Former professional shoplifter rips NYC's plans for social service kiosk: 'Don't think I'd have batted an eye'
A former professional shoplifter panned New York City's plans to install social service kiosks in stores to incentivize shoplifters not to steal.
Pierceon Bellemare said if he was shoplifting and saw a kiosk on the way out the door, he wouldn’t stop.
"If the kiosk provided fentanyl or money, I might stop. But if there's a pamphlet for social services, I don't think I would have batted an eye at that," he explained on "Jesse Watters Primetime" this week.
Bellemare shared that he shoplifted because it fed his drug addiction and the lifestyle he was living. He added that if someone gave him a welfare check and a place to stay to incentivize him to stop the criminal behavior, he would find a way to work around the system and use the money to feed his addiction.
"I would have taken it and I would have figured out a way to use those resources in order to then continue to feed my addiction and turn it into basically monetary value. And until I was then apprehended and served consequences, which were jail time and a lot of jail time and facing prison time--that's when I was really able to look at my life and realize I don't think I'm going in the right direction," he told host Jesse Watters.
Bellemare said he turned his life around after serving time in jail and has been sober for six years.
The former professional shoplifter spoke out against soft-on-crime policies, explaining that they don’t work.
"I don't think there's a lot of places now where we are forcing detoxes in places where people can get the help that they need versus just a Band-Aid on a symptom that we've been seeing for decades," he said.
He added that his drug addiction started as "just partying and having fun."
"Then the next thing you know, I have a needle in my arm and I can't stop doing it because I'm physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually addicted," he recalled. "And the only way that I was able to stop was having be put away in a place where I had no access to those substances for a certain amount of days so that I could clear my head and work a program and get my feet going."
Watters asked if there was a spiritual component to the growing number of addicts across the country.
"My personal experience is, yes, I believe that we are living in a world where that has been ignored and there is something deeper that I think we need to look at," Bellemare responded. "It seems like we're living in a very self-centered and self-seeking world. And the moment that I realized that there's things [sic] other than me on this planet, and I'm not a victim and I have the power of choice to be a better person, that's when I was able to really move forward."