Stealing is our favorite pastime in Skyrim. Even though earning money is easy, and there’s no need to look through the pockets of other NPCs, some items we simply can’t pass without grabbing. Valuable weapons, trinkets, jewelry, gold, food, random cutlery, and bowls, there’s no limit to what you can steal in Skyrim. Those items become quite the problem in your inventory because they instantly get tagged with a symbol of the red hand, meaning that they are stolen. So, to make your thieving heists easier in Skyrim, how do you remove the “stolen” tag from items?
You can remove the stolen tag from items in Skyrim by selling those items to a Thieves Guild fence, by reverse-pickpocketing those items onto an aggressive NPC, by using the “setownership” console command if you’re on PC or simply by enchanting the items in question. Removing the “stolen” tag from items will make those items easier to sell, and guards will not confiscate them when you are arrested.
Now that we’ve given you the short answer, it’s time to analyze this in more detail. If you want to find out how to deal with your stolen junk or how to set ownership of almost every item in Skyrim to yourself, stay with us and keep reading!
What does “stolen” tag means in Skyrim?
Items marked with “red hand” in Skyrim are considered stolen, and they have several limitations when using them. First, you will not be able to sell those items back to normal merchants. Generally, honest merchants want nothing to do with your stolen items, even the ones with the most gold in the game. The items in question will never even appear in the barter menu. However, the exception to this rule is the “Fence” perk that you can activate as soon as you reach level 90 in speech skill. This perk allows you to sell any stolen item to any merchant in the game.
Stolen items will also be confiscated from your inventory if you are arrested, even if you agree to pay the fine. When you leave the guard quarters, you will notice that your stolen items are gone. Going to Jail has the same effect unless you recover your items from the specific chest.
Keeping stolen items in your inventory is a nuisance, and there’s no safe way to keep them on yourself, especially if you plan on getting in trouble with the law, so how do you remove that pesky stolen tag?
How to remove the stolen tag in Skyrim?
Luckily, stealing in Skyrim is a legitimate mechanic that you can employ to get rich or simply raise certain skills due to that, and there are several ways to remove the stolen tag from items:
- You can sell the stolen item to a fence
- You can reverse-pickpocket an item to an aggressive NPC
- You can enchant certain items or craft with them to remove the stolen tag
- Use the “setownership” console command
- Drop the item in public
Now that you realize there are plenty of options at your disposal, it’s time to analyze them in more detail.
1. Removing the stolen tag via fences
Fences are merchants you get access to when you join the Thieves Guild. As you advance through the ranks, you will gain access to better fences and, in turn, better deals. If you’re not keen on leveling up your speech skill and investing perk points, you can sell your stolen items only to Thieves Guild fences.
Selling the stolen item and buying the item back will result in the stolen tag being removed. If you, however, decided to invest your perk points into your speech skill, as soon as you reach level 90 and you have unlocked the “Investor” perk, you can unlock the “Fence” perk, which will allow you to sell your stolen items to just about any merchant in the game.
2. Reverse-pickpocketing the stolen item
If your pickpocketing skill is high enough, you can reverse-pickpocket items onto other NPCs to remove the stolen tag. This will only work for aggressive NPCs. All you need to do is approach an aggressive NPC, for example, a bandit or a necromancer, and place the item in their inventory.
Then you proceed to kill the NPC. After you’ve dealt with the NPC, you can loot back your stolen item, and you will notice that the tag is gone. This is the one method I wouldn’t recommend since it’s complicated and might backfire easily.
3. Enchanting items to remove the stolen tag
Enchanting items and using them in various crafting recipes creates a new item that is not considered stolen. Enchanting works for clothing, armor, jewelry, and weapons. Enchanting any of the mentioned items at the arcane enchanter will completely remove the stolen tag from them. The same goes if you attempt to enchant an item with the Sigil Stone.
Crafting potions with stolen ingredients will not result in the potion being considered “stolen,” but this will result in the ingredient being permanently removed from your inventory. Upgrading items will not result in the stolen tag being removed.
4. Dropping the item in public
Sometimes when you drop something in public, NPC will approach you to return the item to you or to ask you whether it can keep an item. When it comes to stolen items, it works pretty much the same. You can utilize this mechanic to remove stolen tags from your items. All you need to do is drop the stolen item in the middle of a densely populated area, such as a big city or a settlement and wait for an NPC to approach you. As soon as the NPC returns that dropped item, you should notice that the tag is stolen.
5. You can use the “setownership” console command
This is the last method to remove the stolen tag, and it works for PC players only. You can use the “setownership” console command to transfer ownership of most items in the game to yourself. It’s really easy to use, and to do it, follow these steps:
- Drop the stolen item(s) on the ground.
- Open the console by pressing “~.”
- Click on the stolen items that you’ve previously dropped to the ground.
- As soon as the ItemID appears on your screen, type “setownership” and press enter.
- Leaving the ownership ID empty will automatically transfer the ownership of the selected item to you, and you will be able to pick it up without penalty.
And that’s pretty much it. As you can see, removing the tag is not that difficult depending on the method you choose. If you’re interested in more Skyrim-related content, check out our list of best places to sell jewelry in Skyrim.