Stop stealing

PURPLE SHADES - Letty Jacinto-Lopez (The Philippine Star) - March 4, 2014 - 12:00am

Are you seated?” asked my friend Winnie.  “Ye-s-s,” I replied cautiously.   “I’m at the Remuera Central Police Station to pick up Jebo,” she continued.  I gasped, “Is he all right?  Why?”  came spilling out of my mouth.  In a calm tone, she said, “His classmate, Brandon, was caught shoplifting.  Since they were together, they wanted to question Jebo, too.”  My heart was racing.  The police officer came on the line, “Mrs. Lopez, your son is fine.  His testimony, in fact, is making us go easy on Brandon.”

Why didn’t my son call me?

 â€œHe forgot your direct line at work,” said Winnie.

Brandon was desperate, he stole deliberately.  He wanted attention.  Brandon’s parents were divorcing and he didn’t know whom to turn to for answers or for comfort.  What could his parents have done to assure him that he is still loved despite the marital rift?  Why did he get deeper into a maze of doubt and confusion? 

I saw a woman stuff packets of chicken drumsticks down her coat.  When the security camera turned to the opposite direction, she moved swiftly. 

“Should I have reported it?”  I asked my husband.

 â€œLike how?  Scream, thief?” he replied.  

 â€œNot quite,” I said.   

There was this man who stole because his family was hungry.  Another shopper witnessed it and instinctively got the items from his arms and brought them to the cashier, “Please include these in my bill; my friend here forgot his wallet.”  The man waited outside the store, full of remorse.  “Thank you for rescuing me, for reminding me that things cannot get any worse, if I stay honest and truthful,” he sobbed.

Thieves take different names:  Bandit, cat burglar, pickpocket, mugger, swindler, kleptomaniac, pirate, embezzler, plagiarizer, corrupt public servants, and those who commit the wrongdoing under the guise of being souvenir collectors.

It is still considered stealing when you snitch flatware, china, towels, linens, etc., from hotels and restaurants.  I saw a socialite stuff the table cutlery in a huge LV bag and nonchalantly walk away.      

The others con you to release your hard-earned savings on a get-filthy-rich strategy.  Drunk with the prospect of tripling your money, you take the bait, and your grim nightmare begins.

Same with fly-by-night property developers and investment commodity traders.  One case involved a reputable developer touted to build a chain of golf courses with investors automatically becoming owners and members of the golf greens.  After collecting billions, the project never took off.  A class suit was filed against the developer, but like other legal imbroglio, it’s dragging in the courts.  Meanwhile, the developer repackaged himself with the help of media spinners.  He’s back in full swing as if his crime had been exonerated.

Watch for the red flag.  Follow this rule of thumb:  If it’s too good to be true, it is.  Even your close friends can fall victims so don’t be swayed by the number of investors known to you.  They may have been equally duped.  Don’t be left empty-handed while the perpetrators lap it up in luxury at Turks and Caicos or the Bahamas, with your money.

Why is there no toilet paper in public toilets?  Because they are stolen.  There is this distorted perception that drives the public to pocket anything that doesn’t belong to them.  “It’s part of their service so why not help myself?” she argues.  Shame on you.  Amenities are for everyone’s convenience, not exclusively yours.

Aboard a flight to Los Angeles, the chief purser announced that it was a crime to take home lifejackets, video monitors, remote control, food trays, and anything else found inside the aircraft.  They wouldn’t have said that if there weren’t any shocking cases of this kind of burglary happening up in the air.  It is the height of hooliganism reeking of bad manners and impoliteness. 

Do not covet your neighbor’s wife or your neighbor’s goods.  These are clear warnings from the holy book, against infidelity and downright rip-offs, including home wreckers and spouse abusers.

Take the other woman parading as better, more beautiful, and smarter than the wife.  She pulls the man away from his obligations, his responsibility and worse, his propriety.  She robs him of his inner core, his spirit, and his basic goodness.  In fits of rage and greed, she deprives the legitimate children of their place and worth in the family.  In some instances, she manipulates the man to cut any bond or trace of his relationship with his wife and his family.  â€œLeave him to heaven,” said the suffering wife.  (Until he burns in consuming fire, with the mistress by his side.)

Don’t be a bundle of regrets, deprived of pity.  When the thrill is gone and you’re ailing, flat broke, and cast aside, is she worth losing your own soul?                                




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