Stealing Christmas

By - Dec 18th, 2009 02:23 pm
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shopliftPIC2What do you think would happen to you if you were caught stealing $1,500 worth of merchandise from a local department store?

I can see you now: your head would be hung low, embarrassed and ashamed as the cops paraded you around on that unenviable “perp walk.” You’d be worried about your reputation and your future. It would be no small thing.

At least that’s what we’ve been led to believe.

Serious shoplifting is a crime usually thought of as being punishable by huge fines and maybe even jail time. Signs posted in dressing rooms and elsewhere in stores shout these reminders to us each time we go shopping.

And there is no other time when these reminders are more prominent than during the holiday season. Shopping centers are overrun with mall cops as security staffs are beefed up to catch those who break the eighth of the Ten Commandments – Thou shalt not steal.

Apparently, this couple wasn’t familiar with that one. Sumit Sinha and his wife were arrested on Saturday, December12 at Mayfair Mall after the two had been observed by surveillance personnel attempting to make off with a reported $1,500 in Macy’s department store merchandise.

The klepto-couple reportedly told police that they came to the mall to do some Christmas shopping, but decided to go the five-finger discount route when they came to the conclusion that the store was too busy for personnel to worry about people walking off without paying for their goods.

Not! Malls and the stores in them have a love-hate relationship with this time of year. They love the crowds because crowds mean money, but those crowds can also mean more people like the Sinhas who try to take during this season of giving. Too many patrons like this and the profit line goes kaput.

This case of alleged thievery boggles my mind and leaves me pondering…

Why would this man who reportedly earns $150K per year need to steal? Why would this couple jeopardize their name and their future? Is this a sign of the tough economic times we’re living in?

Scratch that one – a lot of people are struggling and looking for a way to make this a merry Christmas for their families, and they’re not stealing to do it.

And what about the penalty imposed on this modern-age Bonnie and Clyde? They received tickets for retail theft totaling $5,000, and they’ve been banned from Mayfair Mall for five years. It seems more a slight inconvenience than a stiff penalty for looting and pilfering. They even tried to hide the booty in their kid’s stroller. Now that’s pathetic.
Given the strong stance Mayfair Mall has taken in recent years to address the conduct of mall patrons, one would think that a stronger message would have been sent in this case.

Mayfair’s campaign against loitering and bad behavior is understandable; people won’t shop where they don’t feel safe and comfortable. But, at times, the mall’s posture has been too stern and has appeared to be directed at a particular population.

Young people, some of whom who had done nothing at all except be Black and in proximity to others who might have been misbehaving, were made examples of. They, in some cases, were banished from the mall for longer periods of time than the Sinhas were — and they hadn’t stolen anything.

This couple, it seems to me, got off quite easy. Yes, they are facing fines of $2,500 each, but the likelihood of the fines being paid is slim. You see, they gave police a phony home address and the doctor doesn’t work where he told the police he did.

I guess we should call them Mr. & Mrs. Anti-Claus.

Categories: Commentary

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