With the release of the thieves guild DLC on the horizon I figured I would repost a thread I one made on the official ESO forums when the Justice System first came out.
Hello, this one's name is Dar'Rinja and chances are if you're reading this you're about to steal that delicious apple on a general merchant's cart. Well other chances are that the merchant is watching your every move and has called the guard over already. Worry no more, this one is here to teach you the basics of theft!
Step 1: Familiarize yourself with your surroundings.
Walk the streets of your target. Learn every corner, hiding spot or any heights you can jump to in case you get spotted. Learning where to go is probably the best advice anyone can teach you.
Step 2: Find the Outlaws Refuge.
When you enter a city or town, open your map and find the location of the Refuge on your map, mark the one inside the city if you need to. When things go south that's the place you need to get to. Stay here until your notoriety wears down or you can bay off your bounty.
Step 3: Learn Guard patrol routes.
Nothing ruins a good heist more than a guard standing outside a house or right beside someone you're pickpocketing. Learn which way the guards walk and where they stand at post for long periods of time. The less attention you draw to yourself the better.
Step 4: Build up your Stamina and ready your supplies.
Sneaking and running drains your stamina big time (unless you're built for sneaking and running). Bring Stamina potions in case you need a quick jolt to get away from a bad situation. As for breaking and entering; most houses have locks on their doors and inside may be a strongbox. Bring plenty of lock-picks for situations like this. In extreme situations have a couple potions of invisibility on stand-by (I can't tell you how much these have helped me).
Step 5: Attempting theft
When pickpocketing always be behind your target, or find a corner to hide behind. As long as you're close to them you have a chance at nabbing something. People doing their daily tasks are easily distracted and waiting for them to continue their work gives you a better chance at picking their pockets.
For breaking and entering, be sure to check for passers-by or patrolling guards as lock picking is a pretty loud activity.Picking a lock requires sight and sound to get the tumblers in the correct place. When inside, no doubt the homeowners will be inside. Avoid contact with them as much as possible unless you're feeling brave and want to attempt their pockets. As long as you're out of sight you can take as much as you like without fear. When leaving it also helps to have a scout outside to make sure the guard hasn't patrolled in front of the house, but assuming you weren't seen in the house this won't be a problem.
Step 6: Getting Caught
Getting caught? That's not good for a thief. If a Guard spots you it isn't the end of the world. With your expertise in sprinting and if you brought those invisibility potions, a guard is just another obstacle to overcome. If you've followed steps 1-4 your get away should be fast, easy and simple.
Step 7: Selling your stolen goods
Assuming you avoided capture by the guard, you have a treasure trove of stolen goods. Regular merchants have magical enchants around their carts and stores that can detect stolen good and do not want to be associated with them. You'll need to make your way to the Outlaw's Refuge to trade your goods to the fence.
The Fence also offers a Laundering service where you can pay for the item's value and you get to keep it without fear of it being confiscated by a guard incase you get caught.
Well that's all there is to it. If you have any questions about anything, let me know. Hopefully this will teach some of the aspiring young thieves out there.