A month ago I was in an art book shop browsing this crazily over priced photo book. I looked around the shop and saw there was only one employee who was sat behind a desk watching something on a laptop. I realised I could have easily stole it. I picked up the book, walked around with it for a while and ended up putting it back down. I’d lost that instinct you need just to walk out with an item like you own it. I relayed this story to a friend whom I had just met a few weeks ago. As it turns out she’s a damn good thief.
Lux: When did you start shoplifting?
Winona: I started when I was 14. I think I wanted earrings or bracelets. I never stopped, it’s been a decade now.
Lux: On average how often do you steal these days?
Winona: At least once a week
Lux: what type of stores do you hit?
Winona: I hit the big chains or places that treat their employees like shit.
Lux: What kind of stuff do you usually steal?
Winona: Stuff I need. I steal art supplies for school and personal work, clothing and food. I find it hard to pay for basic living necessities. I have some friends working for corporations and they work for the kind of lifestyles they lead. I plan to work as little as possible I'm a fucking art student.
Lux: Can you describe your method and technique of shoplifting?
Winona: Fuck you, learn on your own.
Lux: Do you dress a certain way? I know security anticipate that professional shoplifters will dress up a bit.
Winona: I never dress up. I don’t wear hats or sunglasses. Those always look suspicious. Also if you wear sunglasses indoors you are an asshole to begin with.
Lux: Can you spot store detectives? In my experience they’ve always been painfully obvious. Like when I'm in a CD store, I’ll see them pick up a CD totally at random and pretend to look while looking over at you every 10 seconds.
Winona: I have never stolen from a CD store that had a detective in it. Basically badges for hire are the laziest people on the planet. They picked a job that basically includes looking at people....sometimes. So they want to do as little work as possible.
Lux: How do you operate in stores that have CCTV?
Winona: Cameras always have blind spots. If there is a camera they have to have someone there looking at it. Unless I am dressed as a fucking giraffe I am not even noticeable. Also those cameras are poor quality. Allot of times the cameras are also fake. People think they are so smart. Did a scarecrow ever scare those birds?
Lux: On average how many items do you steal in one visit?
Winona: At least 3 I figure if I have a chance of arrest I might as well go all the way.
Lux: Tell me the story of how you hit up 3 different American Apparel stores in one day?
Winona: I was in Manhattan first. And they’re everywhere in New York City. I was running errands and decided I would steal at least two things from every AA I saw and that’s what I did. Their employees care more about their haircuts then what’s in my bag.
Lux: Why hit that chain so hard?
Winona: They hire most of their employees based on looks. If you are not attractive they make you work in the back. Their ads and the C.E.O. of their company are both misogynistic. Dov Charney can suck a dick...also it was just so easy to steal from them!
Lux: A lot of people I know shoplift from American Apparel why do you think that is?
Winona: They have some good everyday basics. I think people do it because of how easy it is and how poorly the clothing is made. It’s also very overpriced.
Lux: Obviously it’s the epitome of hipster bullshit but they don’t deal with sweatshops and from what I’ve read employees also receive benefits such as health care, bus passes, free english language classes. Not wanting to sound like Dov Charney's fan boy but I don’t think they’re the bad guys?
Winona: That’s great. But really I wonder how much of their pay is taken out of their weekly earnings for all this. I bet it doesn’t say on their how much they make annually. And the end of the day this place is a corporation. What they care about is the bottom line not the person.
Lux: Have you ever done the hustle of picking up an item from the store and bringing it to the counter for a refund?
Winona: Yeah. I've gotten a free desk, free shelves and a free easel with this scam. I get a satisfaction out of conning stores. But if you ask any of my friends I am the worst liar they know.
Lux: How the hell did you get a desk?
Winona: I returned a few expensive pencils, markers and got store credit worth about $150 with that I bought a drawing desk
Lux: Fuck… I never knew art was so expensive.
Winona: Dude art is sooo expensive. Especially if you want good paints and brushes and shit.
Lux: Have you ever been caught?
Winona: Yes sort of. I was in a grocery store and I noticed this guy was following me. My bag was really bulgy so I decided to take out two cans of red bull. This is when he approached me. He said "excuse me why you take those out of your bag and put them on the shelf". I replied with entitlement and fake shock "because I decided I didn’t want them anymore, why have you been stalking me? I use this canvas bag because I’m green I don’t use plastic" at this point the security guard apologizes to me profusely saying he would never "stalk" me. Meanwhile I have about 50 dollars worth of groceries in my bag. I go to the counter buy an apple for 50 cents and leave. I Laughed all the way back to school. I am not scared of getting caught because most of the time I’m on some sort of benzo. Those help with the shoplifting too. Take a xanax and you can steal the world.
Lux: Tell me about the time you committed Larceny?
Winona: Which time? There’s probably been dozens of times. Lots of art supplies are very small and very expensive.
Lux: Do you think you're a kleptomaniac?
Winona: No i don't steal from people,meaning friends parents etc. I don't feel it's something that I HAVE to do like a drug addict. I just want to do it
Lux: How much would you estimate you’ve profited altogether?
Winona: I don’t think I could give an accurate estimate. The world is my oyster. I barely even look at prices.