DEAR ABBY: A close friend of mine -- I'll call her Jane -- is a thief. (She is 15 and I am 14.) Although her thefts are small, I know that petty thefts can turn into big ones.
Jane steals food from snack machines at school and loose change and small bills from people's purses in town. When I tell her to stop because it's wrong, her reply is, "I can't help it -- it's in my blood. I won't take anything big."
My biggest fear is that Jane WILL steal bigger stuff, because when I first noticed her taking change, it happened maybe once a month. Then it increased to once a week. Now it happens every day.
I care about Jane. She's sweet and funny. But I don't know how to get her to stop. How can I help her? Should I tell someone? Please help, Abby. -- SCARED AND HELPLESS
DEAR SCARED: If you are present when Jane steals, you become an accessory to the crime. For your own sake, as well as hers, tell your parents. They should alert Jane's parents to the fact that their daughter has a serious problem. Also, until she overcomes her compulsion to steal, it is vital that you limit your contact with her. As it stands, she is jeopardizing not only her own reputation and future, but yours as well.