A crafty thief, who might be starting off a career as some sort of super-villain, robbed an off-licence in London using hypnosis.
The upmarket drinks retailer in Highgate, north London, is owned by Aftab Haider, who was the victim of the crime in September of this year. Today, the police have released CCTV footage of the incident which shows the criminal apparently putting Mr. Haider in to some sort of stunned trance before rifling through his pockets and making off with hundreds of pounds.
The video shows the robber making a stabbing gesture with his right hand and touching Haider on the shoulder, which seems to initiate the trance-like state, before also seemingly miming the shape of a pregnant woman's belly, along with several other movements that leave the shopkeeper completely motionless and stunned, until the man leaves the building and he realises what has happened.
Speaking to The Evening Standard, BBC Three magician Damien O’Brien suggested that the criminal had been to the store before and had possibly implanted some "trigger" words that would allow him to pull off the audacious heist: "You can never hypnotise someone on the first go, you warm them up. I would have thought he has already gone in there before and done some pre-suggestive stuff. He may have said on an earlier visit that the next time he comes in and touches the man on the shoulder he is going to go into a relaxed trance and will let him go into his pockets".
While you do get a good look at him in the video, police aren't ruling out that someone (or something) else was involved too.