DEAR ABBY: I read with interest the letter from "Worried Preteens in California," who were concerned about a friend who was shoplifting.
I have been a thief my entire life. I've stolen from my family, the families of my friends, and employers, stores and strangers.
I don't know exactly why I steal -- I just do. Sometimes it's for vengeance; other times, it's for the challenge. I steal things I don't need or even want. The items usually have little or no value, and once I've gotten away with it, I wonder why I bothered.
I steal when I feel bad about myself. When life is going good, I don't even think about doing it.
"Worried" is smart not to want to be around "Joe" when he goes to the store. If he is there when Joe gets caught, he will land in jail with his pal.
Going to Joe's parents will only cause Joe to feel resentful and betrayed. "Worried" needs to tell Joe about the concerns he and his friends have -- and let Joe know that his behavior is unacceptable.
Joe also needs to know he's jeopardizing the friendship when he puts his friends in a situation that could have a lifetime of legal and career implications. If Joe doesn't change his ways, "Worried" must end the friendship. -- BEEN THERE IN PHOENIX
DEAR BEEN THERE: Thank you for sharing your personal experience, and I hope you have been the beneficiary of your own advice -- and that you sought professional help. I agree that the boys must speak up. Silence indicates approval.