Stealing involves the use of stealth and is the art of taking someone else's object for one's own. A character's effectivess in stealing is governed by Sneak and Agility. It's most effective when the character is in the shadows or when no other person can see the character when he/she is attempting to steal. Stay in stealth mode and make sure the "eye" crosshair is not bright gold -- that means the character can be seen.

Stolen items are marked with a red hand icon Red-hand and honest merchants do not buy stolen goods. It is possible to launder items by enchanting the stolen piece, which creates a new unmarked magical item, or selling them to a fence and buying them back. To have access to a fence, you must join the Thieves Guild.

Removing the Stolen Item FlagEdit

Removing the stolen flag can be done in one of three ways:

  • Selling the item to a fence. When the item is sold, the flag is removed, and you can buy the item back. However, this method can be very expensive. Stolen items cannot be sold to regular merchants. The items will not even show up in the list of things to be sold when you open up the merchant window. Stolen items can only be sold to a fence.
  • Returning the item to the owner. Due to the way the game handles stolen items, the stolen flag is only applied when the item is taken by someone who is not the owner. The flag is removed when the item is back in the possession of the owner, such as in the owner's body. Taking an item from a body does not count as stealing, though you most likely have to have the owner's body available before using this method.
* This method does not always work in houses where multiple people live and places with merchants, because of how the interior area ownership is handled. Merchants have their items flagged as owned by 'someone else' to prevent them from being sold by the merchant, while multiple-resident housing simply has messy and unclear ownership.
  • Enchanting the item. By using a Sigil Stone or an Altar of Enchanting, you can enchant the stolen item and it will become a new, un-stolen item. This only works on armor, clothing, jewelry, and weapons.


  • The fencing trick does not work with keys so do not attempt because the key will be lost forever, this goes for non-stolen keys as well, just buy a house and choose some container to hold any stolen keys so if you're ever caught by the law the items won't be taken from you.

  • Books found laying around marked with a red open book are directly read rather than placed into your inventory. Since you are not actually taking the item in your possession the game does not register it as stealing.
  • Picking up and droping an item is also concidered stealing so be careful.