Why Do People Steal From Others?

Feb 9, 2012
by: brittneya
clocks. by Hanna Lee` a Youth Voices pool photographer on Flickr.

Recently, I moved on my own, and I've opened my doors to most of my closest friends. I have two roommates, and I love them both dearly. Since we all pay bills in the house, we can't say that another person cannot have company over. Now there are people coming over at different times during the day and spending the night. Sometimes it's fun, but other times it gets REALLY REALLY REALLY annoying.

For example, last night all three of us had company over, and we were just chilling and relaxing. I have been friends with these people for at least four years now, and I trust them to the fullest. However, last night I left a couple of dollars on the couch in the living room. I went to sleep in my big comfy bed in my room. I woke up and my money was GONE!

I asked one of my roommates if he saw my money and he said, "No."

Then I called one of my closest friends who was there last night with his girlfriend, "Did she or you see the money?"

He said, "No."

Then I called my roommate's boyfriend who was also there last night and he said, "The money was on the couch the last time I saw it." He said that he was play-fighting with his girlfriend (which is my other roommate) and that I should check around the couch. I did just that and there was no money to be found!

At this point, I am completely devastated that people close to me and people who I am nice to would even think to do something like this to me! I feel violated on all levels.

I Googled why would people steal from somebody close to them and this really stood out to me in a blog post, "Reasons why some people steal":

People who feel comfortable stealing do so for a couple of reasons; but most of all, it is because their lives are messy. Something, or someone has wronged them and they feel as if they deserve whatever it is they are stealing.

I honestly agree with this statement because I just cannot phantom as to why somebody would take something that belongs to somebody else and be happy with themselves. I wouldn't be able to sleep at night knowing that I have something that doesn't belong to me.


Starr, A. (2007) Reasons why some people steal. Helium, [blog] 9th May, Available at: http://www.helium.com/items/317525-reasons-why-some-people-steal [Accessed: 9th February 2012].


Stealing From Others

bidorl's picture
Submitted by bidorl on Wed, 2012-02-22 23:22.

Dear Brittney,

I enjoyed reading your post “Why Do People Steal From Others,” because the title stood out to me; I also ask my self the same question sometimes. It was a sad story that your friends would do such thing like that. One sentence that stood out to me is “At this point I am completely devastated that people so close to me and people that I am so nice to would even think to do something like this to me.” Because I think that sometimes you shouldn’t trust everybody even though they’re close friends.

Another sentence that I was surprised about was “However , last night i left a couple of dollars on the couch in the living room but i went to sleep in my big comfy bed in my room , i woke up and my money was GONE.” This stood out to me because I didn’t think that friends that are really close to you would steal from you.

Your post reminds me of some friends that have experience the same thing as you. I have heard some of my friends tell me that they were robbed, this relates more to just your title because my friends are robbed by strangers.

Thanks for writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because your titles make me think about things that go on this world but some people don’t notice.

Response to: Why people steal?

Submitted by baetir on Sun, 2012-03-11 14:55.

Dear Brittney,

I liked your post, “Why Do People Steal From Others?” because I agree with your thoughts and ideas. Also I sometimes wonder why certain people tend to do these types of things to others they consider dearly.

One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “However, last night I left a couple of dollars on the couch in the living room.” I chose this sentence because I don’t understand why you would leave money lying around in the first place. I feel as if you got too comfortable and careless, but then again I agree people shouldn’t take what’s theirs in the first place. Personal space is needed even if it’s someone you trust and care about a lot.

Another sentence that I liked from your post was: “At this point, I am completely devastated that people close to me and people who I am nice to would even think to do something like this to me!” I chose this sentence also because I feel like your exaggerating and it can all be a misunderstanding. Also I feel as if you was to put the money in a more secured place then none of this would have happened.

Your post reminds me of something that happened to me. One time I got careless and left five dollars on my school desk and it was gone when I looked for it. I was mad, and confused of who would do this to me, but as time passed I realized I was not careful; which lead to my money being stolen. Now I keep all my money in my pockets or in a safe place from others reach. I have trust with people and bonds, but I'm just being wary of losing my belongings.

Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because I was interested in the things you had to say. Also because it’s obvious you have a lot to say as a writer; who I feel can relate to in many ways. I recommend you to be wary when it comes to your belongings, just like me.

Directly from the horse's mouth..

Submitted by EmilyL on Mon, 2012-08-13 22:14.

This is really embarassing for me to admid, but I steal from my friends. And not until recently have I began to feel really, really guilty about what I do. Perhaps I've conditioned myself to not care because I feel really numb when I steal. And I don't get the "rush" that other people like kleptomaniacs say that they do. I'm just terrified that I am a kleptomaniac.

When I say I conditioned myself it's because I started stealing random things around age 4 or 5 and I can't remember what I stole first. Several instances come to mind like a 5 cent piece of gum from a gas station. I got away with it and my parents never found out.

Once when being babysat by my neighbor's teenage daughters I was left alone in the living room where clothes and makeup and random stuff were lying around on the floor, and into my shorts I hid a bracelet and an orange scrunchie. She had to have been watching me the entire time because the next day she knocked on the door and kindly asked for her things back. Why was she so sweet about it? I remember being embarassed and I have NO idea what provoked me to steal it.

Around that age, I was shopping with my grandmother and my mom at Wal-mart and I ventured into the pool isle by myself and I saw a small package of pool acessories and tucked the package under my shirt. The whole time I had my hand on my shirt holding in against my stomach and I was scared it would fall out before we got out of the store. Later, my parents found them in the pool when we were swimming and things suddenly got tense. They asked me if I stole them and I said yes. I can't remember if I was punished and I don't think I had started kindergarden or first grade yet.

I stole a friend's barbie outfit and hid it in my mom's bathroom. I remember playing with it there before I taking a bath. A few days later my friend's mom called my mom and asked if I had taken it, but I can't remember how that ended.

In first grade we were given small cardboard piggy banks to take home and collect change from family members for the upcoming book fair. My family consisted of my mom, dad, and myself. Sidenote: Living in a trailor with an alcoholic, unemployed father, and a mother who worked and attended college full time meant that pocket change was pretty much scare and also very tightly held onto. God bless my parents, they'd enthusiastically drop in 15 cents here and there. I had no concept of the fact that money was tight, and I wasn't mad that they weren't contributing. But I got really anxious when I'd go to school and hear the other kids say they'd collected 10 and 20 dollars over a period of a week. I stole a 5 dollar bill out of my mom's purse when she wasn't looking and stuffed it in my band. I felt sooo bad after I did it and later I returned it to her, again when she was not looking. I think I saved less than a few dollars and I don't remember what I bought. And I wasn't upset or sad, just embarassed when my friends were standing around comparing what they'd bought.

After this stage of my life, all I can remember stealing was my Pop's green Sharpie marker. And yep, I felt guilty. I was probably 11.

In highschool, I had two different friends that would steal things like lip gloss or shirts from the mall. They would go on stealing sprees and just grab things they could fit in their purse. I started stealing tiny things here and there. Probably no more than one thing a month. We all thought it was okay, because we thought we weren't hurting anyone. I got worse by the time I graduated highschool I would go into dressing rooms and steal panties from big stores in the mall. It was so easy to get away with it. This is the first time in my life I didn't feel bad about the things I stole because I wasn't stealing them from a friend. (Man, I'm a horrible person!)

I started stealing clothes, and I found out that I could get away with it. I thought I was invincible until I was arrested for stealing clothing that I had stuffed into my purse in a dressing room. Talk about devastated?? I was devastated. And I deserved every ounce of it. I plead guilty as a youthful offender and paid a LOT of money that went to only God knows what.

After my amazing friends bailed me out of jail, it was like my mind and my body went into shock and I felt like the worst, most disgusting person on the planet. I haven't stolen anything from a store since then. Sometimes when I'm in a store and I have to reach into my purse to get my phone, I'm afraid someone will think I'm stealing something even though I'm not. 

After that, I started stealing change out of my roomates change jar. I felt bad about it, and i was only doing it because I literally didn't have food, money, or gas after paying rent. I could have easily asked her, "Friend, can I please borrow a few dollars so I can hit up the dollar menu?" And she would have replied, "Yeah sure friend, I gotcha!" And she would have done it with a smile. But I'm extremely non-confrontational and too prideful to ask. Another bad trait of mine.

I have a job, but I live paycheck to paycheck and stretch every dollar. This is NO excuse to steal, but I have stolen money from my boyfriend lately. 

Okay, Im a kleptomaniac and I want to vomit while I'm sitting here typing this. I can't believe I'm admitting this.

Today at my parents house I was putting away a stack of towels and saw a bottle of hair product I wanted to try and I just took it from the bathroom. No one was home, and I wanted to try it. I was standing in my bathroom today and something just snapped. I put the bottle next to the door so I can go return it tomorrow if she leaves the house. That's when I got online and googled the same thing you did, "Why do people steal?" And I can accross this page. My heart was pounding the entire time I read your words and I had sympathy for you, yet at the same time I wondered as to why you'd be so careless and leave your money out on the table. But you expect everyone to be honest because you yourself are honest. I expect everyone to steal my money so I don't leave my stuff lying out. Because I know how easty it is to steal.

You've helped me to want to change even more.

I don't want to do this anymore and I don't want to be this kind of person. Why have I had such low morals?? I'm a hypocrite and a bad Christian and I want to stop. 

I'm proud of anyone who had the patience to read all of this!


God Bless you

Submitted by Anonymous on Fri, 2012-10-05 03:06.

You gave peace to my heart,  because people who I treat as friends return the favor by taking my material things away. I just feel devastated and puzzled. But them I feel blessed just by reading your confession. I takes a lot of guts to say the things that you just did.

I consider my self blessed. because as of this moment I have a great job. But I also know in my mind that this is not the reason for my blessings. The reason for my real blessings is to be alive and being able to enjoy of the people that are close to my heart. That is my real million dollar treasure. To be loved is more valuable than any money or things you can posses. But in order to gain this love, you must give your self away and expect nothing in return. That is how you feel loved.  

Unfortunately Not every person, that steals is like you. You seem to have a concience and many stealers do not have that. You said you live check by check. But you shouln't. You may be blessed beyong reasoning just by sharing very little. with the people that you cherish. and I want to let you know, that there is no need to steal as everything already belongs to you, but at the same time nothing that you ever posses will stay with you forever. Even the body that you have right now must be given back. Once you die you must leave everything behind but know this: you are not a horrible person, in fact you are not even a bad person, you are just trying to make sense in this life, and stealing may be one of your reasoning to cope with the idea.

I recommend you this: Instead of taking things away, replace them by giving out of the things you have. Don't thing the you have to give much, NO you just give what you can, if you can. After you share something, You will start havinng a warm feeling of love in you. Because that is what you are: LOVE. Love is the reason your were created. Otherwise you will not feel the need for love. In other words If you feel that you need to have love, then all of your soul is made out of it, and you need to feed it, because if you don't then you feel empty. And when you are empty, there is nothing to give, you need to take to start feeling the hole. Try to give, and give thanks that you are able to do it. In fact give thanks for everything and God will stay in your heart for ever. No one, But No one will be able to take GOD away from you. I'd give you another advise, Don't ever think of God as a punisher. Nor you ever be afraid of Him. As Love never punishes, Nor it ever takes away. No matter what you beleive, No matter what is your religion, you are a child of GOD. Don't you ever forget that, Nor ever allow any one make you beleive otherwise. God Bless you wherever you are.

Hello!I enjoy your post, I

Submitted by Apolonia on Sun, 2013-03-24 13:38.

Hello!I enjoy your post, I had a friend Mia that once told me that her roommate, Sandy, stole money from her, the house was hers, Sandy, but that doesn't give her a right to steal money, Mia paid her rent and she never used nothing but her own stuff even to watch tv, Mia used her tv; the sad part is that Mia never said anything about it and Sandy kept taking money besides the rent from Mia, until Mia decided to move out. We lived together for 7 years and we never had problems, but she married and bought her own house.

People who steal

Submitted by Older and Wiser on Sat, 2013-03-30 15:06.

Well, I am a middle-aged woman and years ago (I was 30 at the time), when divorcing my ex-husband who was not the most honest or faithful man around, I became involved with a creep, who was also getting a divorce, that I worked with. The creep always wore a JESUS belt buckle, carried a bible and ran to church every week. I didn't really trust him--I had noticed that he became interested in me right after I bought a newer (used) car and I listened to a fat slob "friend" of mine, who kept telling me that this guy was "moral" and "devoted." HA! What a thieving, lying creep he turned out to be! This slob would "borrow" $$ from me and either not pay me back or short-change me all the time. What was really sickening is that he earned over $200 a wk more than I did and he lived rent-free in a house his dad owned. When we broke up, his teen-age son told me that his dad would always tell him to dress up in raggedy, worn-out clothes so I would feel sorry for the pigs and buy them new stuff--like I could afford it, I was paying rent at the time, plus had mortgages from some real estate that I owned with my ex-husband. The creep's kid even bragged to me that his dad was SO proud to have borrowed gas money from me once, to go to a single's meeting at his church to flirt with another woman (I admit I had suspected these things, along with his sudden interest in me when I had bought the car--so I never REALLY trusted the creep). Now, I am permanently disabled and can no longer work. I lost literally hundreds of thousands of dollars by getting involved with a thieving, lying piece of trash phoney. Ladies--trust your gut instinct!

I know how you feel this is a

Submitted by Luke on Mon, 2015-07-06 19:31.

I know how you feel this is a old post, like the one you found, but i had helped a friend out for 9 month while in college, fed him clothed him, and even gave hime over 400 dollars.Then out of nowhere i find out someone stole 200 dollars from my debit card.It turns out it was him, he had left the next day to avoid the topic, what sucks is that what if i did not now it was him, i would press charges and his whole life would be ruined.I really do not care for the money, but the position he placed me in.I mean i could have ruined my friend's life and he would bleame me but it is his fualt.What sucks is he was like, i thought you would stop helping me, making it seem like i was not doing enough.

Just sayin....

Submitted by Lola Candy on Sat, 2015-12-12 20:19.

Hi Brittany!


Loved your post! I just wanted to say that you're not extremely tall. Im a 14 year old female and im 5'7.5'' which is taller than you lol. But I dont think your right about this. People steel because they need to or really want something and just cant afford it.