Tom started thieving when he was six years old. He would pretend to go to the toilet at school but once outside the classroom he would root through the other children’s lunchboxes. He loved it when the children discovered that something was missing. Howls would go up at the lunch table when someone discovered their biscuits were missing, or worse, a chunky Kit Kat. Tom loved to hear the howls and wails of his distraught victims. He loved the sneakiness and the downright naughtiness of it all.
Yesterday he had watched as a little girl discovered her Jaffa cakes were gone.
‘Someone’s stolen my Jaffa cakes. I know my mum packed them’.
The tears flowed. Tom sat there quietly but it made him feel so powerful. What he loved most was when a big howl went up and all the dinner ladies came rushing over.
He liked to watch all the commotion and think, ‘It’s sitting in my tum. Yum, Yum’.
Tom had a mop of jet-black hair and dark brown eyes. People would often remark ‘He looks good enough to eat’. He had such a lovely look of innocence about him.
Tom’s dad was a thief so it was quite natural that Tom would follow in his footsteps.
By the time Tom was eleven he had moved on to stealing bikes.
His dad would say ‘Well done son. We’ll get £20 for that one’.
Once he reached secondary school Tom’s favourite thing was to steal from his local Spar mini market. He regarded it as a treasure trove. He would steal food, comics or stationary items which he would then sell, developing a brisk little business. He felt he was well on his way to becoming an entrepreneur.
He told his dad, ‘I’m going to be on Dragon’s Den’ and they fell about laughing.
But the end came swiftly, surprisingly as he reached his teenage years. Most of his friends started their thieving then, a little bit of shop lifting here and there, nothing major. But Tom was now a real pro at the thieving game, and anyway, his interests had changed. He had fallen in love with Nancy Evans.
Tom’s whole reason for being was to try and impress Nancy. He tried to walk home from school with her every day. She was all he thought about, and rightly so. She was gorgeous. Brown curly hair and lovely eyes that seemed to sparkle, and Tom felt that her look softened whenever she saw him.
‘What do you fancy today Nancy?’ he’d asked. She didn’t know he’d thieve it.
On this particular day as they walked home from school, Tom asked Nancy if she was hungry.
‘I could really fancy some chocolate’ she said.
‘Right you are’ replied Tom, ‘Just wait here and I’ll pop into the shop’.
He went into the shop and quickly put a large bar of fruit and nut chocolate inside his blazer.
‘Gotcha’. A hand held him by the back of the neck.
‘I’m sick of this’ said the shop keeper. He grabbed the chocolate back and threw Tom out of the shop. He landed badly and sprawled on the ground.
Nancy was now standing with a group of other teen-agers.
Tom’s face burned, sweat trickled down his back. He picked himself up off the ground and tried to walk away casually. He could still hear Nancy’s laughter as he turned up his garden path.
The shop keeper stood in the doorway and bellowed ‘You’re banned, you thieving little git’.
The laughter and jeers from the group echoed in Tom’s ears but the very worst was the look on Nancy’s face. Utter disgust, and then with a toss of her head she turned her back on him.
‘That’s it’ he thought, ‘I’m never doing it again. My thieving career is over.
But how am I going to tell dad?’