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Thief Hypnotizes Shopkeeper, Then Robs Him

A London robber knocks over a convenience store in unusual fashion.

LONDON-- A thief with the power to hypnotize his victims has been caught on camera stealing money directly from the pockets of a London shopkeeper who was apparently stuck in a trance.

The theft, which was over in less than a minute, took place in a North London liquor store. Several hundred dollars were taken from Aftab Haider, 56, after a man brushed his arm and then made a hand gesture in front of his face.

Scotland Yard released a video of the extraordinary crime in an appeal for anyone who recognizes the man to come forward. Detective Sergeant Dave Bullock said: “The victim remained motionless and unable to stop the robbery taking place. He said that he was momentarily unaware of what had happened to him.”

Friends of Haider said he had been “stunned” and was unable to grasp why he didn’t respond to the brazen theft. As soon as the criminal left the shop, the victim snapped back into consciousness and tried to chase after him.

A magician with a show on the BBC said the thief must have come into the shop and hypnotized the man in advance, implanting a “trigger” in his subconscious that could be quickly activated on a return visit. “You can never hypnotize 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,” Damien O’Brien told the London Evening Standard.