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Be Aware: Jeepney Pickpockets

August 8, 2013

EDIT: Originally posted on October 12, 2012. I modified this because the fall guy could be beside the victim.

I was searching for a specific modus operandi pickpockets might employ, however google only yielded some, if not vague, irrelevant articles. This might already be going around, someone might have already posted about this, the news must have already put it in their papers, but I can’t find any, and this is my attempt to shed some awareness to all.

I don’t really think it’s rampant, but it would help to be aware of it.

Please take note that I have not fallen victim to this, but I have come to know six of my friends who did.

What The Pickpockets Need

  • A party of Three (3)
    1. The pickpocket – This person will be the one who will get your personal belongings. This person will be directly beside you, left or right depending where the protrusion is from your pants that is your cellphone or wallet.
    2. The fall guy – He will take the blame for taking your item.
    3. The blow horn – Initiator of the confusion.
  • Anything that will conceal the pickpocket. (Example: A gym bag, an illustration board, as long as it’s enough to cover the pickpocket‘s hands and torso, and maybe even part of the people beside him.)
  • Fare – They still have to pay, especially the blow horn.
  • A crowded jeep – preferably ones with long routes probably more time for waiting and room for error.
  • A victim – preferably one wearing pants.



For the victims of this modus operandi – Especially my friends, who are A, F, D, P, J, and H. (I dare not say your names.)


As with any type of illegal activity, they will not raise suspicion – especially the pickpocket and the blow horn. They will appear to be friendly and helpful just to gain the trust of their target as well as the other people in the jeep. The fall guy can be anyone as long as he is in front of the victim.

PLACEMENT: The pickpocket and the fall guy will be on opposite sides, further inside the jeep, and the blow horn will be somewhere near the entrance/exit.


Potential victim enters the crowded jeep. No one seems to budge, so the pickpocket will make it a point to move aside to create space for the victim to sit down on.

This space is directly in front or beside of the fall guy.

Pickpocket may attempt to create an atmosphere where the victim will feel comfortable beside pickpocket. Be it small talk, a simple smile, maybe even open a conversation, or the blow horn might start barking and telling everyone to make space for the victim.

Act I – The Payment

Blow horn will be paying for his fare in loose change. His payment will be passed via the fall guy.

Fall guy passes the coins to the driver, deliberately dropping a coin to the floor around the victim’s feet.

After the driver receives the payment, the fall guy begins to frantically search for the dropped coin – opening the victim’s legs, moving them aside, coaxing the victim to help him in his search.

While the fall guy is looking for the coin, the pickpocket will make his move by slowly pushing the phone out. Because of the fall guy‘s intrusive searching, the victim may fall oblivious to pickpocket‘s moves.

When the pocket has been picked, the fall guy gets off the jeep.

Mission Accomplished.

Act II – The Confusion

This time the blow horn gets in the picture, and the fall guy will be the fall guy. (Are you confused yet?)

After a couple of blocks, blow horn will call everyone’s attention. He will presumably announce that the fall guy was holding a cellphone when he got off the jeep and then ask if anyone has their phones missing. This will prompt everyone to search their pockets.

For the victim, alas, his cellphone is gone! Victim will make it known to everyone of the lost phone – To which the pickpocket and the blow horn will encourage the victim to get down from the jeep to look for the fall guy.

Flustered from the embarrassment, and confused from what’s going on, the victim will opt for it since the fall guy just got off a few blocks back.

Victim gets off the jeep.

Mission Even-More Accomplished.


By the time the victim realizes the deception, it’s already too late. The phone is gone. Gone forever. The perpetrators escaped without anyone finding out.

What will happen to the victim? What will befall him now that he is an item less?

Tune in next time.

But Really, What Can We Do?

Be Vigilant.

Expect this to happen to you! Expect this to happen in your jeep. The easiest victims are those who think it will never happen to them. Be mindful of your belongings, especially when the coin is dropped.

Stay Calm.

When you find yourself in a pressured environment, it will help to keep silent and think things through. The best course of action is the one you think of next. You cannot allow emotion to drive your actions. You lost your phone that was in your pocket, how could the fall guy reach for it without you noticing when he was all the time in front of or beside you?

Share the awareness.

I had a difficult time relaying their strategy, but if you got the gist, at least share the idea. Do not allow this to happen to you and your loved ones.


From → Incidents

  1. You should have included “P” in your list of victims, Dru =P

  2. Haha include “J” as well 😛

  3. scott permalink

    it just happend to me yesterday

    • I am very sorry you had to go through that. 😦 Please share your experience to your friends so that you will help them avoid this as well.

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