A German woman is notorious for getting a sexual rush from shoplifting.

By Jack Boulware
September 29, 2000 11:20PM (UTC)
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Residents of northern Germany are well aware of the shoplifter known to the public as Baerbel B. For several years, the 41-year-old woman has made headlines for her peculiar brand of thievery. She is not a kleptomaniac. She doesn't steal because she's poor and needs the stolen items. She shoplifts because she gets a sexual rush whenever she is caught in the act. This month, a judge finally put a temporary end to her bizarre fetish by throwing her in prison.

A court in Neustadt am R|benberge heard the story of the woman's criminal past, in which she had been arrested numerous times for theft. Three years ago a Hanover District Court dropped the charges against her concluding that she couldn't be responsible for her own actions.


Details surfaced about her looting methods, in which she pilfered random items that appeared to make no sense at all. Although she owns no pets, she entered stores and stole dog food. She attempted to steal pairs of shoes that weren't even her size. Most recently, she tried to steal a hammer drill worth around $73. So why did she do all this? She stood before judge Harald Zimbehl and provided a motivation that belongs in the pages of Richard Krafft-Ebbing's "Psychopathia Sexualis."

"I have an orgasm whenever a department store detective discovers me stealing and grabs my shoulder from behind," she told the court.

The judge sentenced her to 14 months in prison, where it's possible she will resume her erotic pursuits by stealing items from the cafeteria and laundry.

Jack Boulware

Jack Boulware is a writer in San Francisco and author of "San Francisco Bizarro" and "Sex American Style."

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