Mr Hickey, 36, was arrested in Birmingham city centre on Saturday, said West Midlands police.
He was taken to Steelhouse Lane police station and interviewed by detectives before being charged with theft and possessing an offensive weapon.
The charge is thought to be in connection with the alleged theft of a tray of gold rings from the city's Supergold store.
He is being held in custody and is due to appear before magistrates in Birmingham today.
Mr Hickey was one of four men jailed in 1979 for the murder of the paperboy Carl Bridgewater at Yew Tree Farm, Stourbridge.
He was ordered to be detained indefinitely while his cousin Vincent Hickey and James Robinson were given life. Pat Molloy was convicted of manslaughter.
The men, who always protested their innocence, became known as the Bridgewater Four during their campaign to have the convictions quashed.
After a long campaign, they were freed in February when the prosecution accepted that fresh evidence left the case against them fundamentally flawed.Reuse content