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Why do teens shoplift?

If you’re a parent who has a teenager who has been accused of shoplifting, you have a lot on your plate. You’re trying to figure out what legal steps to take, what options you have and how to proceed in a way that protects your child’s future. You don’t want one mistake — or a false allegation — to ruin their life. 

At the same time, you may just be asking yourself why this happens. Why did your child make this decision? Let’s take a look at some common reasons. 

The reasons vary, often depending on the item

There are many reasons, and it often depends on what they’ve taken — though not always. For instance, a teen may steal because:

  • A friend dared them to do it and they didn’t want the reputation as someone who backed down from a dare.
  • They think it is fun and thrilling to shoplift, and they crave that thrill.
  • The items they wanted were more expensive than they could afford, so they felt they had no option.
  • They were not allowed to buy the item in the first place. For instance, if you have a rule about what music your teen can listen to, they may be more likely to steal an album you wouldn’t approve of.

Often, it’s just because they didn’t think they would get caught. For instance, some teens will shoplift from their own places of employment, figuring no one will ever know and so it will not matter. 

What happens next?

As noted above, you want to focus on your child’s future. That’s why it’s so important to know what legal options your family has at this time. Working with an experienced defense attorney is the wisest step you can take to protect your child’s interests.