Inside Tumblr's Weird, Bold Community of Teen Shoplifters

Meet Princessklepto and her 'lifter' friends
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2016 9:42 AM CDT
Insider Tumblr's Weird, Bold Community of Teen Shoplifters
Ulta and Sephora are reportedly popular lifter targets.   (Shutterstock)

"Keep your movements subtle and casual. No store is free of blind spots. Find one and do your concealing there." These tips for shoplifting in the face of security cameras come courtesy of a so-called Liftblr blog, Liftblr being what Good calls "Tumblr's notorious shoplifting community," which has been around since at least 2012. Members of the community, mostly young and female, give themselves names like Unicorn-Lift, Princessklepto, and Lifterslife. They blog about their thievery, posting photos of stolen merchandise, keeping a running tally of how much money they have "saved," and providing shoplifting pointers and moral support. In trying times, according to Cosmopolitan, they help their comrades work through the experience of being caught and offer advice for how to avoid detection in the future. “It’s really about sharing experiences and helping fellow lifters,” Princessklepto tells Good.

The lifters justify their behavior in a variety of ways: "I kind of lift with a Robin Hood philosophy," says one. While another explains, "I lift because I'm poor." And among their guiding principles is "Thou shalt not rip off mom-and-pop shops," per Good. Unicorn-Lift, who is 15, says, "I only lift from stores that are multi-million dollar companies"—think Sephora and Victoria's Secret. The lifters, Good writes, are taking part in "theft as activism," an idea that "infiltrates the earliest anarchist doctrines." They are performing an "anti-capitalist action," a researcher tells the website, whether they know it or not. Justifications aside, plenty of people are not enamored with the lifters (including weight lifters, who use the same moniker). Past news coverage forced many lifters into digital hiding, though a Tumblr spokesman last year told Tech Insider that " posts depicting potentially illegal activity" don't necessarily violate the terms of service. According to Good a new crop of lifters has emerged over the last year, with many marking their Tumblrs as fictional to head off potential legal repercussions. Good has much more on the trend here. (More shoplifting stories.)

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