Why Do People with Plenty of Money Shoplift?

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on January 18, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Maybe they do it for the thrill. Maybe they do it because they have a compulsion. Many might wonder why rich people shoplift. It's not like they don't have the money to pay for the goods they pilfer. And for whatever reason, some seem unafraid of breaking shoplifting laws.

Take a look at some recent shoplifters. British celebrity chef Worrall Thompson was recently caught leaving a Tesco with onions, a sandwich, cheese and wine.

California Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi was nabbed leaving a Neiman Marcus store with $2,500 of clothing in tow. Hayashi's attorney later said her judgment was impaired because of a brain tumor.

Are these simply career criminals in disguise? That's unlikely, according to Barbara Staib from the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention. In an interview with the BBC, she notes that most shoplifters are honest. Some turn to shoplifting in order to battle depression.

Others find emotional refuge in the illegal activity. It can give some individuals a certain high or rush. It's a temporary fix.

But would-be shoplifters need to be aware that their actions are criminal. Shoplifting is stealing. Some states have specific shoplifting laws. Others punish shoplifters under traditional theft and larceny statutes.

Penalties can be high. It often depends on the value of the goods stolen. If you steal something that's worth a lot, you may be charged with a felony. You could end up spending time in jail.

Shoplifting less expensive goods may result in fines.

What constitutes shoplifting may also depend on your state's statutes. You don't necessarily need to take the goods out of the store in some cases. Simply altering price tags or hiding goods may be enough.

Why do people shoplift? It may be psychological. But just remember that there are some shoplifting laws you wouldn't want to break.

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