View Full Version : shoplifting

24-05-2005, 04:43 PM
I was thinking about this recently when woebot said he'd nicked his copy of Art into Pop; Me too! back in the days before Waterstones had ''beepers''.
whats the best/craftiest bit of shoplifing you've done ?

Noah Baby Food
24-05-2005, 05:29 PM
Christ, now you're talking. How long have you got? As a seventeen-to-eighteen year old jobless yoot, living in a shitty bedshit in a South Coast of England town, small-time "shottin'" and shop theft was my bread and butter. Seriously dark days, that made me the man I am today...ahem..

- on my 18th birthday taxed £300 worth of kids clothes, sold 'em to my "fence" for cash and hash, went for a meal then went raving (on red & yellows...daaaaaamn)

- me and my mate stole a HUGE soft toy of a hedgehog from Clinton Cards, making a half-hearted attempt to conceal it using both of our puffa jackets

-TDK SA90 cassettes were the LICK. Available just about everywhere, could get a quid each for 'em...me and my pals used to drive to different South Coast towns, stopping off at every Woolworth's and taxing ALLl the SA90s

- went into branch of Fosters Clothing (now defunct), surreptitiously threw about 10 children's t-shirts into the changing room, dead quickly so the shop assistant couldn't see me. Asked to try on a shirt, went into changing room, put all the child's t-shirts on, one on top of another - it was a struggle - then put my original top on over them. Then came out with the shirt, said "I might come back for this mate", sweltering hot, looking a lot thicker-set than when I went in. Breezed out of there, went to public WC, struggled to take off all kid's shirts, went and fenced 'em for weed and I was a happy brer.

There's too many to mention, really. Used to nick CDs from bargain bin (Woolworth's again), take 'em to the bogs, take off cellophane, scratch the cases a bit with a coin, then take 'em to the second hand record shop, run by a fruity old drunken Irishman. He always bought all of them off me without question (although a good question would have been "why do you have 5 copies of the Jive Bunny album?"...). Take the money, buy some fags, go to the cafe for a fry-up...

(sadly, this same shop bought a lot of my old punk vinyl...a> I was desperate and b> had "House Music Year Zero" mentality and thought I'd never want to listen to Black Flag again...you learn, eh?...)

...those were the days as a "yoot on road"...chequered past innit...

...for the record, haven't got the bottle to pinch ANYTHING anymore, haven't been able to for years...got caught too many times, then paranoia sets in...brrrrrrr.... got banned from all branches of Burtons, Fosters, Woolworths (wish I'd kept the letters)...got banned from every branch of McDonalds in the world (!) as well...that's another story...

the store detectives who used to work in Woolworths (who nicked me and my mates and thought they were something off The Sweeney) actually came in to our local boozer once...and left after five minutes, as soon as everyone realised who they were...hehe...

24-05-2005, 08:12 PM
i stole a jonathan richman album when i was 17
and a box set of william blake's illuminated books which i gave to my girlfriend as a present (i was a very romantic shoplifter)
babylon didn't lose much!

25-05-2005, 02:56 AM
Ī stole a mop once.

25-05-2005, 09:07 AM
-The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, by Alan Sillitoe, for my then girlfriend - I thought this was kind of apt and she'd be enthralled I did it for her - she considered me a cheapskate

- "The Factory Sampler" double 7" (priced £40) which I then sold to a Joy Division-obsessed friend for a fiver

- a pile of '80s punk singles from Kensington Market (all crap - I'm surprised the stallholder didn't use the local paper to thank the anonymous samaritan who relieved him of such tat)

- "Spleen and Ideal" by Chas Baudelaire. Cracking read, but ironically someone stole this from me

- Numerous cans of beans and coke, loaves of bread and smoked cheeses

- Not really shoplifting, but in the past, loads of hit and run attacks on Pizza Hut buffet carts

However, this is all boring compared to someone I used to know, who once stole a sofa from a department store - just by going in with his brother, lifting it up, and calmly taking it out the back and loading it into a van. Nobody checked or challenged them.

25-05-2005, 10:52 AM
I admire the guts in Noah's story. I only shoplifted when it was totally safe and was never that ambitious.

My stock in trade was to lift small but expensive items, like sunglasses and then buy something cheap like a pair of socks because if you leave via the cashier the store detectives don't bother you.

The other one was to go into HMV, grab a big pile of vinyl and head for the listening station. When you got there, take all the expensive import vinyl out of its sleeve and then cram about 3 12s into the sleeve of whatever was on 99p promotion that week. Take that to the counter and buy it and you've paid 99p, but got 15-20 quids worth of records. Of course, never do that in an independent retailer, only the big chains.

I quit when I got nabbed by the store detective in Sainsburies with some cheese up my sleeve. Pathetic end to a pathetic career.

Noah Baby Food
25-05-2005, 11:02 AM
Some nice tactics there Backjob. Putting on a pair of 501s under your (baggy) jeans in the changing rooms was always a winner - good seller, used to get £15 for 'em...one time my mate ripped his hand open really badly pulling off the security tag and the shopgirl was suspicious of all the blood...hahaha...

When I used to get loads of punk/HC fanzines mail order in the late eighties, they always came with loads of flyers. One I remember was for a proposed Shoplifters Union, providing financial and legal support for those nicked nicking from shops. Don't know if it ever took off (highly unlikely eh) but it's an interesting idea.

25-05-2005, 04:07 PM
-The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, by Alan Sillitoe, for my then girlfriend - I thought this was kind of apt and she'd be enthralled I did it for her - she considered me a cheapskate

- "The Factory Sampler" double 7" (priced £40) which I then sold to a Joy Division-obsessed friend for a fiver


bloody hell, isn't that utterly impossible to find?

that's awful about the book, my then girlfriend was very pleased with the filched blake

i used to take jeans and things from a bin that was round the corner from a levi's shop....was always ripped obviously but quite picturesquely so

25-05-2005, 04:36 PM
bloody hell, isn't that utterly impossible to find?

that's awful about the book, my then girlfriend was very pleased with the filched blake

Is it? I'm always fucking up like that - I would charged him £10 if I'd known

Yes, you obviously had a more enlightened girlfriend than mine - there is something quite romantic about it isn't there? The risk of arrest, the thrill of the blag - you sort of know Blake would have approved. Whereas "£6.99 please, do you want a bag with that?" is....well the complete opposite of sex really

25-05-2005, 06:03 PM
i've always been pretty fearless & shameless when it comes to filching drinks

i.e., when i'm too brok to go out . . . . then get there and realize i need a few drinks

so people turn their backs or leave drinks unattended, which opportunities i then seize

the only real hazard is unwanted disease, sore throat

back in the pre-smoking ban days, there was the risk of cigarette ash in beer bottles

25-05-2005, 06:20 PM
my other big scam is to go by hostels for all the international visitors to nyc, as they often put out free pizza for their guests

tuck a couple pizzas under my arm, then head for the door

25-05-2005, 07:27 PM
i've already been outed as unsuccessful shoplifta on dis site, so i got no rep to defend,
and cos i have no need to cathartically get nuffin off my chest right now about my prolific other pilfers, i'll keep my own counsel for the mo ;)

28-05-2005, 04:39 PM
i walked out of hmv with a copy of slk's hype hype weeks back , thinking it was quite a heavy record for a 12" i opened it and it turned out to have a fallacy record and 'typical me' by kano in it, which some would be thief had arranged for me,very cool.

i had a mate called nathaniel when i was a kid, still see him around sometimes when i'm at home and he's not in jail.
from an early age he was always a shit criminal. i remember him kicking this pipe in on the way back from junior school and it was full of shit which he got all up his leg.
then next he was taken to the police station nicking a scalextrix while we were in burger king watching later him and some mates broke into fosters thru the roof and he was caught by the cops with his foot stuck in the roof and a load of leather jackets in his hands.
things got worse from there on in and he didn't learn his lesson, he's pretty much a full time petty criminal nowdays and is in and out of jail.

another mate had a party when we were about 18 and his parents were away. nathaniel turned up and stayed the night for some reason, my mate who's party it was made me sleep in the same room as nathaniel as he was worried he would run away with the family silver.
poor nathaniel

28-05-2005, 07:38 PM
Me and my friend Thomas used to Shoplift vinyls in the late '80 using the classic "large overcoat" trick (the first record i shplift beeing "ummagumma" and then "yeti" and "tagomago", since they were double albums.

But my favorite metod was going to house of others collectors or other people... take a couple of records when they were distracted putting those in my bag with mine... never invite me at yours home!

One night at a party of a friend's friend looked at the records of the absent father of the ower of the house. And spot a origina copy of "their satanic majestic request" mint and with the 3d cover. I opend the window and throw it away from the 6th floor, then went out to recollect, it was still intact, and the day after i selled for what, for a little kid,was big money...

29-05-2005, 02:24 AM
hahaha! this a funny funny thread. shoplifters of the world unite and take over!

my only moral problem with stealing: the big shops are open game, but don't steal from friends or even friend's friends. or even mom and pop shops. that is just no good.

all of this is quite a few years ago:

I have this pair of Magic Pants™, it's one of those pairs of early rave techno plastic pants, a shoplifter's dream come true: they feature these pockets on the side which go from almost hip to ankle. incredible. I can fit about 10 CD's from the used bins in each leg. they have the crumpled up baggy look so the bulge doesn't even show. when I was REALLY desperate I used to do this 3/4 times at a shop at a time, pretend I'm going outside to have a smoke or something and going back again and again, coming out with about 50 CD's, which I then sell to another second hand shop for $100 or more.

was banned from a giant independent record shop for years: every CD is in the big hard plastic cases, so I used to do the switcheroo on the price tags. Steve Lacy box set from the 70s? $6.99. Neu! number 1 original pressing? $1.99. Sun Ra Live from 1969 on Get Back? $2.99. god knows I got away with so much because most of the hoodlums working the cash registers were clueless. until one day this girl was on the know. I think it was the Steve Lacy box set. she eyed me funny and scanned the bar-code, called the manager over and I was blacklisted.

when I was about 23 I was doing the Magic Pants™ bit at a big chain, where you have to rip the plastic off to get rid of the beeper activating sticker, and because I was too greedy, after already getting about 20 things I remembered I really wanted a copy of Miles Davis' In A Silent Way... and they got me. said it was the sound of plastic ripping. caught me on a friday afternoon and kept me over the weekend, for 4 days, at the County Jail. serious business the County is. Saw a big tough Latino tattooed gangster sitting in the corner crying like a little girl; a bloody brother with half arm missing being rushed by on stretchers (there's a hospital in the place), and all sorts of fucking CRAZY shit. 4 days seemed like 3 years. not a happy place, prison. highlight was playing mental chess with an inmate... and winning.

but that was pretty much the end of the 5 finger discount...

King Ink
20-06-2005, 06:48 PM
There was this one time when I was of the age of 15 when some friends and I raided a coke machine -But we didn't just steal cokes and leave, we came across the lockless coke machine and then immediately scurried off to a secluded area to discuss plans for the heist. After the brief meeting, we backed an SUV right up to it (it was outside,) opened a back pack and the plundering commenced. We each drank one coke, then, as well I can recall, threw the remaining umpteenth cokes into the placid night sky in unwarranted celebration of adolescence and caffeine.

30-06-2005, 06:24 AM
Whoa. Why did I not see this thread until now?

I use to take things from the terrible Sam Goody chain and a few bookstores. Although they had beepers, I used my brains and figured out that I would just swipe the tags with a large magnet taken from a broken speaker I had. Things would go fine after that. Unfortunately I came back to Sam Goody to take some expensive goods (minidisc players, discman's, etc.,) and eventually a shopper saw me, reported me to the clerks, who reported it to the manager, who reported it to the hired cops in the mall. I had a nice chase and was tackled.

I'm more crafty these days. I'm usually taking C90 cassettes and chain-thift store clothing.

Noah Baby Food
30-06-2005, 03:11 PM
Some very sweet thefts being described here. Big up ya chests!

01-07-2005, 12:40 AM
I would also like to note that Sam Goody's policy at the time was that their employees had to report to their manager about the theft, and the manager him/herself had to see the thief in action before doing anything. Of course, if you did walk off with an item, they also could not stop you once you were outside of the mall.

27-10-2005, 02:59 PM
Blissblog has reminded me of what was historically the most shoplifted item ever......

27-10-2005, 07:13 PM
why is it always Woolworths? (I got caught in Woolworths too btw)

27-10-2005, 08:48 PM
this is the most shoplifted item in britain today - in fact 25% of all these that hit the shelves get stolen.

<img src="http://img.ebigchina.com/cdimg/148803/286109/0/1115783537.jpg">

just think of how often you see them on market stalls - sometimes it's the only item a particular stall will sell.

27-10-2005, 10:43 PM
why is that?

27-10-2005, 10:59 PM
i want to hear gerard on this and also ome. theyve some very very funny stories.

dead tempting to tell everyone else's stories on this thread.

besides stealing records off friends. all "pretend" quasi-theft. quite gutless. the only incident is almost too pathetic to recount. but when did they ever stop me?

in wh smiths in cirencester i doctored the price tag on a rexel handheld tape print machine. remember the ones which issued that plastic sticky strip? i changed a £10 tag to £1. and the woman at the till just went "oh dearie i think the price tag on this has been damaged. let me get you another....."

28-10-2005, 03:14 AM
why is that?

they are small (and therefore easy to steal) and very expensive for what they are - something like £5 for 4 blades. of course they are too expensive and have a high mark up, this is why people steal them (in bulk usually, to sell on on market stalls etc.) but because they are stolen so often that drives the price up further. in many supermarkets now you can't even buy the things off the shelves, you have to take a card with a picture of the item printed on it to the checkout and they give you it once you have paid for it.

ahem, i saw this on TV and don't even (wet) shave. honest!

28-10-2005, 01:59 PM
I was thinking about this recently when woebot said he'd nicked his copy of Art into Pop; Me too! back in the days before Waterstones had ''beepers''.
whats the best/craftiest bit of shoplifing you've done ?
what's the best thing you,ve nicked ?
dont worry i' not a copper!!!


as a teenager in south wales, we used to bunk off school, get the free bus to asdas (put on for the benefit of pensioners - suprisingly no-one ever questioned why some schoolkids were catching it) and then shoplift things like black forest gateau - the height of sophistication for us, anyway. we'd then eat the spoils in a local park. the larger and more ludicrous the item, the more kudos you'd get.

one of my mates nicked a 12" picture disk of michael jackson's "bad" from woolies- dodgy choice, but can't fault the execution.

never did it for money, or financial gain - just the pure arenaline buzz of doing something wrong. in agreement about not nicking from friends or family. having said, i used to nick the odd 10p to buy a single cigarette from the local newsagent when i first started smoking. obviously such days and exploits are long gone now.

28-10-2005, 02:04 PM
i've always been pretty fearless & shameless when it comes to filching drinks

i.e., when i'm too brok to go out . . . . then get there and realize i need a few drinks

so people turn their backs or leave drinks unattended, which opportunities i then seize

the only real hazard is unwanted disease, sore throat

back in the pre-smoking ban days, there was the risk of cigarette ash in beer bottles

god, i remember people doing that. round my neck of the woods it was called SEP (someone elses pint). there would always come a point where somebody would nick the local pyschos drink which could be dangerous. funny how these things are never an issue when you have a proper income!

28-10-2005, 02:15 PM
Once stood guard outside a sport shop in Oxford whilst a scrotty little raver I'd met that day knicked loads of whistles to flog at a big rave we planned to hitch to that evening.

Mind you, I was wearing tennis shoes I'd knicked from my Dad (part of my Blue-Peterish raving costume) and had funded the trip on money lifted from another family member's bank account, so my account is far from clear.

Whistle posseeeee! :)

28-10-2005, 02:18 PM
god, i remember people doing that. round my neck of the woods it was called SEP (someone elses pint).
my midlands corrispondent informs me i'ts known as dreadnoughting in the black country.

30-10-2005, 10:23 AM
my midlands corrispondent informs me i'ts known as dreadnoughting in the black country.

I'm guessing that's related to why we used to call it minesweeping, as in "That's mine, that's mine...etc"

31-10-2005, 02:01 AM
I'm guessing that's related to why we used to call it minesweeping, as in "That's mine, that's mine...etc"

you limeys have 3 nifty names for EVERYTHING don't you? haha... one of my buddies used to do that all the time... after last-call any glass with half or more than half in it would get rounded up and taken care of. as cracklicious as I used to be back in the art-college days, sight of that always made me wince a little bit

07-01-2010, 10:51 PM
locations of ancient woolworths stores follow precise geometrical pattern

matt parker, based in the school of mathematical sciences at queen mary, university of london, has analysed the locations of the 800 woolworths stores to reveal precise geometric patterns. This was based on the work of mr tom brooks (a retired marketing executive of honiton, devon) who found similar patterns in prehistoric monuments across the uk.

Mr brooks looked at 1500 sites and found that some of them follow geometric patterns and he concluded that they must have been part of a sophisticated navigational system. This was reported in the uk national press on 5 january 2010, with the daily mail reporting that the patterns were so “sophisticated and accurate” that “he does not rule out extraterrestrial help.”

matt parker then decided to apply this technique to another ancient and mysterious civilisation: That of the woolworths stores.

“we know so little about the ancient woolworth stores, but we do still know their locations” explains matt parker, “so i thought that if we analysed the sites we could learn more about what life was like in 2008 and how these people went about buying cheap kitchen accessories and discount cds.”

the results revealed an exact and precise geometric placement of the woolworths locations. Three stores around birmingham formed an exact equilateral triangle (wolverhampton, lichfield and birmingham stores) and if the base of the triangle is extended, it forms a 173.8 mile line linking the conwy and luton stores. Despite the 173.8 mile distance involved, the conway woolworths store is only 40 feet off the exact line and the luton site is within 30 feet. All four stores align with an accuracy of 0.05%.

The bisector of this same triangle then passes through the monmouth, west bromwich and alfreton store locations with an accuracy of 0.5%. There are also grids of isosceles triangles – those with two sides of equal length – on each side of the birmingham woolworths triangle. One such isosceles triangle made with stafford only has an error of 3% and it points directly at the northwich woolworths store that is itself only 0.6% off being exactly isosceles.

Matt parker concludes that “these incredibly precise geometric patterns mean that the people who founded the woolworths empire must have used these store locations as a form of ‘landmark satnav’ to help hunters find their nearest source of cheap sweets that can be purchased in whatever mix they chose to pick. Well, that or the fact that in any sufficiently large set of random data it is possible to find meaningless patterns of any required accuracy.”

these patterns were found from the 800 random ex-woolworth locations by simply skipping over the vast majority of the sites and only choosing the few that happen to line-up. Matt parker claims he could find many more such patterns, but he had some actual real work to do. He does envy mr tom brooks though, who with 1500 locations, had almost twice as much data to pull meaningless patterns from.

“it is extremely important to look at how much data people are using to support an argument” matt parker warned. “for example, the case for global warming covers vast amounts of comprehensive evidence, but it is still possible for people to search through the data and find a few isolated examples that appear to show otherwise.”

map showing locations and patterns:

original media coverage of mr tom brooks’ findings:


07-01-2010, 11:24 PM
as a kid messing about i used to nick stuff like party-sized packs of chocolate bars, sets of screwdrivers, just any old shit you can lift from the supermarket without trouble, and i would wear an oversized Chicago Bulls jacket i would specifically borrow for the occasion off a larger mate. (i was a very small, short kid.)

you'd think it was obvious wouldn't you?
i did look more than a bit Keystone, after all, but never had a problem.

the one single time i tried to nick something without wearing my lucky charm (the item was either a baseball cap or pair of trainers from a high-street chain sportswear store, i forget) i myself then obviously got nicked.. :rolleyes:

08-01-2010, 08:04 AM
I once stole an art book from the Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre. Feel bad about it now, DCA is wicked

I used to swap labels on second-hand CDs at a record shop, also in Dundee. This ended when I changed the label on a Nirvana rarities CD from £8 to £3 and the counter guy peeled the £3 label off, gave me a look and said 'someone's put the wrong label on this'

When I was a kid and went to the sweetie shop with my dad I got into a phase of stealing wee items of confectionery. My dad gave me a cautionary lecture about shoplifting (I think the sweetie shop guy must have tipped him off and didn't want to pull me up himself :o)

Lol at the Woolworths story :D

padraig (u.s.)
08-01-2010, 05:30 PM
haven't done it in a long time (& was never really good at it to begin with) but oh good lord so many stories from the punks, I'll see if I can relate a couple of good ones

-so the punks mercilessly nail REI (huge camping chain, fake "co-op", it's essentially the camping gear version of Whole Foods) for all their gear; sleeping bags, packs, etc. b/c it's mostly items too big to conceal there are two ways to do it. one is to nab smaller expensive items, like camping stoves, then return them & use the credit to get what you want. the other is "walkouts"; nonchalantly walking out with items in plain sight, as if you bought them. one dude I know once filled up a backpack with expensive gear, then got like a $3000 dollar road bike and walked out with everything; an employee actually held the door open & said "nice day for a ride". I also know people who walked out with a canoe.

-once at a rural gas station in Maine this girl I was dating stole 6 gallon jugs of Carlo Rossi. 2 at a time, 3 trips one right after the other. in the middle of the day. with us almost certainly sketchiest looking people for 100 miles. I thought the first time was crazy but then she just kept going back.

-a housemate back when I was living in Philly, getting busted at Whole Foods. one of the things he'd taken was a large cookie & when he got nabbed the secret shopper (who was a punk girl! so weak) was like "that's the guy, & that's the cookie" and the cop was all "sir, give me the cookie" and instead dude just crams the whole thing in his mouth. consequently he spent a night in jail, though he gave a fake name so he never had to pay the citation. call it a draw I guess.

-with the same guy, me & him getting materials - lumber & so on - to fix up the squat we were living in from a construction site at, of all places, City Hall

-getting busted once at a health food store in Manhattan. this whole crew of Puerto Rican dudes who worked there manhandled me down to the basement. then instead of calling cops they just beat me up, shook me down for the $3 I had on me and deposited me back on the street with a black eye and a busted lip.

08-01-2010, 11:11 PM
I remember there was a newsagents by my nan's house when I was about 11 where this really dopey woman worked who would often be the only person on duty at the time. If she went around the back or out for a fag you could rob the place blind, no cameras, just those one of those curved mirror things that are useless if nobody's there anyway.

Me and my mate would stand around waiting across the road until she went outside for a smoke and we'd walk in, she'd shout "Be in in a minute, lads." and we'd load up our bags with porn mags that could be sold for a fiver each at our all boys grammar school before buying a chomp bar for 10p or some shite. I never got scared 'cuz she looked so clueless. She left after a while though. I've never stolen anything since. It was more scary flogging the mags at school, we'd hide them around the place so we wouldn't get caught with them, then lead the punters to the stash.