"Nobody wants to risk their life for a fucking greeting card … "

Not taking things that don’t belong to you is a lesson instilled in most of us from the time we’re still figuring out how to pee in a toilet. It’s wrong. It’s deceitful. It’s a crime.

But lots of adults still do it, and while most of the time it’s done so out of a necessity to eat or build wealth, sometimes grown-ass people take things just because they like how it feels.

“Dirk” is a dick. He’s also an adult who steals even though he collects around $50k a year — with no kids, few student loan payments and very little responsibility. He says he knows he’s doing well for himself, and that he doesn’t have to steal to get by. He does it because he can’t (or admits that he "doesn’t want to") stop.

He doesn’t steal wallets or electronics, though. What he takes is usually insignificant crap built by the Chinese and sold to Americans at a premium. His habit has nothing to do with value. It’s all for the thrill …

First thing’s first: Why do you do it?

"For one, it’s easy. Nine times out of ten, the people hired to watch for people like me don’t care. And really, I take candy and plastic toys and (one time I took) a greeting card. There’s a lot of nuts out there, nobody wants to risk their life for a fucking greeting card."

So is it about the adrenaline?

"Kind of. It was when I started, that’s for sure. Being 12, or 13, whatever, it’s crazy to shoplift. It’s a rush. Now though, it’s still a rush, but not a crazy rush. I suppose if I went and did diamond heists or something that would be crazy — but there’s no way I’m stepping up like that. That’s when you go to jail."

Have you ever been caught?

"Oh yeah, but like I said. I’m pocketing Mentos and Red Bulls and shit. I’ve never had the cops called on me, just clerks asking me to put things back. One woman in line offered to buy me a bag of chips because she thought I was hungry and in need. That kind of stung, but I declined and went somewhere else."

How do you do it? What’s your go-to technique?

"I’ll usually have my phone out — pretending like I’m talking to someone or texting someone — with what I’m going to take in the other hand. When I put my phone away, I slip whatever it is in the same hand so it looks like I’m just putting my phone in my pocket. It probably looks stupid on camera, but it seems to work."

What’s the dumbest thing you’ve taken?

"I mean, how much time do you have? [laughs] Lots of glo-bracelets, candy, Pez dispensers, stuffed animals, macaroni and cheese boxes … lots of stuff …"

Anything too big to fit in your pocket?

"Oh yeah, when I was younger, under 21, I’d go to (the grocery store) and load up one of those Styrofoam coolers with beer. Sometimes with ice too if I was really confident. Then I’d just walk out and show up to the party. It always worked. Nobody says anything when you’re confident about it. I did it probably twenty times."

Has anyone you’ve dated found out about it?

"Maybe this is why I’m single? [laughs] I mean, probably, who knows. I’ve never been in a super serious relationship though."

Do you ever feel bad about it?

"Nah, I’m not going to mom and pop stores, or local artisans or anything. I’m at Walmart, Target, Best Buy — bigger stores owned by corporations that make a fuckload of money. How can anyone feel bad about that?"

What do you want people to get out of your story?

"I don’t think there’s a lesson to be learned by shoplifting. And I don’t really have any advice. Do what you want, basically. Life goes on."