Friday, March 21, 2008


Daily Mail [UK]
21 March 2008

'Look into my eyes': Supermarket robber who hypnotises checkout girls to get the cash is hunted by Italian police

Italian police have issued video footage of a man who has been hypnotizing supermarket checkout staff and getting them to hand over the cash.

In every case, according to reports, the last thing staff remember is a man leaning over and saying 'Look into my eyes' before suddenly finding the till is empty. [...]

London Times [UK]
23 March 2008

Italian hypnotist 'sent cashier into trance'

Richard Owen of The Times, in Rome
[Some other reports of hypno-thefts:]

The New Yorker
11 July 1936, p. 42


W. E. Farbstein

A Hindu mystic walked into a bar on the Riviera and hypnotized the barman into giving him a drink free of charge.

Hereward Carrington & Nandor Fodor, Haunted People (Toronto: Signet Mystic Books, 1968 [orig. 1951]), 118.

[A certain woman] could not resist her urge for stealing jewelry, [writes her analyst, Paul Federn, about a case from 1925.] During the treatment she fought strongly against her urges and succeeded in regard to minor objects. During this period it frequently happened that she coveted something while shopping for her daily needs. When she came home she then discovered that the coveted objects were in her bag wrapped in paper; they found their way into her pocket without having been paid for. The kleptomanic wish was apparently so strong that it communicated itself to the clerk behind the counter and made the clerk hand over the goods without conscious awareness; all this happened by an automatism.
National Lampoon
Oct. 1986, p. 14


This item appeared in North Carolina's Hickory Daily Record:

"A Hickory woman reported that she was the victim of a flimflam Thursday in the parking lot of K Mart on U.S. 64-70 East.

"Joyce Ancola Surrat said she was approached by a couple at approximately 7:20 P.M. According to a Hickory Police Department report, Ms. Surrat said the man moved his eyes back and forth, putting her in a trance. While she was in the trance, the man removed fifty-five dollars in cash from her purse and replaced the money with newspaper clippings."

The Daily Telegraph [UK]
26 May 1999

Woman gave cash 'under spell'

A SHOPKEEPER who gave stlg70 to two women posing as fortune tellers believes she was hypnotised into handing over the money. The woman, of Downham Market, Norfolk, who has not been named, believes she is a victim of spellbinding, where people are persuaded to hand over goods. West Norfolk police said no crime had been committed. A spokesman added: "She clearly remembers reaching into her till but hasn't a clue why she handed them such a large amount."


The Independent [South Africa]
13 July 2000

Look into my eyes ... now hand over the loot!

Kuala Lumpur - A man posing as a census-taker hypnotised an entire family in their own home then robbed them, a Malaysian newspaper reported on Thursday. The man convinced the family to let him in after telling them that he had forgotten to bring his identity badge, deputy commissioner of census for field operations Aziz Osman told the paper. The family, who live in Terengganu state in northern Malaysia, could not recall what happened from the time the man began a so-called interview and did not know when he left, Aziz said. They only realised they had been conned when they discovered some money missing. Their only explanation was that he had hypnotised them. About 53 000 census-takers are currently visiting homes across Malaysia for the country's first population count in a decade. - Sapa-AFP

Indian Express
17 Oct. 2000

`Hypnotised' woman robbed

CHANDIGARH, OCT 16: In a strange incident, Vijay Batta of Modern Complex, Mani Majra, claimed that she was robbed of her gold chain, kara and ring after being hypnotised near a local temple.

In her late 60s, Batta said that on October 13, she was stopped first by a male passer-by with a question, and then a woman in her 40s. ``She hypnotised me and made me give up my jewellery'', Batta told Chandigarh Newsline. ``I don't remember what happened after that.''

Batta's son Sudhir said his mother was found unconscious in the street. The Batta family said that though they had submitted a written complainant at the Mani Majra police station, no case had been registered.

Indian Express
16 Nov. 2000

Woman hypnotised by stranger, robbed of cash, ornaments

Manoj Dhiman

Ludhiana, Nov 15: An elderly woman was robbed of Rs 2,000 and gold ornaments by an unidentified man on Monday. The woman, Raj Kumari Sharma, a resident of Sector 39, Urban Estate on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh Road here, was on her way on a rickshaw at around 12 noon when she was stopped by a stranger near Calvery Church on the Brown Road.

The stranger called the woman bhuaji (aunt) and asked her to come with him as he could get her pension started from the concerned department. When she refused, the man continued talking to her and pursuing her to come with him, she said adding that after about 15 minutes she lost her senses as probably she was hypnotised by the stranger.

She added that then the stranger asked her to hand over her cash and jewellery to him saying she would not come under the pension scheme if the officials learnt that she was rich. [...]

Times of India
1 March 2001

Beware of that itch, it's meant to dupe!

By Dilnaz Boga

MUMBAI: Beware as you step in and out of your bank. You just could be the next victim of the tricksters waiting to fleece you. With their cheating modus operandi getting more innovative, a lot of people are falling prey.

On February 23, Ishrat Ali Lalljee, 37, a professor of Hinduja College was hypnotised by an unknown man while withdrawing her salary from Bank of India's Opera House branch. She registered a case at the D B Marg police station.

"I withdrew 40 notes of Rs 500 and was seated near the cash counter. A well-dressed man, around 30 to 35 years of age, 5ft 9 inches in height, fair, clean-shaven, came to me and mumbled something. He snatched the money from my hand and within a split of a second, returned it. For the next 30 seconds, I was spellbound. I went totally blank. By the time I got my bearings, it was too late, he had left and I fell short of Rs 6,000."

ACP B N Chougle of Girgaum division explains, "There is a group of two or three individuals who use this peculiar modus operandi. They keep on changing their area of operation, hence it has been a little difficult to nab them. This has been going on in areas like Chembur and Ghatkopar since several years. We might be able to trap them the next time they strike." [...]

New Straits Times
5 April 2001

Bewitched woman loses cash, jewellery, handphone to conman

[Penang, Malaysia]

By S. Shankar

A 21-year-old female factory worker was bewitched with cigarette smoke and robbed of cash, jewellery and a handphone worth a total of RM5,000 by a man, within minutes of being befriended by him. The victim told police the incident took place near the Komtar bus interchange at 3pm yesterday, after she had withdrawn money from an automatic teller machine (ATM) In her report, the victim claimed she was walking towards the interchange to board a bus when she was approached by a stranger. He introduced himself and befriended her, said Georgetown criminal investigation chief Superintendent Mohd Aris Ramli, adding that while they were walking towards the interchange, the man suddenly blew cigarette smoke into the victim's face. The victim felt drowsy after inhaling the smoke, and handed over her handbag containing cash RM2,400 and the handphone and jewellery to the man when asked to do so, Mohd Aris said. The victim only came to her senses after the man fled the place in a car parked nearby. […]

Ananova [UK]
19 May 2001

Australian police question suspect in hypnosis hold-ups

Police in Sydney have questioned an Indian man over a series of shops raids using hypnosis.

In the incidents, a man hypnotised store employees before persuading them to hand over cash.

Storekeeper Kauser Jamal told the Daily Telegraph that a man had talked to her, made predictions about her future and hypnotised her before talking her into handing over Aus $100 (35) twice in recent months.

The 26-year-old tourist from New Delhi was questioned and released on Thursday in connection with a string of similar incidents in stores across Sydney, the newspaper reported.

The Telegraph said police had no immediate plans to charge the man, whose identity was not released, because of the difficulty of proving he had broken the law.

Daily Express [Malaysia]
2 Nov 2001

'Conned by woman in Tudung' claim

Keningau: A 76-year-old widow here was conned of RM4,000 in cash and jewellery by a woman in "tudung" in a fake four-digit scam.

The victim's son, Rafaee Suip, said his mother was hypnotised by the woman aged about 18 before handing over the cash and valuables. [...]


Times of India
8 Jan 2002

'Psyched' youth hands over ornaments


CHANDIGARH: Two youths "hypnotised" teenage boy of Sector 23 and escaped with a large quantity of gold jewellery The incident took place on Saturday noon when Varun, class XI student, on his way to his great grandmothers house in Sector 22 met two youths in their mid-twenties near the Sector 23 temple.

Varun's father S N Sharma told Times News Network that the two youth engaged his son in conversation and hypnotised him.

They then told him that the gold jewellery in his house was under evil influence that would cause his parents' death.

They promised to drive out the evil if he brought them all the gold ornaments. [...]

Ananova [UK]
8 March 2002

Thieves 'hypnotise victim'

Two Romanian women have been arrested for allegedly using hypnosis to rob a man in a public park.

Police say the two women lured their victim promising they would read his palm but they took his wallet instead.

He was left in a trance sitting on a park bench in Sibiu. He woke up after half an hour and went to the police.

Libertatea newspaper reports the women are to go before a court charged with robbery.

Police in Sibiu say other people have been hypnotised before having their possessions stolen.


The Guardian [UK]
22 Aug 2003

Hypnotist thieves mesmerise Moscow

Kevin O'Flynn in Moscow

A Russian synchronised swimming champion is the latest victim of a pair of hypnotist thieves in Moscow.

After being put in a trance, Yulia Shestakovich, 21, took the two women to her flat and handed over cash and jewellery worth 19,000. A member of the Russian team that won the 2001 world championships, she is believed to be the pair's third victim in less than two months. [...]

Daily Record [Glasgow]
30 March 2004


A FAKE priest who hypnotised shopkeepers into handing over cash has been arrested.

The 63-year-old conman would wave his fingers in front of shopowners who would open their cash registers and hand over money.

Police in Rome said the conman then left the shopkeeper in a trance until an accomplice snapped them back to reality.

He is believed to have made more than £20,000 in a series of 10 stings over six months in the Italian capital.

Gulf Daily News [Bahrain]
2 Aug 2004

'Spell' cast by thieves


AN Indian jeweller claims he was hypnotised by three mysterious women, who tricked him into handing over BD580 in cash.

Abdul Hameed, 46, says he was counting out change for the women when they began making strange actions with their hands.

He claims he became suddenly depressed, but says he can't remember what happened next.

The last thing he recalls is watching them leave the shop, but it was only later when he thought about the strange encounter that he realised what had happened. [...]


Seattle Times
1 Feb 2005

Hypnotism in Russia a street-crime weapon?

By Kim Murphy
Los Angeles Times

[...] Across Moscow, a chestnut as old as crystal balls and gypsy curses makes regular appearances on the crime logs - hundreds of victims a year who say they were seduced out of their money in seemingly chance encounters with strangers. Many claim they were hypnotized by intense stares, mesmerizing babble and warnings of curses on their loved ones. [...]


Sydney Morning Herald
11 Oct 2005

Hunt for hypnotic robber

Moldovan police are searching for a con artist using hypnotism to steal tens of thousands of dollars from unwitting bank tellers, the Infotag news agency reported on Monday.

The suspect, identified as Vladimir Kozak, 49, is believed to have taken more than $39,000 from bank employees unable to resist his powers, police said. [...]


Gulf Daily News [Bahrain]
7 February 2006

More 'trance thieves' are questioned

Three more suspected Euroasian trance thieves appeared before the General Prosecution yesterday.

They were caught at Bahrain International Airport trying to leave the country, said Capital Police director-general Colonel Isa Abdulla Al Musallam.

The trance gang admitted their involvement in a string of hypno-thefts after they were caught on camera at an ATM. [...]


WMUR-TV [Manchester, NH]
27 September 2007

Storeowner Says Men Hypnotized Him Into Giving Them Cash
Police Warn That Scammers Could Target Other Stores

MARLBOROUGH, N.H. -- Two thieves scammed a Marlborough storeowner by claiming they could read his mind and reveal personal information about him before stealing money from his store, police said.

Police said that two Indian Punjabi men stole more than $1,000 from the Marlborough Country Convenience Store on Monday. The men told the storeowner that they were guruji, a type of Hindu priest, and that they could read his mind, police said.

Storeowner Yogesh Patel, 29, who is also from India, said that he had heard of the scam but never believed it and never thought it could happen to him. He said he's now upset and embarrassed.

"I'd never been (scammed), and every time I heard about it I laughed at it," Patel said.

Patel said the scam began with a simple mind game. The men asked him what his favorite flower was, and they opened a paper with the correct answer on it: "Rose." They then told him to think of a wild animal, and they again had written down his choice.

The scam quickly escalated to personal information involving family members and a former girlfriend.

"They also said my wife's name that not too many people know," Patel said. "My mom's name, they told me. And they told me what was my future goal."

Patel said he believes the men were able to hypnotize him into giving them money. Surveillance tape shows him putting cash into a hollowed-out book before getting more money from the safe.

After watching the tape, police said Patel seemed to have fallen under their sway.

"From him telling me, I wouldn't believe it," Detective Steve LaMears said. "Seeing the video, saying he's hypnotized, it makes it a little stronger." [...]