The mugging of David Copperfield

The mugging of David CopperfieldDavid Copperfield (real name David Kotkin) is walking back to his tour bus with two female assistants in Palm Beach Shores. They were eating at a steak house after his magic show. A black Malibu pulls up to them and two men jump out and point handguns at them. The two women comply with the robber’s requests, handing over money, cell phones and plane tickets. A robber points his gun at Copperfield’s head. The robber, later identified as Dwayne Riley, repeatedly demands he turn over his belongings. Copperfield doesn’t give him anything. The criminals leave, and are caught a short time later.

So what really happened?

From the police report:

"I spoke with Kotkin who also stated the Hispanic or light skinned Black male had pointed the gun at him. Kotkin described the male as approximately 5’11’ and in his late teens or early twenties. Kotkin said the male repeatedly told him to give him his belongings, but Kotkin did not hand over anything."

From the Palm Beach Post news story:

"When Copperfield’s turn came, Riley was bamboozled.

Copperfield told Page Two he pulled out all of his pockets for Riley to see he had nothing, even though he had a cellphone, passport and wallet stuffed in them.

"Call it reverse pickpocketing," Copperfield said…

Copperfield explained that he signed several autographs and took pictures with fans earlier on the fateful walk, and first assumed when the robbers came that they, too, wanted his signature."

In magic, this "reverse pickpocketing" is an old ruse known as the "top of the pocket dodge."

In 2005, Copperfield was number 10 on the Forbes list of top 100 celebrities (earning $57 million) and in 2006, the year the robbery took place, he spent $50 million for the island of Musha Cay in the Bahamas.

A very rich and famous guy out with his employees is mugged and has a gun pointed at his head, so he resorts to a magic trick to avoid having to give the guy his wallet?

But really, what’s the truth(s)?

  • Copperfield thought they were fans, so no danger warnings went up.
  • Copperfield was very quick-witted to fool an armed mugger.
  • Copperfield was very stupid to risk his life (and other’s lives) over his wallet.
  • Copperfield didn’t actually have any valuables on him, so he made up the story about fooling the robber for a good story.
  • Copperfield didn’t actually have any valuables on him, so he made up the story about fooling the robber to impress the ladies.

Of course, could there be a better reason for deception to occur than when we have a mugging, a magician, pretty ladies, a big ego, machismo, and professional pride all involved?

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