The Stop Thief Board Game: Electronic Cops and Robbers

The Stop Thief Board Game: Electronic Cops and Robbers
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Game History and Basics


Created in 1979 by Robert Doyle, the “Stop Thief” board game is considered a “retro” game which includes an electronic crime scanner which was considered advanced technology when the game was initially released. Hearing the footsteps of the thief as he runs or walks, the creaking of doors as he opens them, or the windows breaking as he smashes them truly bring the game to life.

Parker Brothers is the manufacturer of the game, and it can be found (as of the time of publication) online at both eBay and for approximately $20. The game is recommended for two to four players, ages 10 to adult. Included in the game you will find: 8 detective I.D.‘s such as “Sheerluck Homes,” 10 wanted posters such as ‘Bunny & Clod,” 4 pawns including “red, yellow, blue and green,” 2 six-sided dice, play money, a 20-page color rule booklet, 32 sleuth cards such as :Free tip or “Lose a turn,” the electronic crime scanner and the game board. Examples of other sleuth cards include: “Collect $200 from another detective,” “Buy a tip for $50,” “Press ‘clue’ button 3 extra times”, “Go 4 extra spaces” and “Take another turn.”

Basically, the thief you are trying to catch moves from numbered space to space on the board. The red numbered squares are where the crimes can be committed. There are five possible crime scenes: a newsstand, the Furs building, a jewelry store, an antique shop and the bank. The detective who figures out where the thief is and “makes the arrest” earns at least $800. The winner of the game is the first detective to earn $2,500 in reward money.


  • When the “Stop Thief” board game begins, the crime scanner will make a sound and display a visual clue, such as a building or street number where the thief is starting from.
  • Each player presses the “clue” button on the crime scanner in order to hear and see a clue on the screen. An example is seeing “FL” on the screen which means the thief is crossing the floor. You will also hear footsteps. If you see “DR” it means that a door has been opened or closed and that the thief has left the building. You will also hear the door opening or closing. “GL” stands for glass breaking, which indicates that the thief has broken a window to gain access to a building. You can also hear running sounds or sounds indicating a subway getaway. The sounds are what truly make the game more “real.”
  • If no sound is emitted it means that the thief is staying where he is.
  • You can replay up to 10 previous sound clues with the scanner.
  • You always have three sleuth cards to play if desired.
  • Roll the dice to move your detective around the board. In order to make an arrest you need to land on the location where you believe the thief is standing. Another way to move is with a sleuth card if it tells you to move extra spaces.
  • Enter the building number followed by the two digit number where you believe that the thief is standing, and if he is on the street you enter the 3 digit number after pressing the Arrest button.
  • If you press Arrest and are correct, you will hear gun shots followed by sirens. If you are wrong, you will hear laughing or the “raspberry” as the thief escapes.

Rules and Hints

  • The thief can move no more than two spaces per turn either horizontally, diagonally or vertically.
  • If the thief breaks a window or opens a door, he has to go through the door or window on the next move.
  • The thief cannot move back to a prior numbered space in two or less moves.
  • The thief will always move to a red numbered crime spot if it is only one space away.
  • Detectives cannot land on the same space as another detective. If another detective is on the space you desire, you move to a space that touches the space the other detective is on.
  • You might get lucky and receive a " Tip” sleuth card that will allow only you to get the thief’s exact location for a fee.



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