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Skyrim – How to Pickpocket Successfully

How to Pickpocket – Skyrim

Let’s be honest, the best way to make money – and perhaps the only way to make a viable living – in Skyrim is to steal. Steal a lot. Steal literally anything and everything that fits in your satchel, and then hit the road to hock your goods. When taking cherished items from civilian homes isn’t enough though, you can always resort to pulling things right out of their pockets. For those special times, here’s how to pickpocket to perfection.

First off, know that you don’t need to be hidden to pick pockets. While you do need to be crouching to enable the action, you can actually get away with a pickpocket while the target is staring right at you.


Approach your mark, hit crouch, and then press X on PlayStation, A on Xbox, or E on PC to look through their pockets. Looking at this menu won’t result in anything bad for you, so long as you don’t try to take anything. Your target may comment on your brash behavior, but you won’t be in any real trouble.

Below each item is a percentage, signifying what chance out of one hundred you have of successfully stealing that item. Small scores like food or gold will be much easier to steal than prized, heavy possessions like keys or weapons. Hitting X/A/E on the item will mean making an attempt to steal it. If you hit that button and the item disappears quietly, you have successfully stolen it. If the menu drops out and the person starts yelling at/attacking you, then you’ve been caught. Run. RUN.

To make sure you don’t spend your prime pickpocket years in a jail cell, here’s some tips on prime stealing:

  • Invest in the pickpocket skill tree. The heavier you do so, the stickier your fingers get. Early ranks will increase your success percentages, while the end skills will let you steal the weapons and clothing right off of people.
  • Save before pickpocketing, every time. Even a Quicksave will suffice. If you fail, you’ll be able to load up your previous save and try again, rather than get grabbed by guards, shaken, and tossed in the slammer.
  • Practice makes perfect. Each pickpocketing rank you earn will make you all the better at it. You’ll also get more experience for stealing more valuable objects. For tips on leveling this skill quickly, check our guide here.
  • Don’t try to pickpocket anyone you failed at pickpocketing within the last two days. It won’t work.

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