Your Cart

Sticky Fingers: Confessions of a Marginally Resistant Shoplifter

On Sale
Added to cart

There’s only one thing more excited than a kid in a candy store: a kid in a candy store who can steal as much candy as he needs. The same kid later realizes that budgeting for high school is so restrictive—why not just steal all those shiny little (and big) things that caught his eye? Tom Bentley was that kid. He was a dedicated, accomplished shoplifter through his high school years, so much so that he treated it as a business, taking orders for record albums, tape recorders, clothes, liquor and all sorts of glittery little gewgaws from his peer clients, and instructing a small team of fellow five-fingerers in matters of the trade.

During the four-year period between age 15 and 19, Bentley was a lunatic thief, and became more and more brazen: He dribbled basketballs out of stores, marched out holding new briefcases as if he were a businessman, strolled out with completely unrolled sleeping bags—a model student, er, shoplifter. He stopped—temporarily—only after spending a few days in jail for stealing a bottle of Scotch. Budgeting as a high school student can be so restrictive: Bentley felt that stealing all the things he “needed” seemed to be a reasonable answer. Even after graduation.

That was Bentley's first experience running a business, and it was a successful one—with some unsuccessful consequences. Another detail: he was a Catholic altar boy from a nice, middle-class Southern California family. That didn’t seem to help with the shoplifting.

Bentley developed some intriguing shoplifting techniques and shares them here. (Caution: don't try this at home—or in any stores!) Spend some time, from the late 60s through the 70s, journeying with Tom Bentley as he goes from Southern California to Canada to central Washington to Las Vegas, pilfering all the way.

Sticky Fingers has examples of colorfully bad judgment, the cracking of the social contract, pangs of conscience, and humor—it’s lively, surprising, and fun. And mostly illegal.

No products found