Shoplifter recounts recent experience

  • Published
  • By Kathryn McLemore
  • Contributing writer
The first time I was in the newspaper was when I was 5, telling people how to make a Thanksgiving turkey. The second time I was in the newspaper was in the blotter for being caught shoplifting.

At first, I was sure I had gotten away with it. I had left the base exchange and it was all over. But really, it was only the beginning.

A person with base exchange security came out and asked me to follow her to the cashier's cage. She put me in a small room and asked me to take out the things I stole, and then called my mom.

As I was sitting there wondering what was going to happen, my mom showed up, as angry with me as ever - and that is what scared me the most. I was also worried that she would get in trouble because of what I did.

After a while, the police came. They searched me, and then left me in the room for what seemed like an hour. When they came back in, they arrested me. I was handcuffed, and had to walk through the BX to the police car. It was really scary for me.

When we got to the police station, they took me to a room where I sat until they were ready to talk to me. When the police officer came in, she had to read me my rights and then I had to write a statement and answer questions.

Then, because I stole from the BX, my ID card was confiscated. Now I have a new ID that is like a badge saying I'm a thief. I can't go to the BX, commissary, shoppette or movie theater for six months - all for a shirt and some jewelry.

But, I'm not the only one that has been affected. My mom's first sergeant was called, and she had to report to him about what had happened. And we all still have to face the Juvenile Court, where they will decide what kind of punishment I will receive. It will be on my record until I'm 18, and when I apply for a job I will have to say that I have stolen.

So, you may really want that gorgeous shirt or that expensive jewelry, but let me give you some advice: save up your money and pay for it. It is not worth getting handcuffed, put in a police car and having all your privileges taken away. It's also not worth the sleepless nights where you lie awake wondering how you could've been so stupid.

So, just to warn everybody: shoplifting isn't the answer when you see something you just can't live without. I would give anything to relive that moment and make the right choice.

No item is worth all the trouble I put the BX security people, base cops and my parents through. I hope the next time I'm in the newspaper it is for doing something good.