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TUCoPS :: Physical Security :: upl011.txt

Shoplifting for Dummies




ΙΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ»
ΜΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΉ
Ί                           United Phone Losers                              Ί
ΜΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΉ
ΜΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΉ
Ί                                                                            Ί
Ί                 ΙΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ»                 Ί
Ί                 Ί      Shoplifting For Dummies v3.0      Ί                 Ί
Ί                 Ί          by Rufus T. Firefly           Ί                 Ί
Ί                 ΘΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΌ                 Ί
Ί                                                                            Ί
ΜΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΉ
ΜΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΉ
Ί   06/25/99                   Issue No.11                File: UPL011.txt   Ί
ΜΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΉ
ΘΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΌ

       ****** NOTE: UPL issues should be viewed in DOS ******


                -----Things I Will Cover In This Issue----
I. INTRO
II. METHODS OF SHOPLIFTING
III. AVOID GETTING BUSTED
IV. CHOOSING A TARGET
V. WHEN TO SHOPLIFT
VI. CAMERAS
VII. TIPS AND TRICKS
VIII. GETTING BUSTED
IX. CLOSING
X. REVISION HISTORY
XI. Disclaimer



INTRODUCTION
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      The dictionary defines shoplifting as stealing goods from shelves or
displays of a retail store while posing as a customer.  The law says shoplifting
is a criminal offense - taking property with the intent of depriving its
rightful owner.  Conviction means a fine, jail or both.  You, on the other hand,
might see it differently.  To you, shoplifting may just be a way to obtain
something you really want but can't (or won't) pay for.  Maybe it's your way of
getting back at a job that pays you dick.  Or maybe it's your only method of
survival.

     In the past several years, just about every type of person you can describe
has been caught shoplifting.  According to the National Retail Federation, at
least one in ten customers have attempted to shoplift.

     The ones who were caught didn't know how to properly go about it.


METHODS OF SHOPLIFTING
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1)   A common tool of the shoplifter is the coat.  Wear the coat normally.  You
can hide stuff under your arm, inside the coat; in the coat's lining, through a
tear in the lining or a pocket; in the coat's sleeve; simply in between the coat
lining and your shirt (making sure the coat has an elastic waist); or simplest
of all, just stuff it in a pocket if it'll fit.  Inside coat pockets are best.
     This works best if the coat is one of those big puffy nylon ski-jackets.
That way, you can basically stuff the hell out of them and it won't show.

2)   Instead of a coat, a flannel shirt, dress shirt, or sweatshirt can be used.
If you can sew, you may want to sew some pockets onto the inside of your shirt
to hide stuff in.  The shirt can also be tied around your waist to hide your
bulging pants pockets.

3)   You carry an empty backpack or shopping bags into the store and fill them
with merchandise.  This is highly effective if done right, and in the right
place.  Backpacks and shopping bags from other stores are normal in malls.
(Just make sure it's a shopping bag from a store that actually exists in the
mall, and not one you can see through.)  Anywhere else, this is highly
conspicuous.

4)   The fitting room tricks described in "Clothing Stores" and "Variety Stores"
below are highly effective if done right.

5)   Men can stuff their shorts.  (Heh.)  Basically you just take an item from a
shelf, and stuff it down the front of your briefs.  (Owch!)  You can wear two
pairs of briefs and hide the merchandise between the two, for a less painful
approach.  (Whew!)

6)   The world famous Big-Box trick.  What you do here is, get hold of a piece
of merchandise that comes in a large box.  (Bigger than a breadbox.  Think TV or
microwave size.  But not too expensive, because you WILL have to pay for it..)
Now, while carrying said box around, looking interested in other items, and
basically blending in as always, surrepititiously open one flap of this box.
Make it a flap on the side facing your body as you hold the box in front of you,
or maybe on the bottom if you're sure that nothing will fall out.  Now what do I
do with this open flap, you ask?  Jeez, do ya have to be told EVERYTHING?  Stuff
it with merchandise.  Most boxed items are packaged with enough extra room in
the box for you to fit a good amount of stolen merchandise in.  Then you just
glue the flap back shut with the tube of Krazy glue you brought with you for
just such an occasion (you DID bring the krazy glue, didn't you??  Oh, didn't I
mention it yet?  Ermmm.. bring Krazy glue,) then go up to the counter and pay
(yes, PAY) for your one item.  You'll be out the price of your one item, but you
will have many free things to go along with it.  Of course, keep your receipt
and you can even return your purchase later and get a refund!  Winner=you.
     Your one big vulnerability here, besides being caught doing the stashing by
a camera or detective, is the counter person.  They still have to take your box
and scan it or whatever at the end.  So make sure you glued it shut well, and
make sure the box doesn't rattle noticeably more than it should.  Otherwise the
employee will know that something is up.  Of course, if the counter people find
out there's more in the box than there should be, relax.  Act completely
surprised, shocked even, and insist you didn't do it.  You only grabbed the box
off the shelf!  Ask if you can get a new item, then buy that one and leave.  Of
course they might have already seen you on camera stuffing the box, but if they
didn't you're free to go.  If they did... well, more on this later.


Female lifters have a few more options.

1)   Carry a large, empty purse or handbag into the store and fill it with
merchandise as you go along.

2)   Wear a long, billowing skirt or dress.  Shove the merchandise under your
dress.  (Stop laughing and hear me out, goddammit!)  Carry it out of the store
held between your thighs.  (It takes practice, but it works.)  You can also hide
merchandise in a pair of shorts worn under your dress.

3)   Baby strollers, diaper bags, even fake babies have been used by shoplifters
to store merchandise.  Concievably, men could do this one too, but that is still
just uncommon enough these days to warrant a little more attention, which you
don't want.

There are countless other ways, these are just a few to get you started.  Use
your imagination!


AVOID GETTING BUSTED
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Stores pay special attention to people who:

 - wear clothes that are out of season, such as a coat or a sweatshirt when it's
   hot out.
You don't want to stand out at all.  If you really need to lift something that
will only fit in your big ski-jacket, you'll just have to wait for a cold day to
do it.  It's really sad that I have to say that, but you'd be surprised at how
many people get busted because they look like damn fools sweating bullets in
their big coats in 80 degree weather.

 - constantly look around, or constantly watch employees.
Try not to be too obvious when scoping out cameras and stuff.  If it's bright
outside, a hat and mirrorshades can do wonders!  Otherwise just use the hat.

 - are not concerned with the price, size or color of selected merchandise.
If you just start pulling random stuff off the shelf, they're gonna know
something is up.  Act like you're considering stuff before you "buy" it.

 - get all jumpy and/or irritable when approached by an employee, or bluntly
   refuse assistance.
It does you no good to get unnecessarily nervous just because an employee is
approaching you.  Remember, you're "just a regular paying customer" as far as
they know.  (Unless they've already caught you on camera or something, but you
don't know that for sure yet.  More on this later.)  You can be polite, and
still get rid of them all the same.
   *RIGHT WAY*
 EMP:  Hi, may I help you?
 YOU:  (polite smile) No, thank you.  I'm just looking.
   *WRONG WAY*
 EMP:  Hi, may I help y-
 YOU:  WAAAAAGGHH!!!
   *WRONG WAY*
 EMP:  Hi, may I-
 YOU:  Listen, man, I'm not goin' to jail for YOU, or ANYBODY!!!
   *WRONG WAY*
 EMP:  Hi-
 YOU:  Here, you can have the CD back!  It's not *my* fault.. I got the idea
       from a text file!!  Go arrest the author, his name is Rufus T. Firefly!!
   *IF YOU MUST CAVE, TRY THIS WAY*
 YOU:  Here, you can have the CD back!  It's not *my* fault.. I got the idea
       from a text file!!  Go arrest the author, his name is Tsutomu Shimomura!!


CHOOSING A TARGET
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     There are many types of stores out there, and some make much easier targets
than others.  This, like most elements of a successful shoplift, is basically a
combination of personal preference and common sense.  These are a few
observations I have made over the years, along with some of my preferences.
This is by no means definitive.  Fill it in with your own experience.  Feel free
to draw your own conclusions, and make your own observations.  After all, every
situation is unique in some way, and you'll have to do a lot of quick thinking
to survive long in this hobby.


 - Clothing stores

     The obvious way to lift from a clothing store is the old "bring 4 things
into the fitting room, bring 3 back out" method.  The only problem with that is
many stores give you a number tag when you go into the fitting room indicating
how many items you brought in.  The solution to this is simple.  Before you take
your clothes into the fitting room, hide things inside of each other.  This
should be done gradually, and out-of-sight.

     Say you need a pair of jeans.  First, wear a baggy pair to the store.
Browse until you find your target pair, and quickly hide them inside a pair the
next bigger size.  Then you grab 3 more pairs of jeans.  (Don't just grab any 3,
though.  This is one of the warning signs security looks for.  Make it look like
you're really considering each pair, turn them around, etc.)  Then you take
these 3 pairs, along with the 1st pair that has your target jeans hidden inside.
If all goes well, the fitting room attendant will see you holding 4 neatly
folded pairs of jeans.  She'll give you a number 4, you go in, put the target
jeans on under the baggy ones you wore (make sure you take as long as it would
really take you to try on all 4 pairs) and then walk back out.  You give the
attendant back the #4, she sees you still have 4 pairs, and you're one pair
ahead.  Smile at the nice lady and walk away.  Just try not to walk too funny.
     * Some attendants will actually take whatever clothes you want to try on
and paw through them first to make sure you're not doing this, so before you
attempt it you may want to try something on normally to see what this particular
attendant does.

     The real issue in clothing stores are those alarm tags or ink tags attached
to everything.  These are a real bitch to get off.  You can bring two pairs of
pliers to the store, and once in the fitting room use one pair on the front part
of the tag and one on the back until it comes apart.  The only drawback is that
this might make noise and attract more attention than you want.  An easier
solution is to steal one of the alarm-tag-remover guns from the register when
nobody's looking, or have a cool friend who works there get you one.


 - Bookstores (Barnes & Noble, Waldenbooks, etc.)

     These are easy, since you're pretty much left alone.  The big self-
contained bookstores make better targets than the mall ones.  Basically you just
take a book (paperbacks are easiest,) go to an empty shadowy aisle, check for
cameras, and if all's well, stash it.
     Be warned, though, there *are* security mechanisms.  Some bookstores use
the same "sensor-in-the-pricetag" as music stores.  So peel off the pricetag.
Also, make sure you check for stickers inside the book's dust-jacket, if it has
one.  Another device I've seen in use in Barnes are magnetic strips inside the
books.  These are long, thin, papery strips hidden between two pages somewhere
in the book, which are de-sensitized at the register if you buy the book.  They
resemble those twist-ties you get with garbage bags, minus that wire in the
middle.  What you have to do is hold the book tightly closed, and look closely
at the area where the pages meet the glue in the spine of the book.  If you see
a tiny gap in the pages, that's where the strip is hidden.  So ditch the strip,
and make sure you don't step on it afterwards.
     That happened to me once.  I had a book shoved in the lining of my jacket
and I set off the alarm on my way out.  Before I had the chance to panic, the
counter-lady asked me to check my shoes - the damn strip was stuck to my boot!
Apparently this happens often.  Counter-ladies can be so helpful.


 - Gift shops (Spencer Gifts, Hallmark, etc.)

     Spencer's, in case you don't know, is a chain of gift shops that reside in
malls across the US.  They sell cheap novelties, toys, cards, posters, costume
jewelry, shirts, and more.  What amazes me about them is how profanely easy it
is to steal from them.  If I were to recommend a training ground for new
shoplifters, this would be it.  The merchandise is haphazardly tossed on the
shelves, in easily openable boxes.  There are usually only one or two employees,
and they're either too stupid to notice you, too busy bullshitting with friends
(either in the store or on the phone,) or just not interested.  More often than
not, they don't even pay attention when you want to legitimately buy something!
     If you use the old mall strategy of bringing in a shopping bag from another
store and just filling it up with shit, you pretty much have it made.  (No
Spencer's I've ever seen uses alarm-tags.)  Careful, though, some of them might
have *a* camera, or those bendy mirrors.  Also, every so often they might have a
smarter employee, but the smart ones usually quit shortly after they discover
how much the job sucks.
     You may have noticed Spencers trying to change their image lately.  Now
they have all sorts of bandy mirrors all over the place, and rumor has it they
have cameras behind some of them.  Be careful..

     Hallmark shops and other gift shops are similar, just not quite as easy.


 - Grocery stores

     These are very easy to steal from (as long as you stay away from the 20-
pound turkeys.)  This is an optimal survival method if you don't know where your
next meal is coming from.  Warning: the beer aisle is *always* watched.  Another
warning: NEVER shoplift glass jars or bottles.  One false move and you've got a
lot of explaining to do, not to mention a possible visit to the emergency room.


 - Big electronics stores (P.C. Richards, the Wiz, Circuit City, etc.)

     These are some of the absolute worst targets.  When you consider the fact
that they deal entirely in small items that cost big money, you don't have to be
a rocket scientist to realize that they have some serious pumped-up security
watching you.  Only the slickest sonsabitches ever successfuly lift from these
places.
     Many a lifter have died this way...


 - Small computer/software stores (Babbage's, Electronics Boutique, etc.)

     If there are any software places to lift from, these are they.  Try to find
one in a mall, and wait until it gets really busy.  (Christmas season is best.)
Since there are usually only one or two workers there, it's not too difficult
for someone with the dexterity to quietly open the bottom of a box that they're
"reading," pocket the disks AND the manuals (you may need the copy protection/
serial numbers to use the program, unless you can get those another way..) and
then quietly place the box, open end first, back onto the shelf.  This can also
be done with mice, joysticks, or whatever.

     Just make sure that before you try *anything,* the worker has seen you and
asked if he/she can help you, so you can smile, politely decline, and claim to
be "just looking."  This will make him or her feel *much* more at ease with you
than if you just walk right past them and start poking around in the back.


 - Music stores (Tower Records, Sam Goody's, Music Land, etc.)

     Security in these places can be tight, but only because they get ripped off
so often.  Security is tightest in the bigger stores like Tower Records.
     Speaking of Tower, here's a sneaky-ass thing they do when they bust you
there.  First they see you on camera starting to open that tape\disc\whatever.
Then, really quick-like, the send a store detective down to sneak up behind you
and TAKE A POLAROID OF YOU STEALING THE ITEM.  No shit.  I watched them do this
to some poor schmuck.  This is why I don't steal anything from there except the
small paperback books and mags, which they don't seem to watch as well.

     Mall music stores are generally difficult, although sometimes it's
hilarious.  A Sam Goody's in the local mall has a group of extremely stupid
plainclothes store detectives they use.  They kind of blow their cover when 1)
you leave and come back a couple hours later, like after a movie, and the same
guy is standing around "browsing" and 2) the 40-something year old man in the
suit and tie is idly flipping through the Marilyn Manson discs while the guy
with the nose-ring and the purple hair is apparently reading the back of "The
Best of Manilow."
     Watch out for detectives, watch out for alarm sensors embedded in the price
tags and plastic CD frames, and watch out for cameras.  These stores fall into
the "difficult, but not impossible for the experienced lifter" category.  Still,
you're pretty much better off getting your music from other sources.  (Read on.)


 - Wholesale "club" stores (Price Club, BJ's, Sams, etc.)

     We've all seen these by now.  They're basically ridiculously huge stores
that sell stuff in ridiculously huge quantities for less than it would cost for
that much in a regular store. ("29.95!!  Why, that's a GREAT price for fifty
pounds of paprika!!") The great thing is, since you're in a really big warehouse
filled with really big boxes and really big containers stacked in really big
piles, it's really easy to swipe something small out of a really big box while
behind another really big box which is blocking you from view of the teeny tiny
camera waaaay the hell up there on the ceiling.  The BJ's near me just started
keeping the computer software in locked displays (bummer) but there's still
plenty of other stuff just laying out there.  This is also a good source of
books, batteries, office supplies, music, over-the-counter drugs (no counter!),
any food you need, and basically anything else.  The only drawbacks are 1) these
are usually full of people and 2) you need to get a membership card to get in.
Or, you can go with someone who has a card.

     I forgot my card once (really) and got in by nonchalantly walking in right
behind some lady who had hers, acting for all the world like I was with her, and
smiling at the card-checker-guy.  She didn't notice.  Of course, you still can't
really buy stuff without your own card, apart from food at the fast-food counter
and snack machines they might have in there, unless you really are with someone.


 - Toy stores (Kay-Bee, Toys R Us, etc.)

     These can be fun, if a little limited.  Toys R Us keeps almost everything
that's worth it (electronics, computer/video game software) in the pickup booth
in the front, but if you're into toys, they are ridiculously easy.  A few years
ago I was heavy into action figures, and it's so easy to just crack open a
package and shove one into your pocket that it's stupid.  I still grab one every
now and then for the top of my monitor.  (Latest addition: Plastic Jeff Goldblum
from "The Lost World."  Heh.)  If you're into bikes, the bike accessory section
can be useful.  Free inner-tubes for life!  Batteries are also easy.  Missing
the little metal shoe from your Monopoly set?  Get yourself a shiny new one.

     Many toy stores, especially smaller ones, also have a large selection of
"bargain" items out in racks.  Items like slightly dated computer software, used
video games, etc..

     The big-box trick described above works very well here.  Just grab a $20.00
Fisher-Price toy stove.  The box is roomy enough to hold plenty of extras.  I
once worked at Toys R Us, and there was aways buzz about someone being caught
doing the box trick at least once a week.

     Here's a tidbit; an inventory guy at Toys R Us once told me that every
single day, there is $500 worth of merchandise lifted from them.  It's expected!



 - "Variety" stores (Target, K-mart, Wal-mart, Mart-mart, etc.)

     These are some of my favorite targets (no pun intended.)  They have lots of
good stuff, ripe for the picking.  Their security can seem tough to beat at
first, but once you get the hang of it it's the easiest thing in the world.  You
basically just have to be aware of every camera in the place. (See "Cameras,"
below.)  Most of these stores also employ plainclothes detectives, so watch out
for those.

     The fitting rooms in these stores can be *extremely* useful.  Not only can
you pull the fitting room trick described in "Clothing Stores" above, but you
can sneak other merchandise into a garment from the shelf and then transfer it
into your own pockets once inside.  Also, the clothing in these stores is hardly
ever tagged with those annoying alarm sensors.

     The music section can prove fruitful if you remember one thing; NEVER STEAL
THERE!!!  Music and electronics are the most heavily watched areas of the store.
Solution?  Find a CD you like, bring it to a dark shadowy aisle far away from
music or electronics, and then cut the plastic frame off with your handy-dandy
pocket knife.  Or, you can use the afro-pick method.
     What's the afro-pick method, you ask?  Well fine, tough guy, I'll tell you.
First buy any cheap CD (yes, BUY) but don't pay for it in the music department.
Pay at the regular registers.  That way you also get to take home the plastic
security frame.  Now, once you're home, get one of those long-tooth combs
commonly known as an "afro-pick," and start playing with it.  It shouldn't take
you too long to figure out which teeth to cut off the pick so that the remaining
teeth fit nicely into those key-holes in the frame.  Try it out.  With a little
luck, you now have a working key you can bring on your next shopping expedition.

     Some, but not all, of these stores have the music section set up so you
*have* to pay for anything from there in that section, so you won't be able to
do any of this.  Or, the regular registers might snap the frame off for you as
well.  In this case, if you still want one of their CD frames to play with,
check the trash out back.  There are always a few broken ones, with the locks
intact.


 - Small businesses ("Mom-and-Pop" type places, privately owned)

Let's get one thing straight.  Big companies like K-mart can take millions in
losses thanks to people like me, but if you steal from some guy's family
business, you could be hurting him, his family, and so forth.  That is not very
cool.. UNLESS of course you have a reason to want revenge on a particular store
owner.  But.. I'll save that bit in case I ever write a revenge file.


WHEN TO SHOPLIFT
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Part common sense, part personal preference.  Listed below are some time frames
in which to work, along with a few pros and cons.  Again, this is nothing
definitive.  Use your own judgment, and stay alert.

 TIME FRAME      | PROS                         | CONS
-----------------|------------------------------|-------------------------------
 Early Bird      | Employees are usually busy   | You never want to be the only
 (when the place | with opening bullshit. They  | customer in the place.  Don't
 is first open-  | usually aren't as alert first| go unless there are *some*
 ing)            | thing in the morning. Also   | other shoppers around. Also,
                 | not as many customers around,| some workers may actually be
                 | lessening chances of being   | *more* alert in the morning.
                 | caught by "Good Samaritans." |
-----------------|------------------------------|-------------------------------
 Lunchtime (from | Partial staff means less eyes| Possibility of getting caught
 about 11:30 to  | on you. Employees who haven't| in the act by employees who're
 1PM)            | gone yet will be too busy    | walking to or from their
       also      | counting the minutes to      | posts is much higher.
                 | notice much.  (This goes     |
 Shift Changes   | triple for the smokers!)     |
-----------------|------------------------------|-------------------------------
 Last minute,    | Combined pros of both of the | Combined cons of both of the
 just before     | above.                       | above.
 closing         |                              |
-----------------|------------------------------|-------------------------------
 Busy times, when| Employees and customers are  | Security monitors are watched
 the store is    | occupied & less likely to    | more carefully if the place is
 full            | catch you.  The bigger the   | doing a lot of business.  Be
                 | crowd, the easier to "blend  | *very* aware of any cameras.
                 | in."                         |
-----------------|------------------------------|-------------------------------
 Late November   | Fear nothing!  Stores are    | Not the most comfortable time
    through      | packed, people are tired,    | for religious lifters. (Heh..)
     December 25 | employees are overworked, in | Cameras are watched much more
                 | fact, many are just seasonal | carefully.
                 | help who won't be as sharp.. |


CAMERAS
~~~~~~~
     Picture this.  You grab something, find an aisle with no people, and stash
it.  All seems to be going well.  But then when you try to leave, there's the
entire cast of NYPD Blew waiting just outside the door for you!  "How ever did
they know?" you ask yourself as they cuff you and chuck you in the back seat of
a nice car with pretty lights.
     You meathead.  Stores are full of cameras these days.  But fortunately,
they're easy enough to beat if you remember one simple thing...  If you can see
the camera, it can see you.  So if *you* can't see *them*... You figure it out.

     Very rarely do you find a store that has every inch of the place on camera.
So what you do is find a spot that isn't.  Usually it'll be an aisle with big &
bulky items or just uninteresting ones.  Common ones in K-mart-type stores are
the luggage aisle, the garden-tools setion ("Hey, that's a rake in your coat!")
and the sporting goods or exercise-machine sections.  Find a safe zone in your
store before trying anything.
     Cameras are taking all sorts of shapes nowadays.  Often they'll just be
cameras, easily identifiable as such.  But if you don't immediately see any
cameras in a place, consider the possibility that they might be hidden.  And a
few stores have gotten sneaky and started using obvious *and* hidden cameras.
     Where might you find them hidden, says you?  You may find them behind
mirrors, speaker-grills, or even exit signs.  My K-mart hides theirs in shiny,
dark, half-spheres in the ceiling.  A few clothing stores which have walls lined
with mirrors have cameras right behind some of the mirrors.  Use your brain and
look for anything a camera may be able to see from behind.


TIPS AND TRICKS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     - Whenever you can, take whatever it is you're lifting out of the box or
package first.  This will get rid of just about any security tags they could
possibly stick on the thing, as well as reducing the size of the object(s) you
have to stash.  Ditch obviously empty packages (such as clear plastic blister-
packs) behind other merchandise (or throw it away in the trash-can aisle.)
Re-closable boxes (like software) can be placed back on the shelf, preferably
behind or under full ones.  This'll mean a longer time before anyone notices
anything missing.
     - Bring a cutting implement with you, such as an X-acto knife blade (the
old standby.)  You can then open any side of a box with ease, or make
undetectable cuts in the shrink-wrap around a flap so you can open a box
unnoticed.  (Works great on software!)
     - No matter how tempting it may be, *don't* use the bathroom as a place to
stash shit.  This has basically been done to death over the years, as it is now
one of the major warning signs security looks for.  People who enter and exit
the bathrooms are almost always on camera, and security looks for any difference
between what you were carrying before and after you used the bathroom.  One
exception -- you may want to steal their toilet paper if you're out of it.  A
friend of mine hasn't bought one single roll yet, and she's had her own place
for about nine years.  She lives next door to a very confused McDonalds.
     - This is one of the big ones.  If at all possible, after you've shoved
whatever wherever, and you're sure you weren't caught, and the merchandise can't
be easily seen (Hey, you didn't have that Hibachi-shaped bump in your pants
BEFORE you came in here!!!), *actually buy something.*  Nothing raises suspicion
more than someone spending all kinds of time in a store, and then just heading
toward the exit instead of the register.  Get a magazine or something cheap like
that.  Not too cheap, try to spend at least five bucks.  As air-headed as this
may sound, *no* store expects a paying customer to also be a shoplifter.  Every
employee training manual I've ever seen affirms that "one of a shoplifter's
goals is to enter and exit the store unnoticed (absence of service.)"  So get
service!  After all, you're just a paying customer, right?  Riiiight!


GETTING BUSTED
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     If you plan on taking more than a passing interest in this particular
hobby, you should be prepared for the inevitable.  It happens to just about
every shoplifter eventually, and it can mean you're fucked.  But not if you know
how to handle it right.

     First, I'll let you know some of the possible consequences of your actions.
     (This applies to the United States.  For info on the laws
      in other countries you will have to check for yourself.)

     If you're a minor (usually under 18, but in some states it's under *16*):
     - You won't go to jail, but you *might* end up in Juvenile hall if you
       already have a substantial record.
     - You can and probably will get fined
     - You can and probably will get community service.
     - You can and probably will get probation.
     - Your parents will be called.
     - It will go on your *juvenile* police record, which gets sealed when you
       reach adult age and can never be opened again for any reason until after
       your death.
     * If it's your first bust there, and you didn't lift more than, say, five
       or ten bucks worth, and they're in a good mood, then they might actually
       let you off with a warning.  Especially if you're all apologetic and
       crying.  But *don't* count on it.

     If you're a legal adult (18 and over, 16 and over in some states)
     - Shit, you're a criminal.  This definitely means a fine and/or jail time.
     - It also goes on your permanent police record.  Usually a misdemeanor
       (petit larceny,) provided you didn't go and swipe hundreds of bucks worth
       of shit at once.
     - You may get arrested and hauled away on the spot, or you may just get a
       court summons, meaning you have to show up for court on whatever date or
       a warrant goes out on your ass.
     - Your parents may still be called (especially if you still live with them
       and/or you're still in your teens.)

     So how do you avoid this, you ask?  Simple.  Store employees, even security
dudes, are never quite sure of your sanity before they approach you.  You could
be a cmplete and total violent psychopath for all they know.  So be one.  If you
are approached by security, go totally fucking pissing shitting crazy.  Foaming
at the mouth is optional.  Scream incoherently and throw the merchandise
DIRECTLY at their face(s).  Then RUN LIKE FUCKING HELL.  If you do all this
quickly enough, they won't know what hit them for an extra few seconds, giving
you that much more of a head start in the event they actually chase after your
ass.  You'll probably be scared shitless, especially if it's your first bust, so
*use* that.  You'll run much faster when you're pumped on adrenaline.  And stay
out of that store for at least a few months, at least not during that shift.
This is the *only* way to save your ass, unles you've got one of OJ's lawyers.
Remember, the first responsibility of store employees and security dudes is to
get their merchandise back *while ensuring their own safety.*  Actually catching
you and sending you up shit's creek is only the second.  Not very many security
or asset protection guys are going to risk getting killed by some psycho (you,)
especially if they've got their goods back anyway.  Forget everything you may
have heard about talking your way out of it, etc.. this is the ONLY foolproof
escape method.

     In case you *do* get chased, you should have an escape route planned.  Run
through alleys, woods, even backyards, whatever will be most difficult to follow
you through.
     If your car is in their parking lot, leave it.  You can come back later,
preferably a couple hours later, dressed completely differently, and pick up
your car unnoticed.  You don't want to just run back to your car and peel out
since some places have the parking lot on video, and every parking lot has
bystanders.  You don't want your car described (or taped) and possibly the plate
read.  (If you just run off, they'll assume you didn't drive there in the first
place and so won't bother going through any tapes to see which car you came out
of.)

     If you get busted in a mall, you'll need a bit more planning to save you.
Before you go into any mall store for the purpose of ripping them off, make a
mental note of the nearest "big" store.  By "big" I mean a store like Macy's, JC
Penney's, or Stern's that has its *own* doors leading outside, not the mall
entrance.  This way if you get busted, you can haul ass into this store and
leave the mall that way.  Mall security is generally a bit slow to communicate
with the actual stores, they just watch the halls.  So if you can haul ass out
of your target store, through a big store (which they won't expect, they'll
expect you to go for the main entrance), and off mall property fast enough,
you're home free.  Of course, if the store you're running from is right near
the main mall doors and nowhere near Macy's, then hell, go for 'em.
     If you turn and see mall security exit through your same doors and start
looking around for you, head for a full area of the parking lot (without people,
just cars) and hide under a car for a while.  This has saved my ass a few times.
Security wouldn't think you're dumb enough to do that, so you'll be fine.  Only
once was I still under a car when the family came back, so I rolled out from
under holding up a shiny quarter, smiled at the poor confused dad, and said
"Found it."  Then I walked off and caught a bus out of there.


     If you do get busted and stay busted, the police will be called, and you'll
be "peacefully detained" until they arrive.  "Peacefully detained" means they
just yell at you a lot, demand to know who you were working with, threaten you,
and remind you of all the horrible shit that's going to happen to you.  Then
you're in for whichever of the above lists applies to you, plus possibly more.
Check your local laws.

     Just remember, the employees and the security dudes have *no* legal right
to search you, or even touch you.  What they count on is people being scared of
them.  Only the real police can legally search you and/or kick your sorry ass.
So you don't wanna be there when the real cops arrive, because that's the point
at which you are officially fucked.


     Well, that about wraps up this file.  I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you
learned a few things.  I'm more or less retired from this sport these days, but
I'm always looking for new ideas.  If you'd like to get in touch with me and
possibly contribute to a future edition, if you have any questions, or if you'd
just like to arrest me, email me at the below address.

Good luck!

 -- RTF                          Previous Releases:    07/97, 04/98, 06/99
r_t_f@hotmail.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Revision history:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
v. 1.0 - initial release on various BBS's, most notably Temple of the Screaming
         Electron, under the name Wolf J. Flywheel (my old handle) - 07/97
v. 1.5 - minor updates made, very limited release amongst pals - 04/98
v. 2.0 - more updates, method or two added, released to the Internet - 06/99
v. 3.0 - Becomes an official UPL issue, thereby taking on a new format and
         being released on the United Phone Losers web site.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Feel free to pass this around, archive it, zine it, or whatever, as long as it
stays intact.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                              
DISCLAIMER
~~~~~~~~~~
This is for inflammational porpoises only.  The author isn't responsible for
the actions of anyone but himself, and even some of those are debatable.

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