Shoplifting may not seem like a major offense, but it has the potential to considerably impact a person’s life depending on the severity of the situation. Illinois classifies it as a felony in certain cases (the stolen goods have a combined value of over $300 or the suspect has a prior conviction or used an emergency exit to shoplift).
If you recently discovered your child shoplifts, you may experience worry. Did you know though, that some shoplifters actually take items because of a mental condition called kleptomania? This creates an irresistible urge to steal.
1. The items taken are usually random
Kleptomaniacs steal to relieve an overwhelming compulsion that strikes at random times. The things they take are generally ones they do not need or want or that have little value. Your child may grab small items like a cheap keychain because there is the opportunity to do so rather than any attraction to the object itself. Those afflicted with kleptomania also tend to hoard the stolen items rather than using them.
2. There is a pressure buildup
Your child may experience growing pressure to steal as well as nervousness and excitement right before stealing. Actually taking the item may create a sensation of elation and release.
3. Your child expresses remorse
After the initial rush of relief, your child may feel extreme guilt for the action. Kleptomaniacs do not want the item, they want to ease the pressure inside of them caused by the urge to steal. As a result, they are generally sorry and regret the theft.
If your child suffers from kleptomania, it is not as simple as labeling them a thief. They suffer from an illness and there exists treatment to aid them in mitigating the effects. Kleptomania may also be a possible defense.