Hypnotist Thieves Put Victims in a Trance
NEW YORK (MainStreet) It's a case of dis-armed robbery. Two conjuring crooks are reportedly putting women under a hypnotic trance, stealing their valuables and leaving the victims to wake up later with no memory of what happened.
Police in Elmshorn, Germany say the suspects approached Sarah Alexeyeva, 66, outside of a grocery store, offering to read her fortune. The next thing Alexeyeva remembers is waking up in her chair at home, with no recollection of how she got there.
Authorities are looking for two women they suspect being involved in the crime, as well as other possibly-related thefts. One suspect is reported to be in her mid-thirties, while the other is a larger woman in her mid-fifties.
"They were also Russian and told her that they would read her fortune, but the next thing she knew she was back home sitting in an armchair and all her jewelry and valuables had vanished," police spokeswoman Sandra Mohr said, according to a report by The Daily Mail. "She had no idea how they did it, one minute she was being promised the future and the next she knew she was back home."
Other victims have also been reported being robbed while hypnotized.
"They seem to be able to get the interest of their victims with a promise to see the future, but the only future they are promising is to rob their victims," Mohr said. "They target mostly older women and in particular foreign women, who may feel less secure living in Germany and are more interested as a result in the spiritual promises of the pair."
A similar theft-by-hypnosis was reported in 2012 when a woman said she was robbed of $160,000 in cash, as well as jewelry and her passport, by three Asian women in Boston's Chinatown. Six women were subsequently arrested for the crime and also charged with bilking elderly Chinese women in San Francisco out of $800,000 in cash and jewelry by promising to rid the victims of evil spirits, according to Boston.com.
In 2008, police in Italy used surveillance footage to identify a man who allegedly robbed supermarket checkout clerks through hypnosis.
"In every case, the last thing [the grocery] staff reportedly remembers is the thief leaning over and saying: 'Look into my eyes,' before finding the till empty," a BBC report says.
--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet