¥ On the Job
¥ Credit Cards
Steal Now, Pay Never
This section presents some general guidelines on thievery to put you ahead of the impulse swiping. With some planning ahead, practice and a little nerve, you can pick up on some terrific bargains. Being a successful shoplifter requires the development of an outlaw mentality. When you enter a store you should already have cased the joint so don’t browse around examining all sorts of items, staring over your shoulder and generally appearing like you’re about to snatch something and are afraid of getting caught. Enter, having a good idea of what you want and where it’s located. Camouflage is important. Be sure you dress the part by looking like an average customer. If you are going to rip-off expensive stores (why settle for less), act like you have a chauffeur driven car double parked around the corner. A good rule is dress in the style and price range of the clothes, etc., you are about to shoplift. The reason we recommend the more expensive stores is that they tend to have less security guards, relying instead on mechanical methods or more usually on just the sales people. Many salespeople are uptight about carrying out a bust if they catch you. A large number are thieves themselves, in fact one good way to steal is simply explain to the salesclerk that you’re broke and ask if you can take something without paying. It’s a great way to radicalize shop personnel by rapping to them about why they shouldn’t give a shit if the boss gets ripped off. The best time to work out is on a rainy, cold day during a busy shopping season. Christmas holiday is a shoplifter’s paradise. In these periods you can wear heavy overcoats or loose raincoats without attracting suspicion. The crowds of shoppers will keep the nosy “can-I-help-you’s” from fucking up your style. Since you have already checked out the store before hitting it, you’ll know the store’s “blind-spots” where you can be busy without being observed too easily. Dressing rooms, blind alley aisles and washrooms are some good spots. Know where the cashier’s counter is located, where the exits to the street and storage rooms are to be found, and most important, the type of security system in use. If you are going to snatch in the dressing room, be sure to carry more than one item in with you. Don’t leave tell-tale empty hangers behind. Take them out and ditch them in the aisles. An increasingly popular method of security is a small shoplifting plastic detector attached to the price tag. It says “Do Not Remove” and if you do, it electronically triggers an alarm in the store. If you try to make it out the door, it also trips the alarm system. When a customer buys the item, the cashier removes the detector with a special deactivation machine. When you enter the store, notice if the door is rigged with electronic eyes. They are often at the waist level, which means if the item is strapped to your calf or tucked under your hat, you can walk out without a peep from the alarm. If you trigger the alarm either inside the store or at the threshold, just dash off lickety-split. The electronic eyes are often disguised as part of the decor. By checking to see what the cashier does with merchandise bought, you can be sure if the store is rigged. Other methods are undercover pigs that look like shoppers, one-way mirrors and remote control television cameras. Undercover pigs are expensive so stores are usually understaffed. Just watch out (without appearing to watch out) that no one observes you in action. As to mirrors and cameras there are always blind spots in a store created when displays are moved around, counters shifted, and boxes piled in the aisles. Mirrors and cameras are rarely adjusted to fit these changes. Don’t get turned off by this security jazz. The percentage of stores that have sophisticated security systems such as those described is very small. If you work out at lunch time, the security guards and many of the sales personnel will be out of the store. Just before closing is also good, because the clerks are concentrating on going home. By taking only one or two items, you can prevent a bust if caught by just acting like a dizzy klepto socialite getting kicks or use the “Oh-gee-I-forgot-to-pay” routine. Stores don’t want to hassle going into court to press charges, so they usually let you go after you return the stuff. If you thought ahead, you’ll have some cash ready to pay for the items you’ve pocketed, if caught. Leave your I.D. and phone book at home before going shopping. People rarely go to jail for shoplifting, most if caught never even see a real cop. Just lie like a fucker and the most you’ll get is a lecture on law and order and a warning not to come back to that store or else.
The lining of a bulky overcoat or loose raincoat can be elaborately outfitted with a variety of custom-made large pockets. The openings to these pockets are not visible since they are inside the coat. The outside pockets can be torn out leaving only the opening or slit. Thus you can reach your hand (at counter level) through the slit in your coat and drop objects into the secret pockets sewn into the lining. Pants can also be rigged with secret pockets. The idea is to let your fingers do the walking through the slit in your coat, while the rest of the body remains the casual browser. You’ll be amazed at how much you can tuck away without any noticeable bulge. Another method is to use a hidden belt attached to the inside of your coat or pants. The belt is specially designed with hooks or clothespins to which items can be discretely attached. Ditching items into hidden pockets requires a little cunning. You should practice before a mirror until you get good at it. A good idea is to work with a partner. Dig this neat duet. A man and woman walk into a store together looking like a respectable husband and wife. The man purchases a good belt or shirt and engages the salesman in some distracting conversation as he rings up the sale. Meanwhile, back in the aisle, “wife” is busy rolling up two or three suits. Start from the bottom while they are still on the rack and roll them up, pants and jackets together, the way you would roll a sleeping bag. The sleeves are tied around the roll making a neat little bundle. The bundle is then tucked between your thighs. The whole operation takes about a minute and with some practice you can walk for hours with a good size bundle between your legs and not appear like you just shit in your pants. Try this with a coat on in front of a mirror and see how good you get at it. Another team method is for one or more partners to distract the sales clerks while the other stuffs. There are all sorts of theater skits possible. One person can act drunk or better still appear to be having an epileptic fit. Two people can start a fight with each other. There are loads of ways, just remember how they do it in the next spy movie you see. One of the best gimmicks around is the packaging technique. Once you have the target item in hand, head for the fitting room or other secluded spot. Take out a large piece of gift wrapping and ribbon. Quickly wrap up the item so it will look like you brought it in with you. Many stores have their own bags and staple the cash register receipt to the top of the bag when you make a purchase. Get a number of these bags by saving them if you make a purchase or dropping around to the receiving department with a request for some bags for your Christmas play or something. Next collect some sales receipts, usually from the sidewalk or trash cans in front of the store. Buy or rip-off a small pocket stapler for less than a dollar. When you get the item you want, drop it in the bag and staple it closed, remembering to attach the receipt. This is an absolutely perfect method and takes just a few seconds. It eliminates a lot of unsightly bulges in your coat and is good for warm-weather heisting. A dummy shopping bag can be rigged with a bit of ingenuity. The idea is to make it look like the bag is full when there’s still lots of room left. Use strips of cardboard taped to the inside of the bag to give it some body. Remember to carry it like it’s filled with items, not air. Professional heisters often use a “booster box,” usually a neatly wrapped empty package with one end that opens upon touch. This is ideal for electrical appliances, jewelry, and even heavy items such as portable television sets. The trick side can be fitted with a spring door so once the toaster is inside the door slams shut. Don’t wear a black hat and cape and go around waving a wand yelling “Abracadabra,” just be your usual shlep shopper self. If you can manage it, the trick side just can be an opening without a trick door. Just carry the booster box with the open side pressed against your body. Briefcases, suitcases and other types of carrying devices can all be made to hold items. Once you have something neatly tucked away in a bag or box, it’s pretty hard to prove you didn’t come in with it.
ON THE JOB
By far the easiest and most productive method of stealing is on the job. Wages paid to delivery boys, sales clerks, shippers, cashiers and the like are so insulting that stealing really is a way of maintaining self-respect. If you are set on stealing the store dry when you apply for the job, begin with your best foot forward. Make what employment agencies call a “good appearance.” Exude cleanliness, Godliness, sobriety and all the other WASPy virtues third grade teachers insist upon. Building up a good front will eliminate suspicion when things are “missing.”Mail clerks and delivery boys can work all sorts of neat tricks. When things get a little slow, type up some labels addressed to yourself or to close friends and play Santa Claus. Wrap yourself a few packages or take one that is supposed to go to a customer and put your label over theirs. Blame it on the post office or on the fact that “things get messed up `cause of all the bureaucracy.” It’s great to be the one to verbalize the boss’s own general feelings before he does when something goes awry. The best on-the-job crooks always end up getting promoted. Cashiers and sales persons who have access to money can pick up a little pocket change without too much effort, no matter how closely they are watched by supervisors. Women can make use of torn hems to stash coins and bills. Men can utilize cuffs. Both can use shoes and don’t forget those secret little pockets you learned about in the last section. If you ring up items on a cash register, you can easily mistake $1.39 for 39¢ or $1.98 for 98¢ during the course of a hectic day. Leave pennies on the top shelf of the cash register and move one to the far right side every time you skip a dollar. That way at the end of the day, you’ll know how much to pocket and won’t have to constantly be stuffing, stuffing, stuffing. If you pick up trash or clean up, you can stick all sorts of items into wastebaskets and later sneak them out of the store. There are many ways of working heists with partners who pose as customers. See the sections on free food and clothing for these. There are also ways of working partnerships on the job. A cashier at a movie theater and a doorman can work out a system where the doorman collects the tickets and returns them to the cashier to sell again. A neat way to make a large haul is to get a job through an agency as a domestic for some rich slob. You should use a phony identification when you sign up at the agency. Once you are busy dusting the town house, check around for anything valuable to be taken home. Pick up the phone, order all sorts of merchandise, and have it delivered. A friend with a U-haul can help you really clean up.
Any discussion of shoplifting and forgeries inevitably leads to a rap on credit cards; those little shiny plastic wonder passes to fantasy land that are rendering cash obsolete. There are many ways to land a free credit card. You can get one yourself if your credit is good, or from a friend: report it stolen and go on a binge around town. Sign your name a little funny. Super underworld types might know where you can purchase a card that’s not too hot on the black market. You might heist one at a fashionable party or restaurant. If you’re a hat check girl at a night club, don’t forget to check out pockets and handbags for plastic goodies.*Finally, you can redo a legitimate card with a new number and signature and be sure that it’s on no one’s “hot list.” Begin by removing the ink on the raised letters with any polyester resin cleaner. Next, the plastic card should be held against a flat iron until the raised identification number is melted. You can use a razor blade to shave off rough spots. This combination of razor blade and hot iron, when worked skillfully, will produce a perfect blank card. When the card is smooth as new, reheat it using the flat iron and press an addressograph plate into the soft plastic. The ink can be replaced by matching the original at any stationary store. If this is too hard, you can buy machines to make your own credit cards, which are made for small department stores. Granted, this method is going require some expertise, but once you’ve learned to successfully forge a credit card, buy every item imaginable, eat fancy meals, and even get real money from a bank.*The absolute best method is to have an accomplice working in the post office rip off the new cards that are mailed out. They get to know quickly which envelopes contain new credit cards. Since the person never receives the card it never dawns on them to report it stolen. This gives you at least a solid month of carefree spending and your signature will be perfect. Whether your credit card is stolen, borrowed or forged, you still have to follow some guidelines to get away without any hassle. Know the store’s checking method before you pass the hot card. Most stores have a fifty-dollar limit where they only call upstairs on items costing fifty dollars or more. In some stores it’s less. Some places have a Regiscope system that takes your picture with each purchase. You should always carry at least one piece of back-up identification to use with the phony card as the clerk might get suspicious if you don’t have any other ID. They can check out a “hot list” that the credit card companies send out monthly, so if you’re uptight about anything watch the clerk’s movements at all times. If things get tight, just split real quick. Often, even if a clerk or boss thinks it’s a phony, they’ll OK the sale anyway since the credit card companies make good to the stores on all purchases; legit or otherwise. Similarly, the insurance companies make good to the credit companies and so on until you get to a little group of hard working elves in the basement of the U.S. Mint who do nothing but print free money and lie to everybody about there being tons of gold at Fort Knox to back up their own little forging operation.