Authorities in China have arrested six supposedly wealthy Chinese women for allegedly conducting shoplifting contests for fun.
The shoplifting squad, who have reportedly stolen beauty products worth more than 20,000 yuan (around $3,000), were recently apprehended in Yingcheng in Hubei province, reports Chutian Metropolis Daily (via SCMP).
Composed of thrill-seeking friends including one 15-year-old girl, the group explained that they came together after their favorite hangout, a mahjong parlor, got shut down. With nothing else to do, the group hatched a plan to do some shoplifting around the city.
Their scheme however, proved to be quite ineffective as they stole from the same two cosmetic stores three times between June and July, making their modus a fairly easy case to crack. CCTV recordings revealed how the group members each take their spots inside the store, some distracting the store clerks while the others grabbed their target items. Five of them remained in police custody, while the teenager was turned over to her parents.
Findings later suggested that all the members are in fact rich and engaged in the criminal activity for the thrill it brings them. Earlier studies have confirmed such phenomenon revealing that these cases are often about seizing the opportunity to momentarily exercise control.
According to Barbara Staib of the National Association For Shoplifting Prevention in the US, shoplifting is usually a reaction to some kind of loss. “Shoplifters are generally honest citizens,” she told BBC, adding that there has been evidence of a “direct correlation between depression and shoplifting.”
While other depressed people would turn to alcohol or food, others may turn to shoplifting. “Some people are trying to find solace in shoplifting,” she said. “It gives them the ‘rush’, a ‘high’ — it can be a relief, if only a temporary one, as they suffer remorse afterward, when they get caught.”