HuffPo posts "Pickpockets at Work," an essay from Melville House's reprint of Harry Houdini's wonderful collection, The Right Way to Do Wrong: A Unique Selection of Writings by History's Greatest Escape Artist , which includes an introduction by Teller.
In the outskirts of London, among the small shops, a rather unusual trick has been played frequently upon unsuspecting shopkeepers. Two men in earnest argument over some matter enter a small grocery store and approach the proprietor who is behind his till. One man says to the proprietor, “My friend and I have gotten into an argument over a peculiar matter which we believe you can settle for us. I have bet him that my hat,” taking off an old-fashioned stove-pipe hat, “will hold more than four quarts of molasses, while he contends that it will hold hardly three quarts. We are willing to buy the molasses of you will fill this hat and prove the question to decide the bet.” The shopkeeper good-humoredly agrees, and brings the hat brimful with sticky molasses, at which one of the thieves slaps it over the shopkeeper’s head, and before he can extricate himself and call for help they have robbed the till and disappeared.