65. One day, two friends and I went on a shoplifting spree throughout Broadway Mall leaving with at least $200 worth of bounty
Here’s what happened:
When I was 15-16 years old, I was a frequent purchaser of cassette tapes. I would take my allowance and by a new album at Record Town at Broadway Mall in Hicksville.
Now I wasn’t a thief per se but I was a very curious person. One day in the summer, while I was looking at the cassette tape section, for the first time, I noticed the little metal security strip on the cassette. I wondered if I pulled it off, would I be able to walk out the store? So I bought one cheap cassette and pulled the security strip off another –all prepared to be like “Oh, I forgot I had this” if I got caught. I walked through the security spot in the doorway, held my breath and…nothing.
Now, I many not have been a thief or a delinquent (a matter of fact I was very nerdy) but I hung out with a lot of people who imagined they were. I grew up in Westbury Hills, a quiet little suburb with a bunch of kids who tried to act hard despite the fact that their parents were middle-class, they lived in nice houses and they went to Catholic/Lutheran School for the most part (although most of them got kicked out of those schools for indulging in hood fantasies).
Anyway, I excitedly rode my bike back home to share my new found discovery with my friends. The only ones I could find was my friends Nick (Fun Fact: At 12 years old, he backed his uncle’s car over his little sister. She ended up with cuts and scratches over her face) and Kenny (Fun Fact: If you made him laugh too much, he’d piss himself). Nick was all too excited to try this out and Kenny was always along for the ride. So, we got a duffel bag and went back to the mall.
We hit every store we could find that a) had their items protected with the easily removable sticker and b) had idiot employees. By the time it was 5 PM, we had filled up the entire duffel bag. We rode back to my friend Jeff’s house where all my friends were hanging out and showed them our bounty. I can’t remember everything we took exactly but here’s what I can remember:
- Wayne’s World on VHS
- A pair of Oakland Raiders boxers that were too big for all three of us
- 25-40 cassette tape albums and singles
I’m sure shoplifting increased substantially that summer because word of our actions and how we did it made it throughout our little suburb. People would periodically show me stuff they stole like “It worked, Sean!”
When I got home, I had to tell my brother to pretend that all my stuff. he was quite proud (Fun Fact: My brother got caught stealing at Tower Records, driven home by the police and was given the biggest beating either of us had ever received in the smallest room in the house…the downstairs bathroom).
I would periodically steal cassette tapes but my reign of terror was brought to an end when I got caught stealing an 8 pack of AA batteries for my friend Jen from this bootleg version of CVS in Broadway Mall. I had actually made it out the store and was 5 feet from exiting the mall when the store manager caught up to me and dragged me back. He threatened to call my parents but they weren’t home (I had made it a rule not to steal things when my parents were home just in case of such an emergency). Instead, he took my picture with a Polaroid and banned me from the store. My friend Andrew never let me forget this anytime we went to the mall: “Hey, let’s go in here and get some candy. Oh wait, nevermind. Sean’s BANNED! HAHAHAH!” He made that jokes for years.