Obviously, she has enough money to travel the world - as well as enough to travel through both time and space, establishing her sci-fi chops. She's also got enough to construct remarkable technologies to assist her in her crimes, so why become a criminal? I'm wondering if her motivation has ever been explained.

Here's a list of some of the more outrageous things she's stolen. Every last drop of salsa?!

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because Carmen Sandiego is not science fiction or fantasy. Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 15:13
  • 18
    @DrRDizzle Both Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? and Where in Space is Carmen Sandiego? (among others) seem pretty science fictional to me.
    – user1027
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 16:32
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    Not to mention that much of the technology stolen or used to steal have Sci-fi elements to it (I recall in one of the games she would use a shrink-ray to steal historic landmarks).
    – onewho
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 16:41
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    @onewho: Never mind that, she stole the galaxy (among many other things). I'd say that qualifies as (extremely soft) sci-fi.
    – Kevin
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 17:03
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    I tend to agree with Kevin and Keen - it clearly became a (soft) sci-fi series. But I see why it wouldn't look that way at first, so I made an edit in the hopes of clarifying why it's probably (just) on-topic.
    – Jaydles
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 17:28

1 Answer 1


So, according to the Wikipedia article on Carmen Sandiego, she is a "Gentleman thief" and she steals only for the challenge of it.

She often describes her schemes and the user/protagonists attempts to stop them as being a game, which they ironically are, regularly gloating that she is impossible to capture or that her plans are infallible and acting as though any efforts made against her are extremely trivial. Sometimes, she asserts that it is impossible for anyone to understand her or her motives and seems to revel at how difficult she can make it for anyone trying to figure her out.

It's worth noting that she originated as a very promising agent for ACME Detective Agency. Presumably she was unsatisfied with her job there and broke off to found her own agency, VILE (Villains' International League of Evil), which allowed her to pursue a much more thrilling career in organized crime.

Starting with Carmen Sandiego's Great Chase Through Time (formerly Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?), it is explained that she was an ace detective for the ACME Detective Agency who found catching criminals too easy and decided that outsmarting ACME itself would make for greater challenges.

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    Carmen's ACME origin was first revealed in Carmen Sandiego's Great Chase Through Time. Thanks to this SE question, I found that the Wikipedia article was lacking this info, so I just edited it and updated your answer. Glad to know that hours upon hours of playing this series as a kid are good for something! Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 19:07
  • @Thunderforge I'm not entirely sure that was the "first" time Carmen's origin was revealed. I remember that being revealed in the Cartoon show (which began airing in 94), "Where in time is Carmen Sandiego" didn't come out until 97.
    – onewho
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 19:11
  • I only saw a few episodes of the show, but I'm pretty confident that this was the first game that revealed this. Feel free to improve the Wikipedia article if you feel that there is missing info. Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 21:41

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