Starfield – how to pickpocket and steal from NPCs

Starfield – how to pickpocket and steal from NPCs
Tom Bardwell Updated on by

Wondering how to pickpocket in Starfield? Like most Bethesda games before it, Starfield allows you to channel your inner thief and swipe credits and items off the unsuspecting inhabitants of the Settled Systems. The ability to steal in Starfield isn’t as simple as click a button and run though, and you’ll need a little more finesse to succeed at this in the RPG.

We’ll walk you through Starfield pickpocketing and how to steal in Starfield. If you’re after more early game pointers, check out how to lockpick in Starfield and how to dock at space stations and ships in Starfield.

Starfield - how to pickpocket: Theft skill in skill menu.

How to pickpocket in Starfield

To pickpocket in Starfield, approach the target from behind and crouch. When you’re close enough, you’ll get an on-screen prompt to pickpocket (the E key on PC). Tap the pickpocket button to open up the target’s inventory and see a list of items you can steal. Tap the same key to steal an item. That’s the basics of the mechanic, but there’s a bit more than just that which you’ll need to consider.

As you increase your character’s level, you’ll start unlocking more of Starfield’s extensive skill trees, and pickpocketing is a part of that. You need to have the right Starfield skills unlocked. To pickpocket in Starfield, you’ll specifically need to unlock the Theft skill, found under the Social portion of the skill menu.

Some Starfield backgrounds will come with this skill unlocked however, making your job lightening the pockets of unsuspecting characters that much easier. Cyber Runner and Gangster both have the skill unlocked from the outset of character creation. There are four Theft skill ranks to unlock, each costing one skill point, and increasing the player’s chances of a successful pickpocket. Here are what each rank grants:

  • Rank 1 – Unlock the ability to pickpocket targets.
  • Rank 2 – 10% greater chance to successfully pickpocket.
  • Rank 3 – 30% greater chance to successfully pickpocket.
  • Rank 4 – 50% greater chance to successfully pickpocket. Can now pickpocket holstered weapons.
Starfield - how to pickpocket: pickpocket prompt on NPC in New Atlantis.

Once you’ve unlocked the Theft pickpocketing skill, find a target. We recommend a random NPC in a large city like New Atlantis or Neon to get you started. Once you’ve got a feel for how pickpocketing works, and gained some ranks, you can graduate to tougher targets, such as armed guards.

Second, do your best to remain hidden. If you aren’t hidden while pickpocketing, it means someone is watching, and regardless of whether you succeed or fail, there will be consequences – usually something like guards coming to arrest you and you ending up in a Starfield jail. To improve your chances of going unseen, you can either target sleeping NPCs at night, or upgrade your Stealth skill, which makes it easier to remain undetected.

Starfield - how to pickpocket: pickpocket inventory of NPC in New Atlantis.

Is pickpocketing worth it in Starfield?

Pickpocketing can often be worthwhile, so long as you don’t get caught. Often, it depends on your chances of success, and we wouldn’t recommend attempting to steal from people if your odds are lower than 50%, unless you have a good backup plan or really need the item.

Stealing from NPCs in this way can be useful though. It’s a great way to make some quick and easy Starfield credits, and other valuables you pick up can be pawned off as contraband – though be careful where you try to sell this. New Atlantis shops for example don’t tend to buy up stolen goods, with only the Trade Authority down in The Well dealing with such items. In cases where you might be targeting more important individuals, being a pickpocket in Starfield can really pay off. So long as you succeed, you may be able to get away with swiping key cards and other important objects that grant you access to otherwise off-limits areas. Such places will often have fantastic loot in them.

That covers how to pickpocket in Starfield. Once you’ve mastered the skill, learn how to change weapons in Starfield and how to change home ship in Starfield. If you’re after a solid early game ship, check out our Starfield Lair of the Mantis puzzle solution guide.

Can you steal an NPCs items in Starfield?

By using the pickpocketing mechanic, you can potentially steal all the items any NPC might have on them.

Is pickpocketing difficult in Starfield?

Pickpocketing can be difficult depending on your skills and the target. High level targets like security personnel are difficult to successfully pickpocket, so make sure to invest in your Thief skill to boost your chances.