A lesson for thieves


Once a teacher always a teacher. I’ve spent 27 years working with learners of English from all over the world. Some were students, others unemployed. Some were professional athletes, others owners of their own business. Some needed English for pleasure purposes, others to get a promotion at work. There were those who also needed to specialize, for example, a lawyer who wanted to start practising commercial law or a doctor who wished to become a pediatrician. What about thieves? I’ve never had one for a student (as far as I know) but even a thief can choose to specialize. Here are some of them:

  1. shoplifting
  2. burglary
  3. mugging
  4. armed robbery
  5. pickpocketing

Let’s now take a look at the differences.

  1. SHOPLIFTING – You walk into a shop with a big coat. You see something you like (a bracelet, a scarf, a chocolate) and pick it up. You look around you, check that no-one is looking at you and put the item inside a pocket. Then, you casually walk out of the shop without paying
  2. BURGLARY – You know that the family down the road are well-off and that they’re away on holiday for a few days. One night you smash a window at the back of their house, go in a steal their flat screen TV and some smaller items. It’s also BURGLARY if you break into an office or store when it’s closed
  3. MUGGING – You prefer working outside. Therefore, armed with a gun (or another weapon), you decide to go up to people walking on the street or in a park,  and ask them for their phone or money or jewelry. They see your weapon and decide it’s better to obey your request
  4. ARMED ROBBERY – It was a bad day on the street and you haven’t stolen much. However, as you go past a bank you decide to walk in, go up to the cashier and demand a bagful of money. As you still have the gun in your hand, you quickly receive the cash
  5. PICKPOCKETING – You never liked guns or knives; they’re dangerous. Also, you enjoy being with people, lots of them. Market places, crowded buses, clubs or busy shopping malls are your sort of workplace. While someone is busy looking at things on a stall, you carefully slip your hand into their trouser pocket or handbag and pull out a purse or smart phone

There you are, Mr or Ms Thief. Have I helped you decide on your specialization?


Over to you …

Thief is the person committing the crime, victim the one who has their things stolen. Have you ever been a victim of one of these crimes?

Write in with your experience. Where and when did it happen? What did you lose? How did you feel?

You can use the form below.

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