My now-ex best friend is a thief

(117 Posts)
wineoclocktimeyet Thu 31-Jan-13 17:57:57

Initially I was really sad and disappointed but now I'm just furious.

Background - became friends with a mum with a similar aged son to DS2 about 8 months and we just clicked from the start - really good laugh we'd meet at least twice a week and I thought we were developing a life-long friendship.

Until, yesterday - we met in our local shopping centre as usual and pottered about getting bits and pieces and then had a coffee and a snack - she was queueing and her DS spilt someone so I opened her changing bag to get some wipes, sitting on the top was a eyeshadow set which we'd been looking at in Boots but hadnt bought as it was too expensive.

Long story short, she admitted she'd stolen it and that she has been shoplifting items for years.

I'm thinking so many things:

- someone I thought of as a best friend is a THIEF
- how can I have got someone so wrong
- I totally trusted her, she has babysat a couple of times - she promised she has never steals from friends (so thats ok then) but of course now I'm trying to think of all the things I might have 'lost'
- she has stolen items when I am with her - would anyone really have believed I wasnt in on it and she knows I am working in a job which would be ruined if I got any type of criminal record
- I'm wondering if any of the presents she has ever given my children are stolen.

and so it goes on

I'm not sure why I'm writing this but just getting it out helps. I did think of name changing but actually J if you are a netmum and are reading this, I want you to know how hurt and angry I am and so very very sorry but this is the end of what could have been a wonderful friendship sad sad

MechanicalTheatre Thu 31-Jan-13 19:35:46

Sushi I don't have a telly, a burgler would be bitterly disappointed in my stock. Actually, I've been burgled and it didn't really piss me off that much. I mean, it's not nice to think someone's been in your home, but it's just stuff.

Sallyingforth Thu 31-Jan-13 19:38:00

Shoplifters very often work in pairs so that one can distract staff or hide a camera view. If youir 'friend' was stopped at the door you would find it difficult to prove you weren't involved.
Mechanical - your attitude stinks.

MechanicalTheatre Thu 31-Jan-13 19:40:00

What, my attitude of not being fussed by something?

I don't really get how that works. I mean, people buy clothes that are made in sweatshops. That's really more concerning for me than you having to pay 5p more for a packet of Pop Tarts. But I don't go on Style and Beauty saying "HOW DARE YOU BUY CLOTHES?"

Salmotrutta Thu 31-Jan-13 19:45:18

If everyone took the "But it was only a £5 eyeshadow/pack of mince/ blah" it wouldn't be long before other so-called less serious or so-called victimless crimes became perfectly alright.

And then where do we draw the line.

I'd be mighty peed off if a friend did that and I'd view them very differently from then on.

firesidechat Thu 31-Jan-13 19:45:41

I've only read the first page but already a little bit shocked that anyone would think it's ok to shoplift. It isn't!

OP YANBU and I would probably react the same way.

Salmotrutta Thu 31-Jan-13 19:46:56

It would make me wonder what else someone "wasn't fussed" about tbh.

MechanicalTheatre Thu 31-Jan-13 19:49:17

Well, I know plenty of people who aren't fussed about feminism/where their clothes come from/who is in government, but they are still decent people.

HoHoHoNoYouDont Thu 31-Jan-13 19:52:42

Being fussed about feminism etc isn't breaking the law. Shoplifting is.

aldiwhore Thu 31-Jan-13 19:54:40

It's not right, and I understand your horror OP.

I do though think it's about balance.

My friend does this, I found out. Much as I hate what she does, on balance the friendship is worth so SO much more. We had a row about it.

I don't go shopping with her, I strangely WOULD trust her around my stuff, BUT she would always be the first suspected if anything of mine went missing... I have told her this.

We will not speak of it again, and she will not get my sympathy is she gets caught.

It may not sound rational, but this friend has truly gone out of her way to help me when I needed it, without being asked... so, on balance, I didn't want to lose her friendship.

It makes me angry, especially as I was once falsely accused of shoplifting, and though I wasn't charged, my name/DNA/photo etc is on file... if she got caught and I was with her, would anyone believe MY innocence?? I have simply chosen never to be in that position.

I hope my disapproval is enough, but I suspect her habit is complex (she is not short of money, not rich but certainly doesn't have 'need' to steal) so I decided to remove myself from the situation.

If you cannot do that, YANBU to walk away from the friendship.

firesidechat Thu 31-Jan-13 19:56:16

Well, I know plenty of people who aren't fussed about feminism/where their clothes come from/who is in government, but they are still decent people.

But none of those things get you a day in court and possible prison term do they?

Isn't it also a bit disrespectful to shoplift when you have a friend with you who doesn't know and agree with what you are doing. If she wants to engage in criminal activity she can do it alone surely and not involve the OP.

DontmindifIdo Thu 31-Jan-13 20:00:46

I wouldn't have anything to do with her again. Just distance yourself.

That's not accidently walking out without paying for something you intended to pay for, she'd already said she couldn't afford it, it's not stealling something out of desperation because you need it, noone needs posh eyeshadow - it's either a sign of having a bad moral compass and not seeing what's wrong with taking something if you can get away with it (not someone I'd want in my life and in my home) or it's a sign of mental health problems. She's someone you've not known for htat long so might be hard for you to judge. And if you aren't someone she's close too then it might be hard for you to help her.

Distance yourself, do'nt have her over in your home, if she's at any baby groups you are at, watch yours and anyone else's stuff - you know she steals. you can't assume she only steals from large companies if she thinks she can get away with it, she might have a moral code that says "it's ok to steal from someone faceless but not a friend" but quite frankly, even if she told you that, I wouldn't trust her not to be lying to my face. It could be she'll take from anyone if she can get away with it.

MechanicalTheatre Thu 31-Jan-13 20:01:18

Well...er...no, they don't get you a day in court. My point is that to me feminism, sweatshops and who is in government are moral issues. Shoplifting is a legal issue.
Morals are important to me. And on the scale of shit things you can do, stealing from big business is just not high on the scale.

Anyway, bowing out of this now, since neither side will change their minds.

I'd be furious. It only takes her to hand you the bag with the stolen stuff in it just before you leave the store "oh hold my bag for a second while I clip reins onto DS" for you to be done for shoplifting.

I cannot begin to describe how annoyed I'd be if I got 'caught' with stolen goods that some cunt had asked me to carry in a shop.

I'd lose my job (enhanced crb), my foster child would go back into the care system after 5 years angry

"well, with friends like you, she will be better off alone, have you conidered that she might have mental health issues "
Sorry, but I find that a particularly pathetic statement that does a great disservice to those with MH issues. Have you considered that this woman is just a greedy bastard with a sense of entitlement that outstrips her income?

Mechanical - your moral compass needs a huge overhaul. So theft is fine basically?

WeAreEternal Thu 31-Jan-13 20:18:32

When I was in my late teens I was good friends with a girl who although lived on benefits and was in a lot of debt, always had lots of expensive and new make up and nice things.

After being friends for a few months she gave me an expensive lipstick, that I had been lusting after but could not afford, as a gift.
I couldn't understand how she afforded it, and then I found out, she was a shoplifting addict.

She eventually admitted that she stole everything from food in the supermarket to clothes, and jewellery.
She told me that she hadn't paid for make up in years, and had boxes and boxes of the stuff in cupboards because it was just so easy to steal she could take a full make up bags worth in one visit to boots.
She wasn't even sneaky about her stealing, she carried a big bag on her arm and just picked items up and as she walked around the top of isles she would swap the bag from one arm to the other and while doing so drop the items into the bag.
She must have done it in front of me 100's of times and I had never noticed. Although looking back I do remember that she always picked items up and then changed her mind and put them back onto other shelves, or so I thought, very regularly.

I tried to ignore it, as she was a good friend, and I asked her not to steal when she was with me but she just couldn't help herself.
In the end it ruined our friendship as I just felt that I couldn't trust her.

catkind Thu 31-Jan-13 20:19:13

Never mind dropping the friendship, I'd report her to the police. Shoplifting is stealing just as much as picking pockets or burglary. I wouldn't be accessory to that.

frustratedworkingmum Thu 31-Jan-13 20:19:25

Whereyouleftit chances are, she probably is just a greedy bastard with a sense of entitlement that outstrips her income. Upon re-reading the woman has said that she has been shoplifting for years so it does suggest that maybe you are right. It is possible to misread people. It does not do a disservice to those with MH issues to consider it though, as someone who has suffered a breakdown in the past i know how it affected my behaviour and made me do things im not proud of. Thankfully not illegal but you guys would have an absolute judge fest if i disclosed some of the things i did. I have no excuse and i feel deep shame about it, but i have come to terms with the fact that I wasn't well and I am not that person.

catkind Thu 31-Jan-13 20:20:24

And if she has mental health issues, the police will find out about that too, and be able to put her in the right direction for treatment.

WhichIsBest Thu 31-Jan-13 20:20:33

I wouldn't go shopping with her again and I'd tell her I thought it was wrong, and I'd be very surprised, but I wouldn't feel personally upset. I'd assume she had issues.
It wouldn't make me not want to spend time with her ever again.

WhichIsBest Thu 31-Jan-13 20:24:54

I have friends who do things I don't approve of. They smoke weed every day, vote for the Tories, cheat on their nice partners...
They have other aspects to their characters too. Those things don't define them and damn them to me.

wineoclocktimeyet Thu 31-Jan-13 20:26:22

Of course I'm no expert, but I dont think she has any mental health issues. She wasnt at all ashamed, her justification when we discussed it was that it wasnt fair that she couldnt afford the things she wants, she seemed to think she was entitled to have them and that "the shops can afford it, they make enough money out of us anyway"

In one way I dont want to end the friendship, and maybe in time I will feel differently, but at the moment my feelings are that she is a thief and that makes her (in my eyes) dishonest and tbh I dont trust her anymore. I cant see how I can genuinely be friends with someone I basically dont trust. I dont want to go shopping with her or anywhere where I am worried what she will be doing, how can I have her in my house if everytime I cant find something I will wonder... For me, a friend is someone you can relax with and at the moment I cant imagine being able to do that with her again.

Boomerwang Thu 31-Jan-13 20:31:15

She doesn't have mental health problems ffs. Thieves do it because they can get away with it. Why does everything have to boil down to someone being impaired in some way??

OP I would be just as shocked and hurt as you were. When I was a teen I went into a supermarket with my boyfriend and his mate. When we came out his friend lifted out a frozen ready meal that he'd stolen. I was aghast. In my family, crime just does NOT happen, no matter how small. They tried to make me see that he could either steal or starve and for the sake of not falling out with my boyfriend I let it drop, but I made him promise never, ever to do that when I'm with him again. Under my breath I also told him if he got a fucking job he wouldn't have to steal.

The hurt would come about because your view of someone had become marred, and you feel foolish, deceived and also confused because if she hadn't been a thief you'd still think she was a good person and you're not sure if she ever was after all. I would feel this if a friend of mine I'd known for a long time suddenly revealed such a large secret.

Bunbaker Thu 31-Jan-13 20:33:00

If you enjoy her company can you just see her but not go shopping with her? Can you say to her that her kleptomaniac habit makes you feel uncomfortable to be with her on shopping trips?

Given that most shops have CCTV I'm surprised that she hasn't been caught before now.

frustratedworkingmum Thu 31-Jan-13 20:33:09

based on your last post wineoclock, id feel the same actually if its just that old "the shops can afford it" chestnut, id be distancing myself too. How old is she?

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