Starfield: How To Pickpocket & Not Get Caught

Master the art of unethical looting.

Running low on supplies will not be an issue if you know how to Pickpocket in Starfield. The pickpocketing mechanic allows you to pick up on essentials as long there is someone in your close vicinity. These items can range from food and Credits to holstered weapons and even keys to someone’s apartment that you can later loot.

Pickpocketing is considered an illegal act in the settled system and getting caught can have serious repercussions. It will put you on the wanted list, this means spending time getting rid of the bounty on your head. It can also land you behind bars costing you credits to get bail yourself out.

This only happens, if you do get caught. Here’s how you can master the art of stealing in Starfield.


It can be difficult to differentiate between Stealing and Looting in Starfield. A good tip is to check if the item has a red square under its name before you pick it up. Taking items with this red square will be counted as stealing.

How to pickpocket in Starfield

Similar to stealth, the pickpocket skill is not available by default in Starfield. You will need to get the Theft skill under the Social Skill Tree to unlock Pickpocketing.

You can skip spending a Skill Point if you choose the Cyber Runner and Gangster Background. It will be already available for these Backgrounds since it’s part of their starting skills.

To pickpocket, crouch behind the enemy or NPC you are trying to steal from. Once you’re close enough, interact with them to peak at their inventory by pressing E on PC or A on Xbox. Choose the desired items you want to keep and simply exit out of the menu to complete stealing.


Crouching is not the same as sneaking without the Stealth skill in Starfield. You can get easily detected and caught without it.

 Pickpocketing color icon

While looking into an NPC’s inventory, watch for the color icon next to it. The color is going to tell your success chances with pickpocketing the particular item, and different colored items have different success rates, which are:

Item ColorDifficulty LevelPickpocket Success Chance
BlueVery easy99-65%
GrayImpossibleCannot be stolen

Theft skill progression

You will not be able to steal from every NPC you see in Starfield successfully. You need to upgrade your Theft skill to increase your success rate as well as improve the quality of items you can take.

Rank 1 allows pickpocketing smaller items like food and Credits, while Rank 4 opens the chances of finding keys and grabbing weapons to disarm your opponents. Here’s how each upgrade improves your success rate.

Theft Skill RankPickpocket Skill Success Chance
Rank 1Skill just unlocked
Rank 210%
Rank 330%
Rank 450% (even holstered weapons can be pickpocketed now)

Pickpocketing Tips: How to avoid getting caught

Pickpocketing can be difficult to get a hang of, especially with the risk of getting caught. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of it.

Pair your Theft skill with the Stealth skill. Even at a base level, the Stealth skill lowers the chance of you getting detected by 25%. It also gives you the ability to sneak while crouching and unlocks the Stealth Meter.

The Stealth Meter is another useful indicator that can prove useful while stealing in Starfield. The Hidden status or when the bar is white is ideal for pickpocketing. Remember to be quick to avoid raising suspicion.

Looking is not the same as stealing. A quick peak into your target’s inventory to check if they have your desired loot. You can also step back without taking anything if you are at the risk of getting caught.

Use the right equipment. If you are having trouble avoiding detection then use spacesuits like the Mantis spacesuit and the Operative spacesuit. Aid items like the Reconstim can help as well.

Approach lone targets, the ones not surrounded by other NPCs or near other characters. If you sneak up on a group of potential targets, chances are, at least one of them will detect you. When approaching a lone target, the chances of you getting discovered are extremely low.

Kill your target if caught. If you get caught, the best course of action is to quickly and stealthily remove your target. Not only does this not alert anyone else, but chances are you won’t even get a bounty on your head, either.

Save before pickpocketing. A good way to risk your progress is to save before you make a move on your target. While this is not the most ideal method, it can help if things go sideways.


Getting caught by authorities impacts your reputation. It will make it difficult to negotiate or persuade others if everyone thinks you are a criminal.

What happens if you are caught stealing in Starfield?

If you are caught while pickpocketing someone, authorities will arrive immediately. You will have the following options in this situation:

Attack the authorities: If you escape from the scene after taking out a few cops, you will have a negative reputation.

Surrender yourself: After doing so, the authorities will take you into their custody. They will release you after a few days, but you will lose XP.

Pay the fine: You can also pay the fine and avoid going to jail or getting in a gunfight.


If certain factions catch you while pickpocketing in Starfield, we recommend always fighting your way out.

Is Pickpocketing worth it?

If you are wondering if the Pickpocketing skill is worth it in Starfield, then the short answer is No.

There are multiple reasons for it, the main one being the lack of unique loot. All NPCs have the same inventories and while you can get house keys sometimes, it is incredibly rare to come across one.

The success is RNG dependent so even with higher input, you can still get caught. This makes investing in it less profitable than originally anticipated.

To make the most of pickpocketing, we recommend stopping at earlier ranks of Theft. If you want to invest a little more, then getting Stealth should be enough for it to work. This way, you will get 80% of the benefit it provides while saving your resources.


A prime target for pickpocketing is Frankie from Frankie’s Grab and Go in Neon City. She has contraband worth 100k inside her apartment on the second floor of the establishment. You can also move in and out without raising suspicions since you will have the key card.

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Urooj Zia is your local indie games enthusiast who spends the majority of her time farming in Stardew Valley. When she is not obsessing over the virtual world, she likes to guide lost gamers to ...