Nowadays becoming a criminal is as easy as learning how to hack into bank accounts or credit cards, but back in the good old days you had to physically steal cash and stuff for the heist to be considered successful.
That's why old school criminals looked up to master magician Harry Houdini, because he possessed skills that would have been incredibly handy for burglars, cutpurses, train robbers and the like.
In 1906 Houdini published a book entitled The Right Way To Do Wrong that includes all kinds of highly regarded advice for lowly thieves, a book which was purportedly written to help fight crime but reads more like a criminal primer.
Houdini's book includes some creative and theatrical ideas such as:
use a prosthetic arm to avoid being detected while picking a pocket, walk backwards through the snow when committing a burglary so you appear to be moving away from your mark, and become a master of disguise if you decide to pursue a life of crime.