In four and a half years of semi-professional pocket burgling, I made at least $10,000, maybe a little more. That won't even get you through Bumf**k County Community College without loan debt. But my marks were losing out on a weekend shopping trip to Hot Topic -- a tragedy that ranks slightly above "Dick Cheney stubs his toe" -- whereas I needed food money.
Every now and then, I hit the lottery. One time, I pulled a wallet from a guy that had five $100 bills and a 50, all crisp and brand new, without so much as a crease. I wasn't even in high school yet, and with about two seconds of physical effort, I had made enough to pay my family's rent. But then a little voice popped into my head and told me it was a trap. I had flashes of memories: the guy walking in front of me, stopping where I could see him, as though he wanted me to notice him. I shoved the money back in the wallet, left it on the ground, and left the mall as quickly as I could.
I was too scared to even return it for the trapped reward.
It was the biggest find of my career and I tossed it, because paranoia is more effective than any cop.