A man in Italy is allegedly hypnotizing store and bank clerks to give him all of their money.
I’m a trained hypnotist myself, so my first reaction was skepticism. You can’t hypnotize someone that quickly and reliably. But then I put on my criminal mastermind hat and tried to figure out how this crime could be committed as described.
The trick is to hypnotize the targets well ahead of the actual day of the robbery, perhaps several times, and weed out the people who don’t instantly return to the so-called trance state upon suggestion. Then on robbing day, a simple suggestion at the store or bank can produce the instant results you need. The subjects have been pre-trained.
The hard part of this scheme is finding a way to get the right people to agree to hypnosis ahead of time. I imagine he advertised in a local publication, offering to help people quit smoking or lose weight. When people called for an appointment he would ask what sounded like standard questions, including age and occupation. If someone had the right sort of job, he set up an appointment and started the process. On any given day, he could hypnotize several new clients while testing for the most susceptible subjects who also handle money.
The next part would be a bit tricky. You can’t get a hypnotized person to do something that would violate his basic sense of right and wrong, or to put himself in danger. The brain has some sort of safety mechanism to prevent that.
In the surveillance video on the web, the hypnotist is seen taking the money from the register himself while the clerk seemed to be watching. This might be part of his workaround. The clerk wasn’t committing the crime so much as observing it. And perhaps the hypnotist said he was borrowing the money, or the manager had asked him to bring it to him in the parking lot, or some other story that obscured the ethical boundaries.
It could work. He’d need to be an excellent hypnotist, but that isn’t so rare.