On the night of April 23, 2006, David Kotkin, Cathy Daly and Mia Volmut went to dinner after work in West Palm Beach, Florida. David was a multimillionaire and Cathy and Mia were his assistants. At about 11:15 p.m., after they had finished dinner, they left the restaurant and walked into the parking lot. They were unaware that they were being watched.

Four teenagers sat in a dark car and watched as David, Cathy and Mia exited the restaurant. When the trio was about halfway between the restaurant and their vehicle, far enough that they would be unable to run to the safety of either, the teenagers jumped from their parked car. Before the trio could react, pistols were pointing at their faces at close range. The teenagers told the trio to give them their money, cell phones and whatever else of value they had on them. By stealing their phones, the robbers knew they would be long gone by the time the trio could alert police.

Cathy and Mia gave the teenage robbers a purse which contained about 200 euros, $100, a passport and airline tickets. Cathy and Mia emptied their pockets of about $400. To the robbers, it was looking like it was going to be a good night. In David, however, they were attempting to rob the wrong man.

David, himself, had a habit of making things disappear and could escape pretty much any situation which presented itself. He had made his fortune by making things owned by other people disappear right before their own eyes. At his peak, David cleverly pulled in thousands of dollars per night.

David remained calm. He carefully studied the faces of the teenage hoodlums. At their insistence, David pulled his pockets inside out. He showed the robbers that his pockets contained nothing of value. The teenagers were surprised that he had no money, no wallet and no cell phone, when they had made such a big score from his companions.

Finally satisfied that they had taken all there was to take from the trio, the teenage robbers ran to their car and sped away. David had outsmarted the four robbers. By using what he referred to as “reverse pickpocketing” aided by the shadows that the night provided, David hid his cell phone and wallet in the palms of his hands. As the robbers were fleeing, David, cell phone already in his hand, dialed 911 and gave the police the license plate number of the robbers’ car.

Within minutes, police arrested the four teenage robbers and recovered the stolen goods. At the police station, David, Cathy and Mia easily identified the teenage robbers. Police charged the teenagers with armed robbery and held them without bond. Some of officers knew that David had a habit of cutting women into pieces, but none attempted to arrest him. Rather, several of them asked for his autograph. You know David Kotkin by his professional name. He is master illusionist, David Copperfield.

A writer of history, Brad Dison earned his master’s degree in the subject from Louisiana Tech University. He has written four history books and has been published in newspapers and scholarly journals. Keep up with the column through the Facebook group “Remember This? by Brad Dison.” For more real stories about real people with a twist, listen to Brad Dison’s podcast “Remember This?” at http://www.BradDison.com. Dison’s book “Remember this?” is available for preorder on that site.

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