Weekend Comment Diversion: Been Caught Stealing

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Weekend Comment Diversion: Been Caught Stealing

By Mrs. Julien | Comment Diversions | October 27, 2012 | Comments ()


Once, when I was 7, I went grocery shopping with my mother and stole a pack of Smarties. It seemed only fair. My mother was notorious for her refusal to buy us treats. I got caught because I was eating them in the backseat on the way home. Subterfuge is not a strong suit when you're 7. I remember a sharp, "Where did you get those?", and then being brought back to the store burning with shame and mortification. I was marched up to the cashier and made to confess my crime. The cashier's response:

"That's all right. She can keep them."

My mother was not amused.The Smarties were returned. Now, the Dowager Julien is kind of scary. If she raised her right eyebrow, we started panicking, so I must have been extremely distressed because she chose not to punish me. I decided to punish myself. Judge, jury, and executioner, I was sentenced to hard labour: one week without television. My only other memory of the event is standing on the cold porch trying to watch and listen to the TV through the family room window. I don't think I lasted the week.

When I was 29, my friend and I went to Ikea for an afternoon because, when you are 29, that is somehow a form of entertainment. After a peruse, and a meatball heavy luncheon, we were getting ready to pay for our oskflrn, when I decided to steal a chocolate bar from their little Swedish food shop. I wanted to see how it felt. I chose the bar because it was small and created plausible deniabilty. I kept it in plain sight in my hand and had my "Oh, I must have forgotten!" all ready. A jar of lingonberry jam, that's intent. A chocolate bar is an oversight. I had honed my larceny in the 22 intervening years. I was terrified. No one noticed. My friend sang the themesong to Cops to me as we walked out of the store. I was panicking and hissing at her to stop. It felt awful. I was scared straight.

When I wasn't stealing from Ikea, I taught ESL to adults. As a sometime warm up exercise, I would ask, "What is the largest thing you've ever stolen?". One student claimed a cash register. Another said he had taken an empty soft guitar case with a broomstick inside to a music store and replaced the stick with a guitar. My favourite response of all was charmingly indolent: "I don't know," he shrugged, "a girlfriend?"

Welcome to your weekend comment diversion. Please tell us what you have stolen, why, and whether you got away with it. For our purposes, downloads don't count.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Morgan_LaFai

    I had a stealing story all lined up but got distracted by the seagull cause fuck seagulls. They attacked my most viciously when I was a child and are the reason I am arnothopobic. It is a much more significant moment in my life then they petty shit I stole as a child.

  • Malin

    I couldn't agree more, and my fear of birds stems from exactly the same thing (and a really vicious budgy our next door neighbour had when I was little). It didn't help that my husband, while we were still early in our relationship, though it would be a good idea to show me The Birds.

  • Morgan_LaFai

    Yeah, I saw The Birds at a pretty young age and it really didn't help with my phobia. I think the only film that did more damage was It, cause, well, clowns.

  • Green_Eggs_and_Hamster

    In High School, I worked for Little Ceasars pizza. Right by us were a Burger King, Subway, Chinese restaurant, and an Ice Cream Shop. Since it was High School, I knew kids who worked in each of these other establishments. Almost every night, I would call one of them and work out a trade of a few pizzas for burgers, or ice cream, or whatever. I don't know if it counts as stealing, as my manager knew about it and was fine as long as I got him something to eat, I guess we were both stealing from the company to get free food from other people who were stealing from their company.
    This lasted for a long time, until I started not ringing up the occasional pizza at the register, and pocketing $10 from the customer for gas money. That finally got found out when a customer ratted me out and I got fired. I had rationalized it that if it was ok to steal a few pizzas and trade it for food, then it was ok to steal some pizzas, and trade them for money. Needless to say, my morals were not completely developed as a teenager. Since then I have been on the straight and narrow,

  • Bothari

    When I was in third(ish) grade, my stay-at-home mom got bored and got a part-time job at the thrift store. She used to go through our stuff and take anything she thought we'd outgrown and 'donate' it at work. I went in with her once for a visit, and saw a stack of my books on the shelf, including my favorite: Black and Blue Magic, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. Terrified of getting caught, yet outraged at the theft of my book, I stuffed it up my shirt and took it back home with me. Still have it! Does it count as stealing if it was yours in the first place?

  • ,

    I went to college in downtown Pittsburgh in the late 1970s. After Pitt won the national football championship one year, the city strung banners reading "Pitt is it" across some streets. Two classmates and I went out one night with wire cutters, determined to make one of them our own. Two of us shinnied up the poles and stood atop traffic signals and got to work. I was slower at my side than the other guy (the third was acting as lookout), so the banner was hanging down in the intersection when the lookout began hissing at me. I looked down and saw a police cruiser approaching the intersection. I made myself really skinny behind the pole and held my breath while the cruiser came to a stop, sat there a few seconds ... and then kept going. I finished cutting down my side, and we raced back to the dorm, where the banner spent the rest of the semester taking up two walls of a dorm room.

  • Strand

    Early high school. There was a big chain supermarket fairly close to school (inner city) so during lunchtime we often went there to shoplift. At first it was terrifying but you realise just how easy it is. All the paranoia is completely unwarranted. I discovered that if you simply act confident then you can get away with almost anything.

    So I stole all sorts of stuff (mostly chocolate and candy) but when I was hungry, I just picked up a roast chicken and walked out the front door. People who've never stolen think most items have sensors when it's only stuff like baby formula and other 'high ticket items' that do. Eventually the managers clued in and started busting schoolkids and we all gave it up.

  • thenchonto

    My story, like many of the best high school stories, comes from band.

    One of my weirder friends arrived early for one of our competition days after a bad previous week, then decided to skip our pre-trip last-ditch practice efforts and take a nap. After some investigation, he discovered that no one could see anything on the top level of shelves in the low brass room without standing on a ladder or one of the lower shelves, so he climbed up and went to sleep. In the commotion of getting ready to leave, he woke up and leaned over to ask if it was time to go. Scared the hell out of us. But then a light bulb went on.

    We (a group of maybe eight to ten friends and I) began stealing larger and larger items and hefting them up to the top shelf. We started with anything in the cafeteria that wasn’t tied down, weird stuff left lying around in the stands and in public areas at competitions, stand-up tables ads from McDonald’s, and anything abandoned near the band field (including a shopping cart).

    The school was literally falling apart, but the district was in the midst of acquiring property to construct a new building so nobody cared. One afternoon one of my other friends foolishly attempted to use the restroom nearest the band room, only to have the entire stall door fall off as she tried to close it. The doors were old, heavy metal with the toilet paper dispenser attached. She awkwardly dragged it aside, propped it against a wall, and ran off. I came in a short time later to change for whatever I had going on that evening, saw it sitting there and took it as a challenge.

    The thing must’ve weighed a couple hundred pounds, so I had to recruit a couple reinforcements, but somehow we got it down a long hallway, through the main band room, and up to our hiding place, toilet paper and all, and there it remained when we graduated a year or two later. I wish I could’ve seen the look on the face of whoever had to clear those rooms out when they moved to the new school. The sheer variety and magnitude of stolen items up there was a thing to behold.

  • Buck Forty

    Gosh so much petty theft and shoplifting confessions!

    I stole a ghetto blaster from a pawn shop when I was younger. The window had steel mesh on in it, but only went 3/4 up the window, leaving about a foot clear at the top. Which was conveniently where the shelf holding the ghetto blaster was. Someone had left an old bed on a stoop further down the road so I tossed the matress and used the slat bed frame as a ladder propped up against the window. I smashed the window and removed said ghetto blaster and...

    ...ran like the wind.

    I still have that ghetto blaster now, 20+ years later. I've also stolen 3 cars, because the owners left their keys in the car. With the last one the engine was actually running while the owner stood on the sidewalk berating someone else. I came out of the subway and jumped in and drove off. The first two cars were just joy rides, but the last one I attempted to sell, without any luck. Two days later a cop knocked at my door asking about the car parked in an adjacent lot. I said I knew nothing and stopped taking cars after that.

  • I was trying to get kicked out of the navy and was basically drunk 24/7. Getting visible tattoos mocking my command wasn't enough. So me and another co-worker forged the paperwork necessary to get a 3/4 ton truck from the boat. We then stole the eductor waiting to get processed. An eductor is basically a large jet pump, made completely out of brass and copper. It weights enough that we couldn't use a regular size civilian truck.

    We end up driving up the US-13, trying to hit every metal vendor along the way. No one wanted to fucking touch it. So we ended up buying some shrooms and booze and got fucked up in some random field and left the fucking thing in the mud.

    Drove back after being UA for about a week. Did a little time in the brig and went back to wishing I was fucking dead. Good times.

  • chanohack

    When I was a kid I went to private Christian school. After a couple years, my parents couldn't afford it anymore, but my brother and I COULD NOT be sent to public school, lest Satan should snatch our souls or something. So we worked as janitors to offset some of the cost. That's right, WE-- when I was in third grade, I cleaned the toilets where my male classmates peed every day after school, and then we vacuumed the entire building. My brother was in first grade. A lot of teachers kept candy stashes in their desks, and you bet we stole it (Christian education my ass), only a couple pieces at a time, so no one would notice. But a couple pieces of candy every day for years adds up, so of course they did notice, and we got busted. I sort of feel bad now for stealing from teachers, but then I remember that when I was in third grade, I cleaned the toilets where my male classmates peed every day after school.

  • Mrs. Julien

    This story is horrible on about 6 different levels.

  • Lifeimitatesart

    Thomas crown affair (the remake) has been one of my favourite movies of all time, especially being an art history student. So after years of purchasing somewhat over priced prints from this place I decided I wanted to live through the excitement of the film. I arranged the framed prints with 2 copies of monet's "san giorgio maggiore at dusk" right in front. After purchasing magritte's "son of man" (another nod to the film) in cash of course, I walked past the monet, pretended to stumble and fall against the paintings while deftly lifting the top copy and walked out of the store without anyone being none the wiser. I hung the monet in front of my desk where it has been for the past 6 years.

  • darmatugan

    I snagged a black sharpie pen from Best Buy and dropped it into my bag before quickly walking out of the store. And then promptly gave it to my friend as an "early Halloween present." As far as I know, the employees didn't notice, although my friend looked like she was about to pee her pants from fear. Then we bought fish.

  • Cuca

    4 of those huge Oktoberfest beer mugs, while partying in Munich, 20 years ago. If I had been sober I would have never done it, but I was drunk enough to consider myself invisible and above the law. I guess I should feel bad about this, but somehow I don't.

  • celeryk

    When I was 13, we were so bored that we would go to the mall and steal from one store, and then put the item in another store that sold similar goods.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    My top three: One human soul, Denmark and a bag of those Starburst jelly beans they sell at Easter.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Are you the Skipper from the Penguins of Madagascar?

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    I don't think so? It just didn't seem like Keanu was using it and I was like, "Hey, free soul."

  • When I was 6 or 7 Mom caught me eating a handful of grapes at the grocery, promptly marched me up to the manager and proceeded to humiliate me in front of God and errrbody. After that, I no longer had any desire to steal.

    Hmm, I take that back. When I was around 13 a friend of mine was obsessed with stealing these tiny stuffed animals--like, 2 or 3 inches tall tiny-- at the local toy store. So obsessed was she that we had to make the trek down to the strip mall every damn day during that fateful summer. I really wanted one of those little buggers but I resisted.

  • Ally

    This is a hilarious thread, and I identify with the TP swipers, the 7yo candy bandits or the occasional opportunistic cashier swindlers. But I gotta say it - to the small minority that steal real shit and come up with bullshit to justify it to themselves, seriously, fuck you! I don't care much about the abstract morality of it, but stealing is screwing the rest of us. How come you don't have to pay for stuff, but the rest of us do? We all steal, the store goes out of business, or, more likely, the prices go up further to cover theft rates. Whatever, but don't pretend that what you do is anything other than selfish individualism at the expense of the rest of us...

  • Ally

    Sorry for that burst of moralizing!

  • Clancys_Daddy

    You got caught didn't you.

  • Ally

    Ha! Yes that post was mandated as part of my community service.

    Nah, my experience with criminality was limited to when I was like 11, started eating my popsicle before I got to the cashier, realised I didn't like the flavor, and wrapped it back up and put it back in the freezer. Sorry, next person who came to buy an popsicle.

    Basically I think I just really really want things too, and I can't afford them either. So I can't stand people who they're entitled to cheat and get them for nothing. Walking out of a shop with something ain't hard, it's not a great achievement (except maybe the guy with the broom in the guitar case, props), it's just most of us choose not to do out out of respect for the common good. If I have to wait in line/pay taxes/work hard/stop at the red light, you damn well better too! :-P

  • Uriah_Creep

    Hardened criminals of your ilk really need to be prosecuted, Mrs. J. You're just lucky the statute of limitations has run out on your odious crimes.

  • kittenmittens

    I'm starting to feel like I'm missing a guilt component, or something. I don't feel bad about stealing. At all. If I want it, and can come up with a way to get it, I get it. If I can outsmart the security and be clever enough or lucky enough or people can be stupid enough to overlook it and let me get away with it, then it's mine. I've never stolen anything super major, but definitely a rather large swath of things. Clothes (probably $2,000 to $3,000 worth), shoes, books, cd's and dvd's, tchotchke crap like a clock and photo frames, sunglasses and jewelry worn long enough in store to 'forget' I'm wearing them, makeup, vodka, cigarettes, cash from the register, perfume, cases of soda or beer or packs of TP and paper towels on the bottom of my cart in self check-out, and my new favorite, which is doing self check-out and ringing up things like produce that are cheap by the pound, like carrots or potatoes, and getting organic leeks or mushrooms instead. I really don't feel bad.

  • marya

    You might want to talk to someone about that. You know, professionally. You have something wrong with you.

  • Jezzer

    And another.

  • Rebecca Hachmyer


  • Ned

    You guys are all pretty light-weight in the theft department.

    I used to work at a ski resort in my early twenties, and got a job sitting in a little booth collecting money from people leaving their cars in a parking lot that cost $10 per car. This booth was several hundred yards from where all the buildings at the base of the ski mountain was, and other than the people driving into the parking lot, I was pretty much on my own. The lot held a few hundred cars, and some of them got to park for free because they were staying at a nearby group of condo's-- which made keeping track of how much money was supposed to be collected pretty much impossible.

    I went back to work there for a couple of winters. Eventually, I got promoted to being the guy who went around and collected the money that all the other parking lots took in, too. That part of the job consisted of picking up a big bag of money from each parking lot, and driving back to the office all by myself in a company truck. Did I mention that I had to drive along several short stretches of road that wended through fairly heavy trees with almost no other traffic? Yeah, that certainly made it harder to help myself.

    I didn't keep real close count, but I'd guess I made off with more than $50,000 over the course of a few years. Allowed me to pay for my college education in cash. Never had to take out a single student loan. Don't feel guilty to this day.

    So yeah, you guys who are losing sleep over a candy bar you took back in elementary school? Maybe you shouldn't feel quite so bad about yourself.

  • Jezzer

    Hooray, you're a sociopath.

  • Ned

    I'd say well over 90% of the people who worked in that department stole some money while I worked there. Most of them just a few bucks here and there-- near as I can tell, I was the only one who developed a system to maximize my "earnings." But the fact remains, almost everyone crossed that line when presented with the opportunity.

    I'm not saying this to justify my actions. I have never felt the need to justify my actions. But I bring it up because it's interesting. With only a few exceptions, everyone stole.

    Why do you suppose theft was so common in this situation? I think it is a combination of factors. For one, it was really easy. Just put that ten dollar bill in your pocket instead of the cash register. There is also the fact that there was no clearly defined victim to the crime-- a big corporation that own several ski resorts is hard to feel sympathy for. And maybe the fact that so many other people were doing it made it seem more acceptable. In my own case, I didn't need any of these rationalizations, but I have to think that many of my co-workers did.

    Anyway, I don't think that 90% of my co-workers were sociopaths. If anything, their behavior simply indicates that most people operate with a morality system that depends on the situation instead of being comprised of absolutes.

  • Jezzer

    "...i.e., sociopaths."

  • This wasn't stealing exactly, but it sure felt like it. After I left college, I worked for a smallish call center whose big client was a natural remedies company that did infomercials in senior citizen heavy markets that sounded like call-in radio shows. All of their products were over priced, but the worst was the oregano kit. It was a couple of bottles of capsules with dried oregano and a 1oz. bottle of olive oil infused with oregano. It was $89.85, and when purchased with the book that explained how to use the cure-all to address problems ranging from sinus infections to toenail fungus, the total came to $101.80. Selling that shit sure felt like stealing, and if you figure 20 kits a shift for 52 40-hour work weeks, that's a lot of money. After a year in that hell, I decided my soul was worth more to me than that...

  • e jerry powell

    Hmmm. Some of the stories I could tell go a little bit beyond petty larceny, so I'm just not sure how much I should divulge.

  • PDamian

    Oh, geez ... Back when I was working two minimum-wage jobs and going to school full time (16 credits per semester), I was so poor that I stole regularly. One of my jobs was at a fast food place that served baked potatoes; I stole those all the time. The other was in an office in a big building, and I stole paper towels, toilet paper, and office supplies. Never shoplifted food or anything else from a supermarket, but I've been tempted big time. I felt absolutely awful (truly, I did; I'm a Catholic, and my guilt knew no end), but given that I was wearing Goodwill underwear and eating at least once a week at a gospel mission, I couldn't see my way past the thievery.

    A few years ago, I was living in an apartment while I was shopping for a house. One day, one of my neighbors -- skinny kid with a girlfriend and baby boy -- knocked on my door and asked me if he could buy a roll of toilet paper from me for forty cents, all he could afford. I think I freaked him out when I burst into tears and gave him a four-pack of TP, two rolls of paper towels, and a couple of twenties I had in my wallet, sobbing all the while. Been there, man, been there. Not good times.

  • UglyBattery

    Love this story. There is really nothing better than being able to help others generously when you are able. I am sure they were grateful. Maybe this act of generosity was your repentance :)

  • sean

    I don't know how many of you are shooters. Walmart customer service at the gun gun counter is somewhat awful in most places. If you just want to but one box of ammo, there is often a long wait for a person. Well, one time I waited, and waited for a cashier. I wanted to buy a few boxes of 45acp. There was a whole case on the counter,not put in the locked case. I figured "Hey, I might as well buy the whole case. Expensive, but I will use it. I took it to the garden cashier. It scanned up as one box($19.99), not one case ($199). I didn't correct the cashier. Paid and left. Not exactly stealing...more like creative fraud. Or punishment for lazy cashiers. Two weeks later, I was in the same Walmart. Another case is laying on the counter. I figured, might as well try it again. It rang up at $19.99 again. So I got 2000rnds of 45acp for $40.

  • Other Brian

    Some of my earliest memories are of my time in a children's ward for Appendicitis when I was three. It burst, and I was touch-and-go for a while, so I was kept with the more serious cases in a kind of "kiddy ICU". One evening, as everyone was going to sleep, I stole some Opal Fruits (which would later be rebranded as Starburst) off the bedside locker of the kid next to me, and hid them under my pillow.

    I never got in trouble, and it only occurred to me years later why, when I remembered how the kid in the bed next to me had no hair, and was gone when I woke up the next day.

  • Robert

    I was involved in a musical theater conspiracy to steal. We were doing Aida, which requires three keyboard players to cover the insanity of Elton John's vision. Our piano accompanist was fantastic on Keyboard 1. I was holding my own on the riff/moody synth heavy Keyboard 2.

    Our Keyboard 3 player, however, refused to learn his music. He improvised new parts every time and didn't even do a good job of it. As vocal music director, it fell on me to make the Keyboard 3 player disappear for good. The director, choreographer, and house manager agreed to keep quiet if I did it in a way that seemed believable and didn't place the orchestra director as a possible suspect.

    The Keyboard 3 player left his book and rig at the theater every night. After he left, I stole his book and hid it in my car. When he showed up to rehearsal the next day, he was told to find his book by the end of rehearsal or he was fired. He left after ten minutes because he knew he wouldn't find the book. My con was so good that the director didn't even realize I nabbed the book until after Keyboard 3 man was gone.

    I went to my car, grabbed the book, and put together a new Keyboard 2 book out of the remains of the original Keyboard 2 and 3 books.

    And thus started the trend of one school hiring me to play all the keyboard books rather than pay other musicians to get the full orchestra arrangement. Let that be a lesson to all of you: crime doesn't pay well.

  • buell

    When I was a junior in high school a group of us stole the time capsule that the class ahead of us had put up in the school. It wasn't some cheesy little thing. It was a sculpture of our school mascot with a compartment build inside of it to hold the memorabilia that was supposed to be opened on their 25th reunion. So we pried that sucker up and dumped it in the river.

    Take that class of 1978!

  • heatseeker

    I stole a bra from Marshall's a few years ago. It's the only thing I've ever shoplifted, and I did it just to see if I could. I grabbed it off the discards rack when the fitting room girl turned away to grab the little number tag, so when I came back out wearing the bra under my clothes, I still had the right number of items.

    It wasn't really any kind of a thrill, and I've never shoplifted since because the risk/reward ratio is way too low. But I do love the bra and wear it all the time.

  • Rooks

    Ikea pencils. I know, they're free so it's not really theft, but if you take more than six dozen of them at one go, I figure it's close enough...

  • You win!

  • Rooks

    I win what?
    (Please let it be pencils that are longer than two and a half inches. I could use some of those.)

  • Jezzer

    I stole a carton of cigarettes when I was a teenager. It was winter, I was wearing a heavy coat, and I stuck it inside my coat sleeve and then just left the store, taking care to move my arms normally while I walked. It was only the one time, and I did it on a dare.

  • minxy

    One year I stole all my Christmas gifts for that year, because I had no money. My mom still wears the earrings I took, and proudly mentions how much she loves them every time. Though I was never caught, the look on her face makes me feel incredibly guilty even though it was twenty years ago.

  • Kieran

    My sister and I once attempted to steal a set of crayons from our local superstore. Well, I say steal, but what we really tried to do was distract our mother so that we could slip the crayons into her shopping cart without her noticing. My sister took her over to a stack of Buffy DVD's while I nabbed the crayons and put them in the cart. Everything was going according to plan until the cashier picked up the crayons, look at us, then said to my mother "Are you sure you want these?" Stupid bitch cost me some much needed drawing supplies.

  • goodtothelastdrop

    So when I was a teen I worked at a certain smoothie place that gave out punchcards... and many a time I would punch a card, take the customers money for their smoothie, and pocket the cash while placing the card in the register.

    Also, I once bought a Playstation 2, swapped all the stickers from the new to my old broken one and then returned it, accidentally leaving my copy of Cable Guy in the disc drive. I feel guilty about the smoothie thing, not so much about the Playstation....an Ikea candy bar sounds good about now though.

  • Alex Kuhn

    Every now and then, I forget to have the cashier scan giant bags of dog food under my cart. I have two big dogs, and the brand of dog food we buy usually costs about 40 bucks. This has happened several times. Sometimes I realize as I'm headed to the door, and I always get this feeling of sheer terror as I think THIS is going to be the time the greeter actually looks at my receipt." But you know, my theory (shitty as it is) is that if the cashier and the bagger both didn't notice, that's on them.

    And honestly, there may have been one or two times I did it on purpose (before I had paid or walked away) when I was at Walmart and my cashier was being a jerk. It was my way of sticking it to those dirty corporations. I think?

  • $27019454

    I stole on a dare my freshman year of college. I was a million miles away from home among relative strangers (hippies). I had turned 18 the week before. I was arrested and I have never gotten past this. It kills me. I have to diclose it on job apps. I still sort of hate myself over it.

  • blacksred

    I stole someone's fiance. He's my husband now. It wasnt my fault though.

  • Meaux

    Finally! A chance to brag about my big heist! So, I was out doing some field surveys a couple of weeks ago, and the study site just happened to be at the top of a farm field. Well, as I walked up to the site, I noticed a stray turnip on the ground. The field had just been harvested the day before, and this little guy quite literally fell off the turnip truck. As did three other little turnips on the roadside, and two wee pumpkins! I considered leaving them onthe farmer's doorstep, but no, I tossed them in my backpack and made off like the badass bandit that I was. What a rush, man.

    And that, boys and girls, is the first and only time I've ever stolen. BAD ASS.

  • DocDoom

    You know in Garden State when PSkar takes that item from inside the store and then "returns" it to the same place with no receipt? Yeah, my friends and I used to do that in high school to Borders and Barnes and Noble ALL THE TIME. Like, a few stores per day every weekend. Steal a bag of books, go to the next store over, and say they were given as a gift and we didn't like them. We'd only get store credit, but we'd use that to buy tons of DVDs, CDs, food and whatnot.

    This was all years before the movie even came out, and they were completely unaware for a few years. I think now they take your ID and stuff, but back then? Hoo boy.

  • CozMexo

    Alright, so far you all seem pretty rational, and to some extent calculated, about your thieving ways. I wasn't.
    When I was around 10, I was walking home from school across a football/soccer field, as I always did, but on this day there was a javelin (to me a very exotic object) on the field.
    Making sure no one was around to see me take it, I picked it up and simply went on my way. It was actually kind of awesome walking around with this "loot" out in the open, and getting away scot free, but the trip to return the damn thing two years later: Eh, not so much fun...

  • Kris

    Right before the bank meltdown, I worked at one of the "too big to fail" banks. I hated it, but I couldn't afford to quit. My best friend is a second grade teacher, and that year she was told that she had to pay for her own copies of worksheets for her class. So, I did her copies for her at lunch and on breaks - probably about 30,000 copies by the time I finally quit. And no, of course I don't feel guilty.

  • kirbyjay

    No one is too big to fail and it is quite possible that you are the reason for the financial meltdown. All that ink and paper could have put the bank over the edge. How's that for guilt?

    On a more serious (?) note, my foray into theft involved my bf and another girl. We made the rounds at various department stores in Boston and ended up at Filenes basement. My bag was lighter so the other girl switched with me. Just then a female undercover BPD officer grabbed me and BF and the other girl took off. We were "interrogated" in an office for about an hour, basically to scare the shit out of us, mission accomplished. The end result was they took our stolen loot and let us go, telling us that they would send a letter to our parents. They actually took her stolen loot and she had my bag which she gave to me when we got home. I guess crime does pay.
    In any case, I was cured of shoplifting at the ripe old age of 13, and I helped my parents out by getting the mail for the next month.

  • kirbyjay

    Oh yeah, I forgot! Barbie heads! I was probably 8 or 9 and a few of us would take the bus to the next town and go to Almy's (long gone). We would go to the toy department and back then things weren't wrapped up like they are now. Barbies would come in a box that you could open. We would pop the heads off ( easy to steal) and then our one Barbie body could have her hair done differently every week. I had about 6 of them, every style and color and I'm talking old school Barbies with the slightly exotic eyes. Wish I still had them.

  • I once stole a tube of LifeSavers from the pharmacy we used to go to ALL the time. There was a display of them right in front of the cash register. One day it was really busy and I was kneeling down looking through the candy while everyone was distracted. I just put the roll in my pocket and walked out.

    It was awful. I couldn't eat a single one from how bad I felt. I think I ended up throwing them out or giving them to my brother or something.

    And...this one was pretty recent. I was working for a giant department store, in the stock department. I was in charge of throwing away returned or damaged cosmetics. I really felt awful doing it, because while some of it was broken or clearly used, some of the stuff hadn't even been opened, or it was a bottle of perfume that someone had sprayed twice. One time I put a tiny roll-on bottle of some Givenchy perfume in my pocket (it was from a set where the big bottle had been broken, and the whole thing had been returned with a bottle of lotion and the roll-on unopened). I just felt stupid knowing that no one would ever use a perfectly good tube of perfume. I was supposed to have someone watching me, and then I was supposed to dump the container into a giant vat of stuff that would later be taken out. But it was the holidays, no one was supervising me and the vat was broken or something, so I had to put it into trash bags. Someone was supposed to look through the trash bags before they went through the dumpster, but I knew no one ever did. So I walked to the bags to the dumpster, ripped into bag, took out the tube and put it in my pocket.

    I spent the rest of the day terrified that I might've been caught on camera. At one point a couple of cops walked into the stock room and I could've sworn they were there for me. But no, they were there for a customer who'd been caught stealing on the floor.

    That was it. But I know I could've stolen so, so much more from that place. Security (for employees) was awful, and the Loss Prevention people were too busy (or lazy) to go through all the steps they were supposed to go through to prevent employees from stealing. I'm not justifying it at all...I'm just saying that there's probably lots of people there who steal *constantly*. Specially in the stock area.

  • Stephen

    Speaking of getting even for customer service, I've gotten even with assurion a few times, cause really f them for making me pay $120 when I've already been paying for two years of insurance.

  • Stephen

    I used to steal everything that wasn't nailed down when I was in middle/high school just for the hell of it and I couldn't afford any of it anyways.

    Now I only do it to get back at places that have screwed me over customer service wise. I once got a drill from HD cause they gave me the run around with customer service for a few hours. Even though it was close to three digits I still don't feel even on that one. Dbags.

  • About 30+ pint glasses, ones with good beer company logos (e.g., micros, the more obscure and arty the logo the better), one glass at a time from pubs everywhere, even overseas. Some would suggest it's a pattern and pathology, I say it's getting inventory for my climapocalypse scenario - I'll open the bar.

  • Sydney

    I stole a pair of lightbulb salt and pepper shakers from a fancy burger place. I was out on the lamest bachelorette party I have ever been to (or heard of), and mostly did it to amuse myself. A friend of the bride (NB: not a friend of mine) who is a self-absorbed, whiny bitch was shrieking about it the whole night because she paid by credit card and was worried that she would get charged for the shakers - this despite the fact that most of us paid by credit card, myself included.
    Anyway, I still enjoy looking at my cool shakers and the friend of the bride just had a baby and is the size of a fucking ox.

  • becks

    When I was a teenager I used to steal really stupid things with my friends. We once stole this bench that had a large, metal Ronald McDonald sitting on it in a friendly, arm around your shoulder pose. We'd steal a lot of street signs that were either funny or related to our names and use all of them to decorate an out-building that was kind of a drinking hangout on one of the guys' property.

    We went on a trip, put on by the school, to Montreal for our graduating year. We managed to move the vending machine on our floor into one of the guys' room, though were caught two days later when security searched. We stole a portable debit machine from a strip club. On the drive home, while in the school buses, we managed to sneak off during lunch and steal a fairly large, inflatable palm tree from a car dealership that we donated to the school when we got back. They used it when decorating for our prom.

    We were those asshole teenagers that make it why we can't have nice things.

  • skylosmama

    When I was 20-something, my friends and I stole the 8-ball from a pool table at a pub right in the middle of the game.... the guy was pretty pissed off because he had put down a deposit on his credit card. My two girlfriends who stole the ball were way ahead of me and our fourth friend. He stopped us and said "your friend stole the 8-ball," We said simply replied that we didn't know them. Shitty of us, but we were all pretty drunk, and 20ish.

    Last Christmas, my 2 year old son put some bracelets in our stroller without me noticing and I was too embarrassed to take them back..... my 4 year old daughter did the same thing, a few weeks later with a pair of tights.

    Feels good to get that off my chest.

  • Milly

    The most I have ever stolen was perhaps 1000 cigarettes (5 x 200 packs) when I was 17 from the supermarket I worked in. I didn't smoke.

    My girlfriend did.

    Free cigs made her happy. I was made happy in return.

    I worked nights there for a while during the summer or christmas breaks and the permanent night workers would, as a matter of course, on christmas do their shopping for free.

    They'd load a pallet up with beer, whisky, wine, veg, fruit, dry goods and then leave it outside in the yard out of view from the external cameras just before the rear shutters got locked for the night. They then went and loaded their cars up at a break around 3am (they had keys to a single front door). They thought of this as their christmas bonus.

    It only became apparent to me when I worked there during time term when I was doing post-grad work that this wasn't just a christmas thing, but something they did regularly.

  • Malin

    My friend and I used to frequently shoplift small items of sweets like gum or small chocolate bars from the local petrol station when we were kids, I guess we were around 9 or 10. It was pretty much what was considered entertainment in the small place where I grew up, and I'm very confident that pretty much the majority of kids my age did the same. I should probably feel guilty about it, but I don't. If we'd got caught, and the owners had called our parents, I'm sure we would've been scared straight, but as far as I can remember, no one ever did catch us.

    As a student, I helped out in stealing many a pint glass, as I tended to have a big handbag, and it's really quite easy to nick things like that from pubs. Most student flats I lived in have been stocked almost exclusively with glasses and frequently cutlery nicked from local pubs. My husband and I still have four whisky tumblers that I stole from a Hurtigruten cruise ship as a present for him, while on a cruise with my mum.

    Should I feel bad about this petty larceny? Probably. Do I? Nope.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Pint glasses! Oh, ya. The more I think about this the worse a person I become.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Yup, I was thinking there wasn't much beyond office supplies, but there have been a few cloth napkins, a couple of silver spoons from a restaurant (the stamp had my name!), coasters and a glass or two.

  • Kaye

    I steal toilet paper from work every now and again. I'm a waitress and most of the time it is too busy for me to even get a chance to use the bathroom. I'm just taking my allotted amount and using it at home

  • kittenmittens

    word. my office rarely, if ever, gives raises, and i have a large handbag. i have no qualms about stealing my toilet paper on the regular to make up what paltry difference my extra 12 cents would mean. but to be fair, if they don't want me to steal it, it shouldn't be nice quality, and they shouldn't leave a printer paper box full of 20 rolls at a go there for the taking.

  • Oh, I've been to Prague

    Nice try, Officer.

  • Bob Barker

    Is this a sting? i ain't no snitch

  • Mrs. Julien

    You won't drop a dime on anyone?

  • Zuffle

    Every time I go grocery shopping, I like to cheat the 'serve yourself' tills by stealing something. The trick is working out which items are designated by weight (ie most of them) and which aren't (singular items such as bread rolls, unweighed fruit, etc). I'm always sure to scan the stolen item in such a way as to not actually run the barcode over the scanner before putting it in the bag, so there's video evidence of me 'trying' to buy it and the machine going wrong. I generally steal the most expensive non-security-tagged item in the basket. It's probably an illness and I can certainly afford everything I take - I really have no idea why I do it; the last thing I stole was a pork pie - but as I always steal it in plain sight, and am only stealing from a multinational corporation rather than an independent retailer, I couldn't give a good fuck.

    I did get caught stealing as a child; I stole two badges from the cover of The Beano (a UK comic) and my friend told his dad - who was a police officer - what I'd done. I remember hiding under my bed from my dad, and the whipping I got afterwards, but clearly I've learned nothing. Oh well.

  • BobbFrapples

    I'm sure I've stolen little things like candy and parking spaces, but having a cop for a father meant that I didn't get away with much. I got blamed for a lot more than I ever did!

  • WellOkayThen

    My freshmen year of college, I stole a tiny bottle of KY lube from a drug store for absolutely no reason and without any intention to do so before I got there. I threw it away as soon as I got out of the store, I think. I have no explanations as to why I did it because I wasn't with anyone when I did it and I didn't have any plans for using it (I was doing just fine on my own at the time, thank you). One of the weirder things I've ever done.

  • Shonda

    I have never stolen anything from a store with willing intent. My cousins did all of the time, and when I was with them, which pissed me off because I would've probably gotten in trouble too. I was then and am still petrified of being arrested and going to jail; however, I have just kept stuff when it was obvious that it was left by accident. I'm an opportunity thief.

  • Natallica

    I also stole candy, from a Wal-Mart type supermarket when I was around 7 years old. It was on a shelf and i put a couple of handfuls in my pockets. A guard saw me and threatened me telling he was going to call the police. I got terrified, but still denied I had stolen anything. But the damn candy still tasted like guilt!

  • QueBarbara

    Gosh, everything so far is pretty tame. I went into a Walmart about twenty years ago, when I was about thirty, fully intending to buy the latest Nintendo console. I took that and a few games to the check-out counter in the electronics department, and the cashier only charged me for the games. My friend and I both noticed this, and then we both walked through the store and out the front door holding our breath.

    In my defense, even though money was very tight at the time and every penny counted, I have felt guilty every since. I wouldn't do it again. Or, at least, I wouldn't do it now.

  • I once got a hoodie for free because the cashier didn't ring it up with the rest of my purposes. Even though it was her error, I felt so guilty that I avoided going to her every time I shopped there after that. But a Nintendo console? Yeah, I think that guilt would've overwhelmed me too!

  • 7 must be the age of larceny, because that was my only real stint with it, as well. I stole a candy bar, also because my mother wouldn't allow such things, but I was covered in chocolate when I got home, so she was clear on what had happened. I, too, was made to apologize. Pretty sure I got a spanking from it, but that's not what stayed with me. It was the humiliation of admitting I was a thief and the store owner making me and the friends who had joined me in the caper, sweep the aisles (it was a little store).

    The only other time I've stolen was oversight. A giant bag of dog food, left on the bottom part of the cart. I was at my car and unloading my gazillionty bags of groceries before I realized it and was too goddamned tired to go all the way back in and make things right. But I have checked the cart carefully ever since then.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    7. The Age of Reason.

  • Return of Santitas

    I once stole a pair of earrings from HM by dropping them through a hole in my coat pocket down into the liner. Shoplifting was very in in my friend group at the time. I wanted to try it but it was not worth it. I am a born rule-follower so I stressed a huge amount in the run up to my crime and then worried that I would get caught the rest of the day, like HM security was going to roll up at my college dorm three hours later or something. So all that worry for a $5 pair of earrings was really not worth it, never did it again. SO BORING! I hope someone has a better story than this.

  • layla

    Like you Mrs Julien, the only thing I've ever stolen is a chocolate bar when I was in about grade 7. Oh, and toilet paper from work. No thrill, just guilt, was experienced from the chocolate bar episode but, surprisingly, a small thrill was experienced with the tp theft.

  • Mrs. Julien

    That reminds me - when I was in my early 20s, I worked the door for a band at a pub. I left through the back and took one of those giant rolls of toilet paper. I think it lasted us 6 months.

  • John G.

    a little shoplifting is good for the soul.

  • Guest

    That gif!!

    Um, when I worked at a bookstore, I sometimes "stole" rather than threw away (as we were supposed to) stripped paperpacks. It was one part acquisitory, one part "I can't just throw this coverless but perfectly good Faulkner in the garbage!!!!"

    Something tells me this happens at most bookstores...

  • sean

    We were allowed to take strips when I managed a book store. OF course, we used to "strip" every new paperback that we wanted to read, if we hadn't read it hardcover. We were also allowed to check out hardcovers. We just had to leave the jacket behind. I have a lot of un-jacketed hardcovers from the late 80s/early 90s on my shelves.

  • QueBarbara

    I did that, too. But I thought it was only illegal to sell those books.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    No, it's illegal to take them, too. I know one bookstore employee fired for doing so (he called it "liberating" books from the dumpster). Basically, if anybody should know that books should be paid for, it would be bookstore employees.

  • Guest

    Yeah, that was quite the deal-breaker with our boss, too. (Although I'm taking bets that she squirrelled home many a stripped book, herself.)

  • Guest

    IIRC depended on the publishers (their printed warning on invoices went beyond selling). This was the late 80s. Things may have changed, though.

  • I've never stolen from a store. But when I was in fifth grade, I stole some candy from a jar in a classroom. It was full of candy for a "Guess How Many Pieces" contest - if you guessed right, you won it. I was alone in the classroom and had the opportunity, so I took a few pieces and ate them. I just liked the idea of the winner being wrong because the count would technically be off (even though the teacher wasn't likely to count it again) - like my own tiny, insignificant version of creating chaos.

  • Skyler Durden

    I have never in my life intentionally stolen something tangible. However, I do regularly sneak into movies. Like, every week. I can't remember the last time I went to a theater and only watched one movie.

  • thebluestepside

    Every trip to the theater is a double feature for the lady friend and I. It's not really even the thrill of getting away with a free movie that does it for us though- it's trying to combine two films into a cohesive viewing experience of some kind. That, and putting the screws to the industry in my own little way.

  • zyzzyva

    After seeing 50/50 in 2011, the boyfriend was so depressed, so on our way out I steered us straight into the theater about to play Real Steel (Hugh Jackman knock 'em sock 'em toy robot movie). We were all giddy and sunk low in the seats, trying to look all nonchalant. The movie was ridiculous, of course, but really helped to lift his spirits and take the edge off the previous one (amazingly done, but powerful and difficult to watch because of it).

  • googergieger

    This already was a thing a few weeks ago wasn't it? I specifically remember me and other people talking about stealing and how the only thing I ever stole wasn't technically stolen, as it was milk and hershey's syrup in a store, in my mouth, and me swirling it around. Of course this was at the behest of a friend who did the same thing and then told me to do it. Making for what was the most boring bowing down to peer pressure ever.

    Anways I remember this being a thing. Also I still am pretty sure the fix is in.

  • Groundloop

    Firstly, that seagull is a BAMF.

    My life of thievery lasted about a week during the summer when I was maybe 9 or 10. There was a department store near my childhood home called Gambles that I went to twice during that week, specifically to steal stuff from the toy department. I don't remember exactly what I stole, I think a small car and a plastic soldier, but I do remember that one of them had a price tag of $1.79. That doesn't seem like much now, but this was when a chocolate bar cost 5¢ (yes, I'm old), so it felt like a fortune. I did get away with it, but I never stole anything again. The guilt I felt more than overwhelmed whatever thrill I'd briefly gotten. As to why? I think I just wanted to see what it was like. And I found out.

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