First Published in The Idiot Magazine, 2002
With the state of the economy as it is and gas prices at an all time high the majority of Americans stand a lot to gain from resorting to theft. Whether you are a gentlemen thief, out for a weekend thrill, or a regular back-alley-cigarette-smoking variety, is aside from the point. You need not know the virtues of Spinoza’s oneness, or Descartes’ mind-body dualism, just dress well.
Too many thieves are dressed like they toured every tavern in the county before noon; they’re unshaven, their hair’s raveled. These are typically state released, downtrodden men, who have given their lives over to one form of malfeasance or another. They are guaranteed to live out an ephemeral career. I once interviewed a guy like this out of curiosity. He came to realize he was approaching the theft business all wrong. From then on, he got his act together and dresses like Rich “Uncle” Pennybags from Monopoly when doing a job, and now lives in the suburbs with three cars and a George Foreman grill. I see him every once in a while. We lounge around his pool and talk shop. He stole the pool. It was his biggest job yet. He told me that if he hadn’t been dressed nicely, the owners never would’ve believed he was the FBI.
The general attitude of a theft should be thought of as Tim Gunn entering a Michael Kor’s workshop. I only wear nice black Oxford dress shoes, a matching belt, pressed slacks – usually navy or khaki – and a nice button-up shirt. Short sleeve, long sleeve? It doesn’t really matter – dress for the weather. You don’t want to be too hot, or too cold, it’ll throw off your timing. The more you look like Sinatra the more you’re likely to slide away with class. And, the ladies love it. Often times, they’ll be quite aware that you’re robbing them, but they’ll let it go based on your appearance.
At the Supermarket, don’t even take a cart. You’ve got the fruit and vegetable section, usually right together. When some meddlesome employee sees me eating from the open display I assure him I’ll be weighed in up front. Works every time.
If you need jewelry, no problem. Just go to the jewelry store, usually at a mall, and ask to try on as much as you can fit; rings, necklaces, watches. You’ll look like a Mr. T starter kit. Then tell them you need to see it in the day-light. They might yell a little, or push an alarm, but they won’t jump over the counter and chase you.
When I need a place to stay, I go to the finest hotels and follow new guests to their room, casually bump into them, and explain they have my room by mistake. They’ll politely argue back, but if you stay consistent (and keep in mind you’re wearing nice clothing) they’ll give in and get another room.
If you’re not staying at a hotel room, but you need some ice – what better place to go? No one ever questions you. I’ve thrown eighteen keg parties cooled by hotel ice; one was in a room I stole from another guest...