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The Thrill and Addiction of Shoplifting in Teenagers

There’s an old saying that everyone has heard at some point in their life, “Nothing in life is free.” To a shoplifter that saying doesn’t exist. They believe in the five finger discount instead. According to Shopliftingprevention.org, There are 23 million shoplifters in the . More than $10 billion worth of goods are stolen from stores each year.

A survey shows that 19 out of 40 teens in Iowa have shoplifted more than once. There isn’t a specific type to be a shoplifter. Shoplifters come in all ages, genders, race and financial class. They can be lower class or even teens coming from a rich family.

There are two types of shoplifters. The professional steals in order to resell the stolen goods and make a profit.
Then there’s the non-professional. The non-professional is usually a young amateur who steals to keep the items or for the fun and excitement that stealing gives them. 10 out of 19 who admitted to shoplifting, claim that they steal
“The first time I stole, I stole from Wal-Mart. It was a pair of sunglasses. I took the stickers off while I was with my sister at the time. She told me that the barcodes aren’t the reason for the alarm set off. I believed her and we walked out without any problem. I was both excited and very adrenaline-rushed.” Said Jordan Cable of Ames.

Stealing causes the heart to beat faster and gives you and instant high. The person is never 100 percent sure if they’re going to get away with it. It’s a game filled with risks.

“I mostly stole jewelry. Sometimes t-shirts or weird trinkets, but I never actually used or wore anything I stole.” States Amy Sullivan, a Des Moines teenager.

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Others steal simply because they want the item, but can’t afford it.

“I stole for the thrill that it gave me, and because I just wanted the stuff that I couldn’t by. I never had the money,” said 18 year old Samantha King.

All three people that were interviewed started stealing because their friends and older siblings pressured them into stealing.

When asked about this, Sullivan laughs and says, “Yeah, that’s how it all started. It was a dare.”

Another reason why shoplifters steal is to protest against our nations government and Capitalism.

“I stole mainly for the purpose of rebellion. Being an anarchist, I don’t support major corporations. I support local stores that are family owned. Corporations are the main reason of our downfall in the country, I believe.” Cable said.

The corporate stores solution to this problem is to raise the prices on the products in order to make up for money lost due to stolen items. This means that customers who actually buy the products have to pay more for somebody else’s actions.

Lastly people tend to shoplift because it becomes an addiction. With every new item they gain, they want more of what they truly shouldn’t have, but they want it so badly. According to CBS News, some shoplifters have even admitted is as addicting as drugs and alcohol. To say the least, it’s a habit that one can’t break easily after they get waist deep in it. Some people felt like they’ve had something missing in their lives, and once they discover shoplifting, they feel happy with themselves.

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“It’s all I thought about, says Amanda, a stage actress with a beautiful look. Amanda was a compulsive shoplifter. She found herself spending part of each day shoplifting.

“Even when I wasn’t stealing, I was thinking about what I was going to steal. When I was home alone, I’d try on my stolen things, one after another. I always feel so much more beautiful in something that I’ve stolen.”

Today stealing is more than a crime. It’s an addiction and a lifestyle.


  • National Association for Shoplifting Prevention