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Boosting Christmas by Mark Anthony Given

If Heaven had looked upon riches to be a valuable thing,
it would not have given them to such a scoundrel. -Jonathan Swift
            CHRISTMAS IS BOOSTER SUPERBOWL.  I was an experienced booster when I was ten years old and I have never been caught.  I began when I was ten or eleven years old; I was in this foster home and the only boy and twelve girls.  We went to the store in caravan en mass in like three vehicles.  They had given up trying to keep an eye on me and I had this down pat.       
           Soon as we got in the store I'd head for an exit and sprint to the far end of the mall to like JC Penny's or Sears.  When I got in there store I'd head for a department that wasn't open and grab two large paper shopping bags and mangle it until it looked like there was stuff in it and start shopping!!  I actually had a handwritten list where I went up and down the Ilse looking for swag... 
          THE CLOSEST I EVER came to getting busted happened my first day on the job, and it was a exciting job for me for a long time.  I still walk into stores and think what the hell?  I can't believe they leave all this stuff laying out not nailed down; don't they know who I am?  I can make shit disappear into thin air... This is the closest I ever came to getting busted in all the years I did this.  So, I grab a couple of the biggest paper shopping bags they got and I'm marching around the store like a man on a mission with this Christmas List and I got twelve sisters and I'm the only boy, that's a whole nother story.  I'm standing in the isle with my bag and there are like four or five other people shopping right near me.  I grab a huge bottle of English Leather Cologne and tried a little slight of hand on them by just tipping it off the shelf a little higher than me, I'm only ten years old, blond hair,  Florida tan, the kid next door.  The damn big ass bottle in a small box landed right were it was supposed too in the bottom of my bag, nobody saw nothing, except the fucking thing kept going and smashed opened on the floor right below the bag, instantly stinking up the place after a loud crash.  Every body's looking at me, I'm looking at them, I got a big hole in the bottom of my bag.  I just walked off like I got caught fingering the pooch..
          I PRACTICED IN front of the mirror until  I could do it in my sleep and when I put on that thousand dollar suit and thirty dollar hair cut I felt like i was walking around with a loaded gun in my hand and just took whatever I wanted.   When i was in full regalia I looked like a cop.  Standard men's hair cut, white shirt, dress shoes, I not only looked like a cop, I looked like a high ranking cop.  Not only have I been told that, but when I would walk into the Desire Housing Projects in New Orleans at two o'clock in the morning the place would suddenly be a ghost town.  I couldn't score anywhere, there was no need in even trying.  But walk around in an upscale department store?  I looked like Security but I knew there were eyes on me every where I went and I smelled like money. 
            LOSS PREVENTION and Security personnel with casinos or department stores all say they can spot a shoplifter or a Cup Thief in a casino on the spot because they all do the same thing;  their heads are on a swivel.  Back and forth trying to watch who is watching them.... it's a dead give away when you watch people for a living....
           PEOPLE WHO GOT money and can afford to shop in high end stores usually because they are bored out of their minds or they want to spend somebody else's money they are pissed at and they ain't looking around to see who's watching.   Forcing yourself to not look around is where they separate the people who never get caught and the losers...

          DO YOU KNOW how big a set of balls you have to have to bounce a bad check in a bank?  Not write a bad check to the grocer on the corner after hours, or a bar or restaurant.  Pass a bad check in a bank!  Still blows my mind at the stuff I done.  See Another Hot Grand here on this blog about that.   It never occurred to me I'd get caught shoplifting and never did, and I know I boosted at least 50k easy in computer programs alone, I'll tell you how I did that, but my bread and butter was the easiest of all, and it made the most money.  I did it like I was going to work and once I found something that worked, I stay right on track and after awhile it becomes easy.  I had one secret advantage that I used and it never failed.  I have said this before, "I know you are not going to believe this," but here it is:  I try and visualize what I am going to do, step by step in advance, like the night before;  and when I get to the store or the bank whatever, I just get a feeling whether I can get away with it or not and I trust that feeling.  In the "Another Hot Grand" incident I was lit up on Whiskey at ten o'clock in the morning....But for the most part, it's just gut instinct whether I feel I can pull it off or not. 
           I ALWAYS PARK a few blocks away in case everything goes to hell I can still get out of there.  And if I do get 
busted, they ain't getting my car.  I did this all over the United States, wherever they have rich people and upscale stores.  I spent more time in Morrison's because they are in every shopping mall down south and I love their food, but I just needed to get the feel of the places.  I'd walk into a high end department store and head straight for the Men's Fragrances and to freshen up with a splash of Marc Jacobs and mosey over to the Men's Wear.  I see were all the camera's are and ease over to what I'm really there for;  men's ties.  This was the eighties and nineties and I only wanted one brand:  Jerry Garcia.  I never seen one for less than a $100 buck's and they were ugly as hell.  With the dexterity of a eye surgeon at just the right time and with people going by, whatever, I would motion my body over the table or display and with one hand after my jacket fell open I would grab a couple or more sometimes, ball them up and slip them down my pants into some jockey "punk panties," they called them in jail... unlike Boxer, the jockey kept them smashed tight.  $200 in the blink of an eye and usually more.  Some of them were $145 etc.  I'm going to take them a couple hundred miles down the road to another Dillard's or whatever store I got them from, call early in the morning and explain I got them and hate them, can I return them?  Never used, still had their tags on them they'd give you the sales tax too!  first, I have to swing by Sears, I got something for their ass too.
            I WOULD LOOK MY last name up in the phone book in whatever town i was in and with or without my first name I 
would use that phone number when I went into Sears or Penny's wherever.  First thing they ask you is for your phone number and that local number fits me right in.  More than likely they have shopped there and all ready in the system and makes everything easier.   Same deal, dressed to the nines but my coat is always open and I keep one hand in my pocket at all times to conceal the three or four hundred dollar Word Perfect or couple hundred dollar Photoshop.  Bust the cellophane off and right out the door.  Take it right back to the store in the next town... I'm sure none of this works anymore but at the time it was swipe something for $200 in twenty minutes or work all week for $160 at a job you hated with people you didn't like.  And in my mind, if I go to jail, shoplifters are the first ones released due to overcrowding.... it's a non event with guys facing murder charges....


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