Chances are, retailers in California are not going to look the other way if they see someone shoplifting, even if they are suffering from kleptomania. With statistics showing an 11 percent increase in shoplifting recently, shop owners are itching to take their frustrations out on anyone they see committing a theft. Other shoppers may report shoplifters too, often with the drama playing out all the way into exit and parking areas. Larger stores have skilled security personnel, surveillance systems, and such comprehensive procedures that shoplifters just don’t have a chance.
In some cases, shoplifting is less about what the perpetrator is taking, and more about crying out for help. Often, mental illness is to blame in the form of kleptomania, an impulse control disorder that may often cause individuals to take all sorts of things they don’t even need—without paying. Even though this disorder can have extremely negative repercussions, including arrests and even jail time, many individuals do not want to tell anyone about their condition or seek help due to shame and embarrassment; not only that, if they are suffering from a mental condition, they may not have the organizational skills to figure out how to go about calling a mental health center or seeking a referral.
Are you worried that you or someone you know may be suffering from kleptomania? Here are five signs:
- Overpowering urge to take things from stores (often multiple items, or one thing you may have become fixated on) without paying.
- Increasing excitement, adrenaline flow, leading up to the time of the theft
- Euphoria while in the act of stealing, with deep shame and self-loathing felt later
- A short period of time where urges to steal are quelled after a ‘shopping spree,’ but with temptation returning shortly.
- Strange activities like returning items that were stolen and putting them back in their place in the store or donating them to charity—often still with price-tags on.
Unfortunately, if you are suffering from kleptomania, it may be causing you to do things that cause ill will between close friends and family members—especially if you can’t keep your hands off their possessions and find yourself stealing from them too while over for get-togethers. Most kleptomaniacs have no intention of using what they take; in fact, some of the items may seem ridiculous.
It is extremely important to reach out for help if you worry you may have such a condition. If someone you know needs help, speak to them before they end up in trouble with law enforcement. If you or a loved one have been arrested in connection with a shoplifting event, call Dolan Law Offices for a free initial consultation at 760-775-3739.