Did You Steal as a Teen?

My niece just got caught shoplifting a few weeks ago and the family was surprised that she received jail (juvie) time. Two days. We were thinking she’d most likely get community service or counseling because it was her first offense and she’s only fifteen.

I don’t really think it’s a deserving sentence but perhaps it might keep her from doing it again. I do not know…I’d think she needs counseling but then again I have thought she needed it for a while now. This is her first time getting caught, but I know she has always had some sort of cold, detached personality and seems to have poor impulse control. She has stolen before and got caught by a family member. The punishment for that offense was a grounding/heavy talking to, and I think she wasn’t allowed to go to the mall alone for quite some time after that incident.

Anyway, I was discussing her sentence with my friend and she made a comment about how it’s normal for teens to shoplift and that she and a friend used to go from “store to store” picking up what they could, and never got caught. To me, this does not seem normal, but then again I stole once in my life as a child, on a dare, and it still haunts me even though I never got caught. I was brought up with the idea that stealing is wrong and you just don’t do it. I was no angel and engaged in plenty other illegal activities (drinking under age, smoking weed, etc.) but stealing…no way.

So is it a normal, common thing for teens to shoplift/steal what they think they can get away with? Did any of you do it? If so, how old were you, and just out of curiosity how old are you now? Did you ever get caught?

I stole books from the bookstore in which I worked sometimes, and I stole food when I was hungry and had no money. I never shoplifted just for kicks or knew anybody who did, but it might be more a teenage girl thing.

Yes - of all things, robotussin.

I must have been a real Goody Two-Shoes; never stole anything.

I was in my early teens (I’m going to guess 13) when I found the coin box of a washing machine in my building had been pried open. I felt like I had just found free money and reached in to see what I could get. Of course that was the moment when a neighbor came into the laundry room and I was busted. He grabbed me by my ear and walked me back to my apartment, which unfortunately contained my mother.

I remember having a general feeling of really not understanding why it was wrong. I’m wondering what age that feeling of right and wrong (WRT petty stealing) is supposed to kick in.

I’ve never shoplifted. OK, once, inadvertantly, when a pair of sunglasses was overlooked by the cashier at Target. I took them back in and paid for them.

I did steal money from my mother’s purse though, all the time.

Not even somebody’s heart?

I only remember every shoplifting once. It was a squirt gun and I am sure that I was younger than a teen - and I remember feeling horrible about it later.

Nope, never.

I did smoke tonnes of pot, though. :smiley:

I certainly don’t think it’s normal. I never shoplifted as a teen. For that matter, the only thing I can think of ever having stolen in my life is a tube of Chapstick when I was a little kid, and my mother promptly marched me back into the drugstore and made me apologize. It’s still embarassing to think about even now. What is wrong with people?!

Nope, never. Juvy may have been a bit harsh for a first offense, but perhaps they prefer to nip bad behavior in the bud over there.

I did it for a while when I was about 15-16. Then my best friend got caught and the humiliating experience she went through scared me out of the habit. I thank my lucky stars I didn’t get caught.

I shoplifted well into college.

Not proud of it. But I did.

Never shoplifted, never stole from my mother’s purse.

I’m absent-minded, so it’s possible that a clerk forgot to charge me for something at some point and I never noticed. If I had noticed, I would have gone back and paid for whatever it was.

I’ve never understood people who steal “for the thrill of it,” though that’s only one of many thrill-seeking behaviors that I don’t get.

Sorry, didn’t answer this bit. I was between around 13 and 16 then, and I’m 26 now. I was never caught. I also remember stealing money from my mother as young as six or so, and I definitely knew it was wrong then. But like I said, later I never stole for kicks, just for practical reasons.

I would guess that most teens would be willing to steal if they perceive the situation as impersonal. From a business is fine, from a friend is not. That’s the general sense I remember getting from my friends at the time, anyway, but they were busy doing way more dangerous stuff to have fun. :stuck_out_tongue:

When I was a teenager, I went through a phase of stealing small things, but never from stores because I was afraid I’d get caught. I just took stuff from the people around me, stuff I didn’t even want. Later on, I’d show it to my friends and we’d laugh about how I’d gotten it. Incidentally, these friends I am speaking of did the same thing. One of them did steal from the convenience store. We’d all go in together and this one girl would fill up her shirt with candy and walk out.

My brother and stepbrother also stole from the convenience store. My brother stopped after nearly being caught once.

I also had a stepsister who got arrested for stealing clothes from a department store.

Gee, the more I think about it, I realize that I knew a lot of teenage thieves!

To answer the OP’s question, I was sixteen or seventeen then. I’m thirty-five now, and I don’t steal any more.

I shoplifted a few things when I was like 13-14. Almost got caught once, didn’t like the feeling. Never shoplifted again.

A bunch of my friends did it to.

I always thought it was normal, teen-ager crap. . .on par with reckless driving, stealing road signs, and minor vandalism.

To get sent to juvie for one offense sounds harsh. I’m guessing that it was a big shoplift, or she’d had a previous warning, or she’d been in trouble for something before. . .drugs or underage drinking or she told the judge to sit on his gavel. Is there something you’re leaving out?

Wow… I guess I was a horrible person - I did occasionally. $5 or less here and there (candy, crappy little toys, etc.). Never bothered me much & no guilt about it now.
Probably was 13 or so, I’m 38 now.

No. I stole at age 10, and my mother found out. The beating she gave me - we got down to her chucking high heeled shoes at me toward the end of it - convinced me never even to think about it again.

Nope. Just not capable. Stupid morals. :smiley: