Two girls were caught together stealing from a store, and were telling their story in a group class. The first girl shared that it was the first time she tried to steal with a new friend, and they got caught. She explained that she stole because the prom was coming up and she couldn’t afford to buy clothes for the prom.
She knew if she asked her parents they would do all they could to help, but her parents had been arguing over the past few months about finances, to the point of possible divorce. She further explained that the business that her parents owned was failing and would probably close soon. She ended breaking down crying as she finished her story.
The second girl who was caught claimed that she was very proud of the fact that she had been stealing for years, she had stolen for friends, and that most of what she was wearing was stolen. She went on to tell the group that she had been stealing mainly from one store over the years, which was a different store than the one that lead to her getting caught.
She continued saying that she had brought friends to that same store to steal also. She then went on to talk about how brain dead, stupid, etc. etc. the store owners were and how easy it was to steal from them.
The group facilitator asked her if she would ever steal from friends or relatives and she said, “Absolutely not. That wouldn’t be cool.” The facilitator then asked her the name of the store she was speaking of. When she said the name of the store, the first girl yelled, “That’s my parents store and it’s because of YOU that they may be getting divorced and we are losing our house.”
The girl who just told her story became red faced and put her head down and apologized over and over. The girls’ friendship ended that day. All the other kids in the class that day were able to put a face to the human consequences of shoplifting.
A 14-year-old female entered the program on a shoplifting charge. This youth dealt with peer issues in her school and suffered some hearing difficulties and developmental delays. Part of her Reparative Agreement was to participate in a teen nutrition program, which would expose her to a new set of peers in a different community in a well supervised and positive environment. Upon completion of the program, she shared, “I can’t believe that from something bad, something good happened.” She hugged the instructor after the last session of the program.