So, I was just assaulted by a trio of fairly well armed thugs while walking out of Riften. Before attacking me, they informed me that they were 'here to teach me a lesson.'

After dispatching them in due course, I found this on the body of what I can only assume to be the leader, given his vastly superior armaments: Bounty?

Orgnar is the innkeeper in Riverwood. Now, I admit, I've stolen a fair amount, but I pride myself on having never been caught. My total bounty to date is at zero. So, how did he figure out that I stole something, why is he taking the law into his own hands, and if I go back to Riverwood, am I going to get shanked?

  • This happened to me too, I don't know how he figured out that you stole from him, perhaps someone saw you sneak into his shop. Btw, did you use the bucket maneuver on him? Just curious. – l I Nov 15 '11 at 0:02
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    @yx.I haven't needed to bother with buckets. 99% of what's worth stealing is in peoples pockets anyway, and the remaining 1% can easily be taken by gaming LoS running up and down stairs. Buckets is too much effort. – LessPop_MoreFizz Nov 15 '11 at 0:10
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    This stupid bounty thing sucks, putting a big damper in my rampant thievery of all shopkeepers in the game. – l I Nov 15 '11 at 0:14
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    Maybe shopkeepers can tell if you sell stolen goods back to them? – Chris Rasys Nov 15 '11 at 1:33
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    @ChrisRasys: You don't have that option in Skyrim. Stolen goods can only be sold to a Fence. – LessPop_MoreFizz Nov 15 '11 at 1:51

Certain characters are more shrewd than others and can figure out if they've been stolen from and who did it. One of my favourite examples is Anise (the lady with the shack near Riverwood). She's sent guards to all 3 of my characters.

There's no penalty later on if you decide to talk to them, they'll act like it never happened (I think, or maybe they'll dislike you more, but it's basically the same).

I've also only ever had one set of thugs from each person, even if I continue to steal from them.

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    +1 I also had Anise send goons to attack me, even though I don't recall doing anything different to her than others... In a weird way it is a REWARD since they were easy and it's free experience and loot :) – TM. Nov 15 '11 at 22:40
  • Anise realized that I stole stuff from her hidden basement room and started attacking me so I killed her. – Zach Feb 10 '12 at 4:50
  • This happened to me too, only it was Keerava from The Bee and Barb who sent them. The irony was that a] I stole from Keereva by mistake [I pressed the wrong button] and b] this was the making of my character. I was just using a test character beforehand, but after this episode, when my test character started to have a story of her own, she changed her name and became my main character. She was traced all the way from Riften to Rorikstead for stealing an apple pie, and now, hundreds of hours later, still has one of the assassin's battleaxes hanging in her hallway in Windstad Manor. – C26 Oct 9 '20 at 16:25

It was put in so there are some consequences at least to stealing. Let's face it, it's pretty easy to rob someone of all their worldy possesions right under their noses, so I think this was a way of at least having some consequences. Even if you don't get caught, in theory he may have noticed that he was wearing a shirt before you came in!


Just stealing causes certain NPCs to send thugs, it's not really special, Drifa has tried to kill me 7 times, also if a NPC is rich or poor doesn't matter, a broke farmer sent thugs after me.

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    Welcome to Arqade! This answer brings nothing that have not already been said. Please avoid duplicating content and only provide answers that add something new. – Jupotter Jan 21 '14 at 14:02

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