As a counselor for various courses including alcohol awareness classes and online theft classes, my students often like to engage in discussion regarding celebrities and their problems. For years Hollywood has made films glorifying theft including the likes of The Hustler, The Fast and the Furious, Gone in 60 Seconds, as well as more bank robbery films where the robbers are the good guys than can be named in one short article.
Despite starring in iconoclastic films, or perhaps more because they have plenty of discretionary income, few Hollywood stars get arrested for shoplifting and other petty larceny offenses. With her recent arrest for shoplifting, Lindsay Lohan may have become the most famous Hollywood star arrested for shoplifting, and unlike many others, she is being prosecuted.
Winona Caught In The Act
Before Lohan, Winona Ryder was undoubtedly the queen of Hollywood shoplifting lore. Ryder could not escape the charges either as her theft was caught on camera by store surveillance cameras. These videos have become quite popular on the Internet. Ryder was caught stealing more than $5000 worth of goods from a department store in Beverly Hills back in 2001. Ryder did not get off with a slap on the wrist. It cost her more than $10,000 in fines and restitution, 480 hours of community service and was placed on three years probation.
Stars Do Steal
Theft by celebrities goes all the way back to the 1940s when Bess Myerson stole almost $45 worth of cosmetics and sundries from a small department store in Pennsylvania. Some of you may remember the beautiful Miss Myerson as the first Jewish Miss America (crowned in 1945).
If Myerson is too old for you how about film critic Rex Reed? In addition to his expertise critiquing films, Reed also is a major music aficionado, with thousands of albums in his home. Reid was busted for trying to shoplift 3 compact discs that he had placed in his pocket (if you are interested they were albums by Mel Torme, Carmen McRae and Peggy Lee). After claiming he "forgot" he had put them in his pocket all charges were dropped by Tower Records.
Lohan May Be Out Of Control
All of this brings us back to the current Hollywood diva facing trial for shoplifting. Judging from other charges in her past, it would seem fair to say that she certainly could use an alcohol awareness class. For those of you who have spent the last five years in a cave, on a deserted island or the moon, Lohan was arrested for driving under the influence in 2007 and has had numerous run ins for the law for issues ranging from drug and alcohol abuse to the latest incident of stealing a diamond-encrusted necklace from a Sak's Fifth Avenue department store. With the value of the necklace at more than $4K, Lohan is facing a felony charge of grand theft.
Why Do They Steal and Do They Need Help?
Nobody knows for certain why Lindsay Lohan and other celebrities steal and shoplift. I believe there are a number of issues involved. And, yes, I do think Lindsay Lohan could benefit from taking a shoplifting class or theft class.
One theory as to why celebrities steal involves the risk they lead in their careers and personal lives. Lohan for sure is known to lead a risky lifestyle. Back in 2007 when she was arrested for DUI, she led police on a minor chase through Los Angeles before pulling over. In addition to being intoxicated from alcohol, police found cocaine in her vehicle as well.
Another possible motivation is they think they are invincible. Many celebrities let their fame go to their heads. They are used to restaurants, stores and other merchandiser offering them free goods. All the free items foment the idea that they are special, they are pampered, and they are constantly showered with gifts. Therefore, stealing is not taking something that doesn't belong to them, it is something they mentally justify as their right as celebrities.
The fact is celebrities are human beings just like the rest of us. It is estimated that for every time a person is caught shoplifting they have gotten away with it more than 50 times. Lohan probably has stolen many other things in the past. She may have even have been caught, only to be let go because of her celebrity. A stop theft class would not only help her understand and access the motivations behind her shoplifting behavior, but provide ways to mentally focus herself so that she does not steal again.