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"Please let me sleep in my own bed tonight." - Howard Tayler
Ramblings of a Happy Cartoonist
"Please let me sleep in my own bed tonight."
This is the plea of the barcode-switching, price-scamming, college freshman shoplifter Jonathan Baldino after getting busted trying to buy a $149 ipod for $4.99 at Target.

The whole story is here. Me, I think a few nights in jail will do the kid good. He may even get college equivalency credit for DON'T STEAL STUFF YOU MORON 101.

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bladespark From: bladespark Date: December 4th, 2005 08:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
"I am extremely sad now"? Ha! There is such a thing as genuine remorse, but that isn't it. That's a transparent and pathetic attempt to get off the hook.
(Deleted comment)
quatch From: quatch Date: December 4th, 2005 09:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
why are we hearing his plea though? Isn't that stuff confidential?
bladespark From: bladespark Date: December 4th, 2005 09:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Only if he's trying to keep it so. My guess is he's whining to anybody who will listen, in hopes of getting some sympathy.
stevenehrbar From: stevenehrbar Date: December 4th, 2005 09:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
He's damn lucky I won't be determining his sentence. Premediatated, preplanned, repeated theft, with a plea for leniency I wouldn't take from a fifteen-year-old, much less an adult Electrical Engineering major.
ceejayoz From: ceejayoz Date: December 4th, 2005 09:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh, I saw that.

If I got a whiny letter like that I'd be throwing the book at him, and it looks like they are - felony forgery instead of just the misdemeanors he'd likely have gotten normally.

He's not sorry for what he did, he's sorry someone found out, and sorry there's a *gasp* penalty!
memeatron From: memeatron Date: December 5th, 2005 11:13 am (UTC) (Link)
He's not sorry for what he did, he's sorry someone found out, and sorry there's a *gasp* penalty!

On its own, the threat of possible future punishment is rarely sufficient to deter an undesired behavior.

Performing a behavior that could result in the aforementioned punishment, and not getting punished reinforces the behavior. (It leads to, "I don't get caught for breaking a rule," thinking.)

Increasing the magnitude of the punishment has a much smaller impact on how well it suppresses the undesired behavior than you'd expect it to.

Aside from applying to this particular thief's behavior, I see the consequences of the aforementioned "rules" every day while driving. People speed, cut people off... They do all sorts of crazy and illegal stuff. Why? They know about the same traffic laws I know about. They see the same accidents - often injurious or even fatal - on I-35 and Mopac in Austin, TX. Why do they put themselves and the people around them at risk? Because people - all people - are very good at believing that bad things will not happen to them. Bad things happen to other people but not to you. This thief didn't have sufficient additional deterrents to block bad behavior, succeeded in the behavior (and was thereby "rewarded" for it), and continued to engage in it until he was caught.

I know it sounds corny, but (in addition to blaming the thief himself) I blame the thief's upbringing. Relying exclusively on laws and security systems to ensure that people will, "be good," is insufficient. Building a healthy social compass is a critical part of becoming a mature adult.

wolfrick From: wolfrick Date: December 4th, 2005 09:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
When I worked at a beer store ten years ago, we had an off-duty police officer who would come act as paid security in his regular uniform.
He told me about a case where a man was caught enacting a similar scam.
He'd pre-print barcode labels on his computer at home, and bring the labels in his day-planner. He'd choose moderately expensive items like televisions and stereo components, and get the barcode info from a low-end model and affix the fake label over the real barcode of a high-end model. Then he'd buy it for the price of the low-end model, go to a different store and RETURN the item after removing the fake barcode.
According to my buddy the cop, the guy spent his days working this scam as his "job", then spent all the money he "earned" buying Magic: The Gathering cards.
He was caught when a customer noticed him remove something from his day-planner and stick it onto a box. He was apparently quite a traveller, and may not have even had a home residence. The cop said his truck was FULL of stolen merchandise and thousands and thousands of Magic cards.
It's sad what people will resort to in order to satisfy their particular addictions or obsessions.
gurgi From: gurgi Date: December 4th, 2005 10:10 pm (UTC) (Link)


This is why I stopped playing that game...

*In best Yoda voice*
Geekdom leads to Collectable Card Game starter decks...

Collectable Card Game starter decks lead to expensive expansion packs...

Expensive expansion packs lead to Prison Shower Rape...
randytayler From: randytayler Date: December 4th, 2005 10:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love when crooks get caught.
gurgi From: gurgi Date: December 4th, 2005 10:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Especially the whiney ones...
gurgi From: gurgi Date: December 4th, 2005 10:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

You know...

If he'd been caught doing something like that in a Vegas casino, Lord knows what they would have done to him...

He'll probably end up with probabtion, since he's most likely without a criminal record (Or at least without one that isn't sealed)...

I hope he gets jail time though... And that he gets a "friendly" cell mate...

Talk about getting it in the end...


What? Don't you judge me...
zoyx From: zoyx Date: December 4th, 2005 11:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
He is right about one thing, he is a kid. His age may be 18/19 years old, but he is definitely acting like a kid.
uplinktruck From: uplinktruck Date: December 5th, 2005 08:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I disagree.

18 years old is plenty old enough to know right from wrong. What he was doing is plain and simple stealing. By six or seven he should have known that was wrong. His own letters express remorse only at finding out the penalty was so severe. (Sounds like he was used to whining his way out of trouble at home. Funny how that doesn't work in the real world, isn't it?)

But don't worry, Colorado's prisons are very crowded. They're not interested in jailing this dweeb for any significant length of time. He'll probably get shock probation and then if he's good for two or three years and makes restitution the entire matter will simply evaporate. He moves on with no record (that the public can get to) and a powerful life lesson.
From: tariq_kamal Date: December 5th, 2005 01:26 am (UTC) (Link)

Mmm, chatspeak.

And now, chat-speak theatre!
JBaldino: omg guyz im so sorryy dun jail me plz let me go im just a kid :((( lol.
Denver Police Department: omg kid were so sorryyy we haf to book u coz ur a legal adult now and no1 iz above teh law lol.
So sorry, lol.
twelvefootnine From: twelvefootnine Date: December 5th, 2005 01:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Okay, he was re-pricing a $150 item for $5 and he thought he could get away with it?


This is doing nothing for the suave, romantic and rebellious reputations established by the cunning rapscallions and n'er-do-wells of yesteryear.

zeldaar From: zeldaar Date: December 5th, 2005 03:40 am (UTC) (Link)


he *did* get away with it, repeatedly.
what he's sorry about is that he did it just *one* time too many.
jecook From: jecook Date: December 5th, 2005 08:15 am (UTC) (Link)
What a dolt.
bryan314 From: bryan314 Date: December 5th, 2005 10:45 am (UTC) (Link)

Two charges they missed

They forgot to charge him with criminal stupidity (a capital offense eventually) and wanting an ipod in the first place (over-priced, under-featured, status symbol... I'll stick to my MP3 players...but hey, it's got a pretty face!).

I look forward to seeing this guy win a darwin some day.
howardtayler From: howardtayler Date: December 6th, 2005 10:36 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Two charges they missed

The principal advantage iPods have over everything else is that you can work them like a stereo -- blindfolded, you can skip, pause, rewind, adjust volume, etc. Every other device I've had has failed that test miserably.

If you want to play music, the device you use should have the right set of controls.

From: raffy9110 Date: December 5th, 2005 09:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

amoral kids

There was an article recently about this 20 year old, who was living in his parents basement. No mention if he had a job, though it's possible. But he became upset because his parents refused to pay his car insurance. This caused him grave distress. So, after due consideration, he determined a solution to his problem. He lit his bed on fire, and went to WalMart to by himself a new DVD. Luckily a neighbor alerted his folks to the smoke coming from their basement, and they were able to evacuate themselves and their other children, while neighbors called the fire department. A while later, the young male returned home, where he was confronted by a policeman. He readily admitted lighting his bed ablaze, explaining that he was distraught over his parents refusal to pay for his car insurance. The policeman asked if it hadn't occurred to him that his family members might have been injured, and wasn't he concerned about this. He agreed that the thought had crossed his mind, but he REALLY cared about his car; it's a red Camaro !

I was a bit disappointed that the article didn't mention whether he had been hauled off to jail yet, or what his parents reaction to this was. Talk about a seriously screwed up world view.... MoveOn will be recruiting THIS one !
maritzac From: maritzac Date: December 5th, 2005 10:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have very little sympathy for anyone who steals, not to eat or for food or medicines, but for high-priced shiny things.

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