“I couldn't stop shoplifting…”

Compulsive Shoplifting Anonymous

Every Monday: 6 - 7 PM

Immanuel Hospital, 72nd & Sorensen Pkwy

Every Thursday: 6 - 7 PM

Bergan Mercy Medical Center, 72nd & Mercy Road

The rush of the moment and thrill of the crime.

It's how compulsive shop lifters describe their addiction because in their mind, it’s harmless – no one is dying. However, store owners say that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Inside Oolala Women’s Boutique in Papillion, a woman named “Diane” is still overcoming her addiction as a compulsive shoplifter, despite that she shared her story with Channel Six News.

"One time, I did leave my grandson at home because he was ill, I went up to the store to go get some things for him and I got caught, he was home alone, that really killed me then,” “Diane” said.

Sometimes, it takes hurting others around us to realize we've hit rock bottom in our lives. "Diane" vowed two years ago never to let shop lifting take her that low again. "I thought I could go out and see how much stuff I could get in one day and then I would be ok for that week and then the next week, I would have to go out again, I'd get home and it would a super high," Diane said.

“Diane” talked with store owner Amy Zebert to try and explain that often times, “Diane” did have enough money to cover what she stole no matter if it were clothes or even “silly” items. "Flip flops, sweet potatoes and magazine, it was nothing I needed,” “Diane” admitted.

But now, two years without a stumble, an empowered “Diane” has a message for others like her. "There is help out there, there is people that care and will help you get over this, you are not alone,” “Diane” said.

Zebert explained how shoplifting affected her store using jeans as an example. Because of the way her store is set up, she doesn’t buy her clothes in bulk, which means every time someone walks away with a pair of jeans, the cost is double to replace them verse what larger, chain stores would. In the end, it could raise prices as much as 10%.

Zebert told “Diane”, “You see a lot of doors close because they just can't keep up with the loss prevention and the struggling economy as it is." “Diane” replied, "We don't think about that when we are taking whatever we want, or need."

Perhaps it's the setting of Zebert's Sarpy County boutique, or the fact that “Diane” served two separate stints in jail for stealing that a conversation between the two could take place. “It's tough because I don't want to spend my money on loss prevention but I know from being a business owner for almost 3 years that is something that I have to do,” Zebert said.

"It seems like it was just yesterday that I did it (stole) because it is still deep inside me but two years now and I feel really good. I am proud of myself that I've done it," “Diane” said. She said she has committed no thefts in two years and is working day-to-day to make sure it stays that way.

"A lot of places, stores that don't have any cameras at certain spots and we find those out, we know where to go,” “Diane” said offering advice on how to spot others like her while offering insight at the same time was refreshing. "I didn't care. Now, I know why prices keep going up it because of all the stuff we take,” “Diane” said.

Within the last few months, “Diane” a mother and grandmother, is now leading a group of both young and old, men and women through a weekly counseling workshop.


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