PICKPOCKETS, LUSH WORKERS AND BEACH TOWEL BANDITS ARE ON THE RISE – HOW TO AVOID BEING A VICTIM IN TAMPA BAY FLORIDA

From time immemorial Pickpockets and Thieves have thrived by diverting someone’s attention by any means then going in for the kill. Pickpockets aren’t only operating on St. Petersburg and Clearwater tourists they’re after anyone who is vulnerable in the Tampa Bay Area. And you’re vulnerable as soon as your attention is diverted, even if only for a moment while reading what your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney is typing, so hold onto your wallet.


Clearwater Police say there’s been a spike on Clearwater Beach of Beach Blanket Bandits stealing cell phones, ipods, wallets and especially car keys while the victim walks the beach or swims. Possibly the downturn in the economy is creating more criminal activity than usual. 
It’s best to keep as many valuables safely locked in the car as possible and if walking on the beach to keep valuables with you.  In Florida any amount over $300 is a Grand Theft punishable by up to 5 years in prison; while an amount under $300 is Petty Theft. Anyone breaking into a vehicle with the intention of stealing is also guilty of a Burglary (A number of Beach Thefts occurred on the west side of the Clearwater Beach island, stretching from the 300 block of S Gulfview Boulevard on the south end to Rockaway Street farther north.).
Clearwater police see spike in beach blanket thefts
Here is a short excerpt from the always optimistic New York Times about Lush Workers who cut the pockets of those who are disoriented perhaps from that one drink too many at the end of the night. Many victims don’t report the crime because they’re too ashamed or inebriated:

The lush worker sounds like a monster in a bedtime story, a stooped creature with a razor blade in one stealthy hand. Don’t drink, children, or the Lush Worker will get you.
But he is actually a middle-aged or older man who has been doing this for a very long time. And he is a fading breed.
Lush workers date back at least to the beginning of the last century, their ilk cited in newspaper crime stories like one in The New York Times in 1922, describing “one who picks the pockets of the intoxicated. He is the old ‘drunk roller’ under a new name.” While the term technically applies to anyone who steals from a drunken person, most police officers reserve it for a special kind of thief who uses straight-edge razors found in any hardware store… the good ones practice at home with mannequins.

There’s even a Chicago-based group of pickpockets who like something out of Oliver Twist, calling itself ‘Cannon to the Wiz’ have been merging low-tech pickpocketing with the modern scheme of choice, identity theft. The group has been active since at least 2007, “marrying high-tech fraud techniques with the Dickensian art of pickpocketing,” Wired.com reported.

The Tampa Police Department does not have a rough estimate of how many lush workers are out working lushes, but they sent me this recent painting of a lush mush tush that occurred recently at Old Hyde Park in Tampa, Florida.

The Pick Pocket - Charles Edouard Edmond Delort
Charles Delort, The Pickpocket

Is the lady part of the scam with the boy or is she merely an innocent flirt who enjoys being helped by older men on soggy afternoon walks? 
    Scholars, Art Experts & Lushes agree that the boy appears to be coming not from behind the couple but from the front, then smartly turns around to do the quick trick of cutting the man’s money bag, which easily is within the young lady’s view as she distracts the target, the innocent man, well maybe not so innocent, man. Also, their stances match, their facial expressions match and even the color of their clothes match. Recent DNA evidence from the FBI taken of pigment samples on the surface of the painting conclusively reveals that the young lady and boy are in fact brother and sister, thus proving a pickpocketing conspiracy.