Kleptomaniacs need to be helped

There will be dire consequences if kleptomaniacs are left to fend for themselves (Call for support group for kleptomaniacs; May 19).

What they need is a self-help support group.

Being involved in such a support group would provide them with the opportunity to talk about their problem and also explore ways that they can be treated.

When I worked at a major supermarket chain, it was not uncommon to encounter people who shoplifted merchandise they could well afford.

Often, they were aware that their actions were wrong, but they still could not help themselves.

While the easier way out was to refer them to the police, some of them had been caught so many times that the supermarket had to engage their family members.

There were husbands who would come down to the store to pay for what their spouses had stolen. Some parents did the same for their children.

It is sad that many are unaware that kleptomania is a mental illness.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2017, with the headline 'Kleptomaniacs need to be helped'. Print Edition | Subscribe