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August 27, 2012 The Modern Law Library

‘Five-Finger Discount’ Costs Billions, Says Author of Shoplifting Book ‘The Steal’

By Lee Rawles

Shoplifting—is it little Johnny swiping a pack of gum, or a multibillion-dollar crime epidemic? Well, it can be both, says Rachel Shteir, author of The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting, and the public perception of shoplifting has shifted throughout history.

Shteir speaks with ABA Journal Web producer Lee Rawles as they discuss professional shoplifters—called “boosters”—the treatments available for compulsive shoplifters, and the extraordinary extrajudicial industry of “loss prevention.”


The New York Times: “Sticky Fingers, Used in Service of a Covetous Nature”

New York Observer: “No, Steal This Book: Rachel Shteir’s ‘The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting’”

NPR: “Sticky Fingers, Hidden Hams: A Shoplifting History”

Los Angeles Times: “The surprising psychology of shoplifting”

Listen to the Podcast

In This Podcast:

Lee Rawles
Rachel Shteir is an associate professor at the Theatre School at DePaul University. She has written for a variety of publications, and is the author of The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting, Striptease: The Untold History of the Girlie Show, and Gypsy: The Art of the Tease