After joining the Thieves Guild, unnamed thieves in Riften -- and other various places, such as Riverwood -- may attempt to steal things from one of the stalls, leading to their swift death at the hands of the guards. You can loot them in full view of Guards without fear of being arrested; despite the loot they carry most likely being stolen.They are lightly armed and carry assorted gems and gold, but you cannot loot their armor.
Another type of Thief can be found anywhere and you do not need to join the Thieves Guild to come across them, this type of Thief will come up to you with a dagger to rob you. You can choose to let him, scare him off or fight him. If you are a member of the Thieves Guild you can tell the thief and he will walk away.
- If the Dragonborn is wearing at least one piece from the Nightingale Armor set when approaching a thief, they may greet the Dragonborn and hand over "your cut" of what they have looted, which is typically in the form of gold.
- Sometimes, if the Dragonborn walks into someone's house in Riften a thief will be inside. If the thief sees the Dragonborn, he will start running all around the house not saying a word.
- If the Dragonborn sees a thief in a city/village and kills him, there will be no bounty and the guards will not become hostile, even if the thief had not committed a crime yet. By looting the body the Dragonborn can find precious gems, gold, silver, high class dishes and jewelry.
- If the Dragonborn is the Guild Master, the thief will give a cut on their profits to the player such when wearing a part of the Nightingale Armor.
- Alright, hand over your valuables or I'll gut you like a fish!
- Multiple thieves may spawn in one location