Video: Thief hypnotises shop owner before walking away with hundreds of pounds

According to police it is the first time these tactics have been seen used in London

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The Independent Online

Incredible CCTV footage has emerged that shows a thief steal from an upmarket off licence in North London after appearing to hypnotise the shop’s owner.

The video shows the unidentified thief put the owner of the Hop and Pops shop in Highgate, Aftab Haider, 56, into a trance-like state before rummaging through his pockets and stealing hundreds of pounds.

Entering the shop, we see the man, who is said to be of Eastern European descent, begin to talk to Haider and place an arm on his shoulder.

After motioning a stabbing action towards Haider’s face, the shop owner is left dazed and motionless.

With Haider rooted to the spot, the thief begins to rummage through his pockets and is able to steal the day's takings before calmly walking out of the shop.

Watch the incredible video below

After a few seconds, Haider becomes aware of what has just happened and gives chase shouting, "Oi, oi, excuse me...."

Speaking to The Evening Standard after the incident, a friend of Haiders said that it had been a traumatic experience for the shop owner.

He said: “We had no idea Aziz had been hypnotised. When he told me what happened I just thought, how could he have just let someone hug him and start going through his pockets?"

"He said he just suddenly realised the man had stolen from him and ran out of the shop to find him but he got away.

"He had hundreds of pounds stolen from him. It’s worrying if people can do that, other people might do the same."

The tactics used by the thief mimic those used by illusionist Derren Brown and is, according to police, the first time they have been seen used in London.

The video was released on BBC’s Crimewatch on Thursday and the Metropolitan Police is now appealing for help to track down the ‘hypnotist thief’.

Detective Sergeant Dave Bullock said: "The victim remained motionless and unable to stop the robbery taking place. He said that he was momentarily unaware of what had happened to him.

“The suspect’s distraction tactics appeared to have worked as he robbed the victim of cash from his pocket.“

The suspect is between 30 and 35 years old, of Eastern European appearance, around 5ft 8in tall, slim with short black hair and wore dark jeans, a grey polo shirt and a black bomber jacket with white writing just below the collar.

Anyone with information should call police on 020 3276 3158 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.