Service of Unashamed Theft: Are Perpetrators Bolder Than Before?

July 11th, 2019

Categories: Morality, Moxy, Retail, Theft, Transportation

Thievery is as old as time but are robbers bolder these days?

Busing It

I was on a NYC bus last night. The driver had left open a back door to let passengers out while adjusting a ramp allowing access to the front door for an incoming passenger in a wheelchair. There was a patient line waiting behind the wheelchair.

A young woman hopped in the rear door and headed to the back, clearly not walking to the front to pay her fare. The driver saw her, motioned to her to get off, which she did. Two women sitting behind me remarked on the nerve of the sneak who rejoined the line and a friend who was still standing in it. She didn’t seem phased though when another bus pulled up behind ours, she ran to get on.

Spraying It

Last Sunday I saw a well dressed woman in sundress at a chain drugstore on East 34th Street spraying her arms and legs liberally with sunscreen as though she was at the beach. When she was done, she put the used canister back on the shelf and left.

Turnstile Larceny

If you take the subway often enough you’ll see people slip through the turnstiles without paying. I saw a youngster do that a week ago. Whether cheating bus or subway, the public pays the fare.

How come people aren’t embarrassed to steal in public or has it always been so and I didn’t notice? Have you witnessed petty theft lately?

7 Responses to “Service of Unashamed Theft: Are Perpetrators Bolder Than Before?”

  1. ASK Said:

    Did you see the article about the Sephora stores in either the Times or WSJ? Apparently women show up at the stores in the AM to make up their faces with the sample products the chain puts out. They don’t necessarily buy anything; they just do their make up. Sephora is not thrilled with practice, but they don’t want to discourage future, potential sales…one heckuva marketing plan, no?

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Wish I’d seen the articles–would have been a great addition here.

    Were I a Sephora salesperson, I’d put on my biggest smile, approach one of these women and in a loud voice oozing with charm, brimming with enthusiasm and heavy with helpfulness I’d ask her how many bottles of foundation, mascara, lipstick or whatever she was using would she like me to bring to the cashier to help her and lighten her load–as I’d reach for the boxes.

  3. Hank Goldman Said:

    Great topic… You obviously are very observant… In the Sephora incident, I think maybe they encourage that kind of usage?

    I guess my experience was having stupidly left my locker semi-locked at the gym and sure enough I came back to it, and poof, my wallet was gone. This was about a month after I thought I did my good Deed for the week by announcing on the metro north commuter line that someone had left their wallet on the seat and the woman turned around and took it and thanked me! So there’s good and bad. I guess people are taking advantage and getting bolder as well. Again great topic.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Oh gosh, Hank! My heart sinks when I hear about a stolen wallet! The worst. When something like this happens I think nasty thoughts about what might happen to the perpetrator –who at the least could toss the wallet in a mailbox–which is harder to do these days in NYC. Because of theft, [yes–people figured out how to get letters from mailboxes hoping to find cash or checks] there’s only a slit with room for a few letters. Not sure if it’s wide enough to fit a wallet.

    Waiting in line at the Metro North Lost and Found window in the basement of Grand Central Terminal a few years ago the man ahead of me was hoping to find a little fuzzy purse his girlfriend had left behind on the train. The clerk found it and inside was the $300 she’d left in it! There’s hope. And I returned a wallet left on the train to the mother of the man who’d lost it. She brought me a small orchid when she picked up the phone which lived in your window at the 44th Street office.

  5. Lucrezia Said:

    There’s no such thing as shame in a thief’s mentality, or he wouldn’t be stealing. Some steal for entertainment value, as did some well heeled preppies who relieved Brooks Brothers of some of its costly sports jackets, eons ago. Odds are their sons and grandsons are following suit.

    The exceptions are those who steal or starve. This shouldn’t be happening in the so called Land of Milk & Honey. It’s society who should be ashamed.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I wouldn’t have called out someone I thought couldn’t afford the fare or the sun block. I never thought of someone stealing as a game but sure, that is the fun of it for some. A selfish game of course as other customers must make up the difference or as in the case of sun block, pay for a container without its full measure.

  7. Martha Takayama Said:

    Isn’t unashamed theft the modus operandi of our current chief executive,his family, his various and “acting” staff and sychopants? How much longer should we cling to the illusion of traditional respect for the law?

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