One of the best things about being fabulously wealthy is not having to worry about how you’re going to pay for everything you want in life. You don’t have to draw up a household budget, deposit money into a savings account or wait patiently for the half-price sales. If you’re shopping and you see an item you like, you can buy it – simple as that.
Sometimes, however, people steal things they could easily afford. Despite having a net worth of millions, several celebrities have been caught shoplifting in recent years. Their crimes inevitably make headlines all over the world, rendering them all the more embarrassing. The culprits’ response is usually to come up with some hare-brained and unlikely excuse.
It doesn’t seem to matter whether the goods these celebrities swipe are really worth anything – they range from a $1 lighter to a necklace valued at $2,500. Like many teenage thieves, it seems to be the novelty, the rebellion and the adrenaline rush that attracts them. Sometimes, they have had a history of mental instability, and are sent for counselling following their arrest.
The following is a list of ten celebrities found helping themselves to a five-fingered discount. And you thought they were just stealing our hearts…
10. Peaches Geldof
Peaches Geldof, the wayward daughter of musician Bob Geldof, grew up in the limelight. Now, at the age of twenty-five, the Guardian columnist continues to cause a stir in the media – not just for her controversial opinions. Geldof has been involved in numerous shoplifting incidents over the years. In 2007, she set off alarms when walking out of a store wearing a coat she hadn’t paid for, and was rumoured to have stolen various items of clothes and jewellery from a magazine photo shoot. The following year, she was accused of swiping undergarments and a £500 dress from a shop in South London. Finally, in 2011, she was caught pocketing £70 worth of make-up while strolling around a branch of Boots, the British pharmacy chain. Luckily for her, she has managed to escape charges on all counts – although she has been banned from Boots.
9. Britney Spears
Pop star Britney Spears became notorious for her very public 2007 breakdown, during which she shaved off all her hair, checked in and out of rehab several times, was criticised for endangering her children, and attacked paparazzi with an umbrella. The former teen sensation was also caught helping herself to a five-finger discount on various occasions over the course of that train crash year. A video was taken of her stealing a lighter from a gas station, then turning to the camera and sarcastically commenting “I stole something. Oh, I’m bad.” In another incident, Britney grabbed a wig from a mannequin in a sex shop and ran out without paying after a member of staff refused to let her try on a pair of racy underwear. Yikes.
8. Courtney Love
Actress and singer-songwriter Courtney Love has always been seen as a “bad girl”. The widow of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain has struggled with heroin addiction and receives a lot of media attention for her brash comments, uninhibited stage presence and confrontational behaviour. She had a rocky upbringing and was arrested at the age of fourteen for shoplifting a Kiss t-shirt. Love has never tried to deny or justify her petty crime – if anything, it has upped her street-cred and further cemented her reputation as a rebel.
7. Beth Ditto
Style icon and Gossip vocalist Beth Ditto has admitted to having a bit of a shoplifting problem, claiming that she can’t be bothered to queue up to pay for items. In a 2010 interview, she claimed: “I have a hard time not buying or stealing. If I want something, I have to have it”. Apparently, the stores she most likes to shoplift from are department stores like Marshalls, and more worryingly, thrift shops such as Goodwill.
6. Bai Ling
Chinese-born actress Bai Ling is best known for her appearances on the television series Lost and Entourage. On Valentine’s Day 2008, she was arrested for pocketing two celebrity magazines and pack of batteries at Los Angeles International Airport. In an interview with E! News, Bai explained that she had just broken up with her boyfriend and was very upset at the time. In court, she pleaded guilty to the charge of disturbing the peace and was fined $200.
5. Megan Fox
Actress and model Megan Fox had a penchant for shoplifting as a teen, and apparently helped herself to candy and gum from convenience stores without getting spotted by security. Eventually she was busted while trying to pocket a $7 tube of lipgloss from Walmart. The sex symbol allegedly broke down in tears before admitting her crime, and is still nominally banned from the supermarket chain.
4. Tila Tequila
Reality television star and glamour model Tila Nguyen (aka Tila Tequila or Miss Tila) won a lot of attention for her bisexual MTV dating show, A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila. She is also well known for her internet presence – she was formerly the most popular artist on MySpace and has founded several websites. In April 2010, Tila was caught stealing snacks from CVS. Soon after, she posted a video of the event on her blog, with the comment “Now I can certify myself a REAL GANGSTA! LOLOLOL.” It seems she was more amused than ashamed of her delinquent behaviour.
3. Farrah Fawcett
Charlie’s Angels star Farrah Fawcett, admired for her gleaming white smile and feathered blonde locks, became a pin-up icon in the 1970s. During her rise to fame, however, she was arrested twice for shoplifting after taking clothes from two different boutiques. The actress was convicted and fined $125 and $265 for each offense. Fawcett defended her actions, claiming the she was taking justice into her own hands after the stores refused to exchange items she had already paid for.
2. Lindsay Lohan
Actress and recording artist Lindsay Lohan rocketed to fame as a freckle-faced youngster in Disney’s the Parent Trap, but has since ditched her family-friendly image in a big way. The party girl has been in and out of rehab since 2007, and has been caught drink driving on several occasions. In 2011, she was accused of stealing a necklace worth $2,500 from a jewellery shop in Venice, California. Lohan denied the allegation, stating that she was simply “borrowing” the item. However, the store has no record of the celebrity using their customary loan policy.
1. Winona Ryder
Perhaps the most famous celebrity shoplifter of all, Winona Ryder shocked fans when she was caught stealing over $5,000 worth of designer clothes and accessories from Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills, California. The doe-eyed actress was convicted of grand theft and vandalism and sentenced to three years on probation, assigned 480 hours of community service, fined and ordered to make restitution payments to the store. In subsequent interviews, Ryder claimed that the scandal actually “saved” her, forcing her to re-evaluate her life and undergo psychological and drug therapy.
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