Kleptomaniacs just all around

Kleptomania, we probably all know, is an instinctive, insatiable desire to steal everything and anything - often just for the heck of it.

Kleptomania, we probably all know, is an instinctive, insatiable desire to steal everything and anything - often just for the heck of it.

Curiously, it seems to afflict the spouses of the filthy rich, who get caught stealing worthless stuff such as lipstick and shoelaces.

Where your average thief steals bread to fill their tummy, or money to buy life's essentials, these wealthy thieves nick for the kick of not getting caught.

Getting away with "it" gives them an almighty high. So they do it over and over until they get caught, shaming their families and friends.

Lately, kleptomania seems to be hitting the dirt poor as well. There was a time in my area when Telkom and Eskom could not get done installing their facilities in the township, because every time they erected a pole and left to fetch the wire, they would return to find the pole gone.

But then the madness gets worse. Career thieves steal napkins and grannies' undies off the washing line. A couple of years back they broke into my church and stole the priest's robes.

They steal the tiny, keyless locks on public toilet doors, soap dispensers (if they can rip them off the wall), public phone receivers, traffic signs - anything.

My deceased friend Poppa told me of a known housebreaker who approached him and excitedly came to his back yard music studio and insisted on showing him the "heavy stuff" he was selling.

The thief produced a computer screen and a keyboard.

"Die's heavy goete my broer, volle computer. All that's short is the box ...."

He went on to explain that because he was "working " alone when he removed the contraband from wherever he had got it, he could not carry everything and decided to take only the most important stuff.

What the dear thief did not know was that in his haste and ignorance, he had left behind the real computer and stole almost worthless stuff that together cost not more than a few hundred rand.

Before she got involved in a car crash and landed in ICU where she is still lying comatose, my niece Thoko, who is in the medical profession, told me of a fellow who stole her stethoscope while he waited in the queue with other patients.

When she could not find the instrument anywhere, she asked security to help.

They frisked the men in the queue and duly found the stethoscope in the trouser pocket of one of the patients.

Prison warders who were in the medical facility escorting a sick patient, saw an opportunity to get some action and asked if the thief could be "loaned" to them for a while. They duly "warmed up", leaving him more sick than he was when he came in - and visibly so.

When they asked him what in the heavens he hoped to do with a stethoscope, he answered glibly that he had to "try" life, and he would "see" what to do with it.

Well, the warders saw to it that he did not get to "see"...