the Strange before anything with a spine crawled the Earth).

Western Animation

  • Fairly often used for comical effects in cartoons. Such as Looney Tunes. Once a character stole an elderly man's dentures while he was wearing them.
  • On the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "F.U.N.", Mr. Krabs tempts Plankton (who claims to have reformed) with a Krabby Patty. Although the patty is untouched and always on camera, at the end it's somehow been replaced with a cutout, which Krabs should have been able to notice from his angle even if it was standing up.
  • On The Fairly OddParents, Dr. Bender once stole Chip Skylark's teeth. Unlike the Looney Tunes example above, they were not dentures, they just came out as if they were.
  • While Catwoman is always regarded as a master-thief, the Harley Quinn cartoon exaggerates it. In the scene where she first appears (to meet with Harley and Ivy in a restaurant) she casually waltzes in, wearing her costume (meaning she'd likely attract attention anywhere else) and casually steals a necklace one patron is wearing and earrings from another, without anyone noticing. Then, after a minute or so of talking to the duo, she manages to steam Ivy's jacket and put it on, in the space of about two seconds, again before she notices. Finally, in a later scene of the episodes (where she predictably abandons Harley, Ivy, and Kite Man to die after literally fulfilling her end of their bargain) she manages to steal a ring from inside its box which is itself inside Kite Man's pocket.

Real Life

  • In
  • Until May 20, 2019 a "kilogram" (and by extension a mole) was based on the kilogram, which is stored in a French vault. It was theoretically possible to steal it and literally steal units of measurement (which is one the reasons why it is in a vault).
  • Among U.S. soldiers stationed in South Korea, Korean sneak thieves, known as "slicky boys," have something of this reputation. "Slicky boy can steal the cot you're sleeping on."
  1. which would mean she completely chemically reconfigured it and left it there
  2. the giant statue of Jesus in Rio
  3. Have 18 Dexterity, put 6 ranks in the relevant skill, and take 10. There's only a chance of failure if you try it during combat. Or if the DM realizes what the GM in The Gamers did, and levies circumstantial penalties to the check.
  4. Only "somewhat" because Sarda would have de-leveled him anyway.