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"Hi, hi! The more important it is to others, the more it's worth to steal. It's great watching dithered faces!"
The Thief, Disgaea 3

Kleptomania, from the Greek root words kleptein (to steal) and mania (obsession with, madness). In the real world, it's an obsession with collecting or hoarding things (which are typically small items like paperclips or pens, which the sufferer may or may not be even aware they stole) with no regard to any material gain. While it might seem quite mild, it can lead to compulsive shoplifting and is often comorbid with personality disorders, which can make things even worse.

In fiction, it's the trait of a Lovable Rogue and is frequently played for laughs. "Sufferers" tend to outright enjoy the act of theft, steal anything that isn't nailed down (particularly if it's valuable, in contrast to Real Life sufferers), gleefully enjoy the material rewards, and may well be a Karma Houdini for this (compared to actual sufferers of kleptomania, who feel an impulse to steal regardless of the value of the item and often feel guilty afterwards). They are distinguished from other thief-related tropes by the fact that they steal for the pleasure of stealing and frequently have trouble leaving something valuable be. They may or may not be outright described as suffering from kleptomania. Sympathetic characters are often Mr. Vice Guy.

In the animal realm, this is a trait of packrats, ferrets, monkeys, and some birds, most famously magpies.

Compare For the Evulz. Characters who might have this trait include the Lovable Rogue, the Gentleman Thief (particularly if they do it out of boredom), and the Token Evil Teammate. They are often an Impossible Thief. The Kleptomaniac Hero is given this trait by the player's own actions (which may be lampshaded as this trope) but not necessarily characterized as such. This character may make liberal use of their Five-Finger Discount card. See also Sleight of Handiness.

You know they've met their match when you hear the words "Oi! Give Me Back My Wallet!"

Also not be confused with a certain Stand, or the The Rolling Stones' album it references either. See Thieving Pet for the animal version of this trope.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Asian Animation 
  • Caesar from Doby & Disy is a literal cat burglar who will impulsively steal anything from signs to ice cream, often impeding Doby and Disy's adventures as he does so.

    Comic Books 
  • Black Moon Chronicles: Even after becoming a powerful general in Wismerhill's army, Pile-ou-Face is often seen robbing people of their purses in the background.
  • Jax from Jax Epoch and the Quicken Forbidden stole a notepad and a spellbook and magic gloves and boots.
  • Kieszonka (Pocket) from Lil i Put series is a pick-pocket, almost always seen either trying to steal something or running away after being caught red-handed (unless she's already in jail).
  • "Fingers", a stage magician and thief encountered by Lucky Luke once. Not only will he constantly pickpocket everyone around him (which means he cannot be kept in prison because he will casually disarm the guards and steal their keys), but he will regularly offer you your wallet, gun, and underwear back, as a gesture of goodwill.
  • Tabitha "Boom-Boom" Smith, in Warren Ellis's Nextwave "possesses the mutant powers of blowing things up and stealing all your stuff."
  • Tintin: "The Secret of the Unicorn", a kleptomaniac named Aristides Silk steals Tintin's wallet which contains a Plot Coupon. It turns out that, similar to Real Life kleptomaniacs, he feels rather guilty about his actions; he sorts the stolen wallets by the owner's name. Thomson and Thompson end up walking out with their arms full of their own stolen wallets, and their countermeasures have varying degrees of success and slapstick.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Vol 1 villain Byrna Brilyant, otherwise known as "Blue Snowman", is a Mad Scientist with a twist; nearly all of her impressive tech other than the robots themselves started out as stolen from other scientists or laboratories where it was either left aside unfinished until she took an interest, had potential for use in her schemes with a few tweaks or was just a project she was curious about.
    • Wonder Woman: Black and Gold: In "The Golden Age", after helping stop a bank robbery, Etta Candy tries to sneakily make off with all the bank's free candy.

    Fan Works 
  • In All Guardsmen Party, Nubby Nubbs is noted to firmly believe that it's not stealing if they didn't belong to your unit and didn't really need it (and if they're enemies, it's not stealing especially if they need it). He thus is usually the one to provide the party with extra supplies.
  • Arcanum: Ruby will gladly steal anything that isn't attached and won't be immediately noticed as missing, from money and jewelry to mundane things such as clean robes.
  • Cheating Death: Those That Lived: Jack Tylos from Seven revels in being a "master thief". His skills range from picking pockets to robbing banks, and he's never caught after reaching adulthood. It starts as a way for him to keep himself fed on the streets of District 7, and then to win the Hunger Games when he smuggles a stolen taser into the arena. Later in life, he hides stolen weapons around victor hangouts for them to use against the Capitol when the Rebellion comes. When one of the children of his fellow victor Snag is reaped, the largest bank in the Capitol is robbed by a mysterious figure who makes a clean getaway, with Snag realizing that Jack did it to get sponsor money for his daughter.
  • In Cycles Upon Cycles, Shepard's enhancements come with a side of Kleptomaniac Hero. He usually doesn't even notice he's stealing things until his teammates ask for their stuff back, though he occasionally gets the urge for more blatant thievery.
  • In Kira Is Justice, the protagonist's sister, Kate, is a kleptomaniac.
  • In Pacific: World War II U.S. Navy Shipgirls, this is Lexington's thing, usually taking the more exotic equipment out for a spin, she surprisingly has standards when it comes to taking stuff.
  • Ultra Fast Pony has Applejack stealing random stuff, off-screen. Like trees, bicycles, and medical supplies.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Tangled, Flynn lifts the satchel with their loot from his own partners in the opening — and at the conclusion, lifts Rapunzel's tiara — giving it back after a dirty look.
  • From the film The Thief and the Cobbler, who else but the Thief? He steals pretty much everything he can possibly get his hands on and tries to steal several things he shouldn't even try to get his hands on. At the end of the film, he also steals all the letters from the words "The End", and then goes on to steal the film strip itself.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A Christmas Horror Story: Clarice's boyfriend applauds her sticky fingers after she steals the keys to the school for Molly and the others. Later Played for Drama when she confesses that she constantly steals stuff without knowing why and wonders if that's why Krampus is attacking her family.
  • Allison from The Breakfast Club, who steals the lock to Bender's locker, his knife, Brian's wallet, and a patch from Andrew's jacket.
  • Bubble: Rose steals money from Kyle's drawer during their date. She is also seen with the gold watch that was on the dresser of the house she was cleaning. Her ex-boyfriend accuses her of stealing money and weed from his home, which seems likely.
  • Tangerine of Bullet Train is implied to be a kleptomaniac, swiping biscuits from the snack cart and a child's stuffed toy at different points. He says it's like a compulsion, he's unaware he's doing it when it's happening, and he really wishes he could stop.
  • In The Charge at Feather River, Pvt. Cullen is in the guardhouse for stealing (and drunkenness). Throughout the Brigade's mission, he keeps filching things: most commonly Smiley's canteen full of booze.
  • In Descendants, this is a habit Jafar has raised his son Jay to have. At several points in the movie, we see him unloading various trinkets he's nicked, including phones, jewelry, wallets, even an entire laptop. At one point, he steals the hood ornament off of a limousine. When asked about it, he says: "it's like buying everything I want... except it's free."
  • In The Getting of Wisdom, the half-Asian student Annie, one of Laura's few genuine friends, has a habit of stealing items from the boarding school staff, particularly money and jewelry. Once they find out, she is immediately expelled.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): Rocket, being as he is a racoon, doesn't understand the notion that taking something that belongs to someone else is illegal, even if he wants it more. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, he kicks off the plot by stealing the item the Guardians were hired to protect, trying to justify it when the owners come after the Guardians to kill them all for this on the grounds they were being "high and mighty", but Yondu later calls him on having done it just because he could.
  • Help!: The Beatles visit a jeweler seeking help to remove a ring stuck on Ringo's finger - in the background, George casually pockets several bits of merchandise.
  • In Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Marv engages in some petty theft with literal sticky fingers: covering one of his hands in tape and then sticking it into a Salvation Army bucket full of change as he walks by.
  • How High: In the scene where Silas is making the "special brownies" for Dean Cain, I Need Money tries (but fails) to steal the milk bottle.
  • There is a character from the movie If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium who starts the trip with an empty suitcase. By the end of the film, the suitcase is full of stuff he's pilfered, including a life preserver from a cruise boat.
  • The Last Detail: Two navy personnel have prisoner escort detail for another sailor who is a kleptomaniac. Throughout the movie he keeps producing chocolate bars etc from his clothing, always insisting "I bought it" to their suspicious looks.
  • In Penelope (1966), the eponymous character is kleptomaniac and can't help but stealing things just for the sake of it. She also robs a bank solely because she Desperately Craves Affection from her banker husband who's too Married to the Job to really care about her.
  • Emmett Ray from Sweet and Lowdown appears to be an easily diagnosable kleptomaniac.
  • Alvin Firpo from Trapped In Paradise is frequently seen stealing stuff, regardless of whether or not it has any practical value.
  • Whirlpool: Ann Sutton is a rich, bored housewife who has been caught stealing several times.
  • White Wolves II: Legend of the Wild: Crystal is doing community service because she was accused of theft, and it's implied she's guilty, as she is seen shoplifting, and steals Mason's altimeter on a whim.
  • In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Quicksilver's basement is full of stolen goods such as several TVs, a Pong arcade machine, and an entire shelf of junk food. His mother, upon opening the door, assumes Wolverine and co. are cops and simply offers to cut a check for whatever he stole.
  • ZigZag from Zig Zag (2002) had a problem with shoplifting even before he stole Mr. Walters' money.

  • Curate Hawes from The Murder at the Vicarage is responsible for the misappropriation of the Church funds, and is likely the cause of the disappearance of a pound note which the Vicar mentioned at the beginning of the novel.
  • Anne Meredith from Cards on the Table is a known thief who committed murder after her employer discovered her stealing habits.
  • Alton the butler from Lord Edgware Dies discovered the victim's body and did not report it immediately. Instead, he saw it as an opportunity to steal cash that was lying about nearby.
  • Played with in Hickory Dickory Dock, when it seems there's one of these at large in a student boarding house. Not only was Celia actually faking to get the attention of a psychiatry student she's in love with, but she was actually given the idea by a fellow lodger... who turns out to be the accomplice of a third resident who is a smuggler and used Celia's faked condition to disguise the creeping around he had to do in the course of his activities.
  • One clever thief wasn't a kleptomaniac. Instead, she worked for an elderly lady who was, letting her take the blame for expensive forks going missing when she went missing.
  • Mulch, the kleptomaniac dwarf from the Artemis Fowl series. He also likes to steal things just for the challenge.
  • The Cat Who... Series: Book #19 (The Cat Who Tailed a Thief) has a string of random thefts in Pickax in December, which prove to be the work of a kleptomaniac, Danielle Carmichael.
  • Discworld:
    • Moist von Lipwig — it's a Running Gag that he keeps stealing Drumknott's pencil and certain samples of paper.
    • Nobby Nobbs. Thud! brings up the problem of why Nobby is allowed to be on the City Watch despite his thieving ways. It's because he's an old friend of Sam Vimes, he seldom steals anything of value, and (like Fred Colon) has a keen ability to read the mood on the streets as well as his ability to sneak around where the (worse) criminals can't see him. Nobby's ability to steal without being seen has also come in handy a few times and is part of the reason he is still employed.
    • The Nac Mac Feegle are an entire race of people with a deep and abiding love of stealing (and drinking, and fighting, preferably all at the same time). Fittingly, the "Big Man" of the main Feegle clan in the Tiffany Aching series is Rob Anybody, which seems to be as much a description as a name.
  • Endling: Renzo is a skilled thief, and tends to loot as the group travels, to Khara's displeasure.
  • Meparik from Heralds Of Rhimn. He happily steals an acorn bracelet and at least five wallets during Shadow Herald alone, two of which are attached to a Give Me Back My Wallet moment. Given that he steals both for the thrill and to survive, this doubles as an example of the Five-Finger Discount.
  • In Heralds of Valdemar Skif, a former street urchin and thief, tends to pickpocket people for fun. He also plays a lot of pranks that involve stealing and/or breaking in.
  • Magnet from Holes. Things just seem to stick to him wherever he goes. Unfortunately, a lot of those items don't belong to him, so he wound up at the juvenile camp.
  • In The Iron Teeth, goblins don't steal. Humans are just really touchy about people rescuing shinies they leave lying around.
  • The eponymous Locke Lamora, of The Lies of Locke Lamora, once had it said about him that "if he had a bloody gash across his throat and a physiker was trying to sew it up, Lamora would steal the needle and thread and die laughing. He... steals too much." Lamora was 5 years old at the time.
  • Jeremy Koji in The Mental State is an inmate who suffers from kleptomania. The main character actually weaponizes this as part of a complicated plan to maintain indefinite control over the prison populace and infiltrate the primary antagonist's organisation. By the end of the story, Jeremy is completely cured of his condition, as his new life as a police informant is more than exciting enough to fill the void that was bothering him.
  • In the second era of the Mistborn series, Wayne, the PTSD-suffering sidekick of Wax, will frequently steal small items. Sometimes he does it for a specific purpose, sometimes for no apparent reason. He always leaves something in exchange, though, but the value is not always similar. Wayne insists that he is trading, even if the value is completely disproportional, i.e. stealing a ludicrously expensive aluminum gun from the police and leaving a drawing of it in its place or in the inverse case, stealing a minor item and leaving an aluminium bullet behind.
    • It gets to the point when the heroes discover that a certain Artifact of Doom was stolen, they immediately stare at him out of habit, even though he'd never entered the vault before. Turns out that he did steal the artifact, but didn't realize what it was. The real treasure was never inside the vault, instead hidden as part of a statue at the entrance. Wayne lifted it (this time without replacement because the building was abandoned), thinking it was an expensive chunk of solid aluminum.
  • Monster of the Month Club: Sweetie Pie keeps snagging things that match her likes from Rilla and, in one incident, another guest's room, forcing Rilla to quietly return them.
  • Jean de Flambeur from The Quantum Thief is a Gentleman Thief of the Transhuman Age and is used to stealing things like time, minds or planets, but he still compulsively pickpockets people around him to stay in shape. At times it's actually useful.
  • Roys Bedoys: In "No Stealing, Roys Bedoys!", Roys keeps stealing food and toys from the other kids.
  • So This Is Ever After: Lila is a thief who's cheerfully, unapologetically kleptomaniacal, constantly stealing things wherever she goes. She met Arek and Matt through stealing from them.
  • The main character of Mary Anderson's book, Step On a Crack suffers from an odd sort of kleptomania where she feels compelled to steal certain items over and over in conjunction with nightmares and occasional fugue states. All of her problems stem from repressed memories of her real mother.
  • Villains by Necessity: Arcie is the former leader of the (now defunct) Thieves Guild and pockets everything he comes across, even if they happen to be owned by his traveling companions.
  • Played for Drama (a small amount of drama) in the X-Wing Series novel Wraith Squadron. A bit character who interviews to join the eponymous squadron is rejected when he, apparently compulsorily, swipes a framed picture from the commander's desk. (It's mentioned that he is facing charges for several other equally petty thefts, but is confident he'll be cleared.)

    Live-Action TV 
  • An episode of ALF dealt with this when one of Tanner's neighbors is revealed to be a kleptomaniac. Alf caught her stealing some of the family's jewelry and confronted her son, who he had become friends with, and he had to explain that his mother simply couldn't help it.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): Romo Lampkin likes to "borrow" small items from people such as Laura Roslin's glasses or a button from Admiral Adama's jacket. This habit becomes plot-relevant when Apollo goes through his stash and finds an item that reveals the culprit behind a series of bombings.
  • Big Sky: Scarlet steals a small item in her first scene, and says later that she's a kleptomaniac, getting a thrill out of doing this.
  • The Brittas Empire: It is revealed in the episode "Sex, Lies, and Red Tape" that every time Helen falls pregnant, she gains the urge to shoplift unnecessary stuff (one of the things shoplifted was a wedding dress that was too small for her). She had been convicted at least seven times before the events of that episode, leading to her freaking out when she was caught.
  • Gina from Brooklyn Nine-Nine apparently has a habit of swiping objects and Terry has to specifically task Rosa to keep an eye on Gina when they visit Holt's house. Unfortunately, she'd already stuffed her bag full of loot.
  • Faith in her early appearances on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Dawn started doing this late in Season 5, and it became a serious issue in Season 6 when the Dysfunction Junction was at its worst.
  • Eerie, Indiana: In both "Mr. Chaney" and "Zombies in P.J.s", Dash X can be seen at the World O' Stuff shoplifting a trench coat's worth.
  • ER. Luka gets his new girlfriend a job at the hospital. It's soon offhandedly mentioned that the petty cash is missing. Later, Abby mentions that she can't find her wallet. Later still, the desk clerk is looking for his PDA when he hears it chiming (he sets an alarm to remind him to take his medication) from the girl's purse. Sure enough, she has it, and everyone instantly realizes that she's responsible for everything else. She takes off, and in his futile efforts to find her, Luka learns that she was also stealing from the bar where she previously worked.
  • Frasier: One woman calls into Frasier's show and reveals she's recently started stealing things because it gives her a thrill to take them. She also mentions that her friends all think she's dull and boring, implying that she started stealing to push back against that image. Her story inspires Frasier, who's recently realised how dull his own life is, to steal a keepsake from his neighbor when she asks him over to help change a lightbulb.
  • Friends: One of Rachel's Guys of the Week frequently steals cash from her purse and walks off with one of her jackets when she's not looking. When Monica calls her out for dating him Rachel counters that at least he bought her a bracelet with the money, except it turns out he stole the bracelet from Monica.
  • Game of Thrones: Even after Daenerys commands Kovarro not to steal anything from their host Xaro Xhoan Daxos, he takes a golden wine chalice, dumps the wine, and takes the chalice.
  • On Gilmore Girls, Jess, in his early episodes, would steal things for his own amusement, to alleviate Small Town Boredom after going From New York to Nowhere. It baffles his uncle, Luke, because the items he steals are of no monetary value. He swipes a garden gnome from Rory and Lorelai's neighbor and hides it in a closet, and later steals all 500 of his high school's baseballs. We never do find out what he did with them.
  • In the first episode of Heroes Angela Petrelli was established as a kleptomaniac who stole socks. It wasn't explained until Season 4.
  • Amanda from Highlander. She's more or less the Hollywood version, with a taste for expensive stuff.
  • Liv becomes one in the iZombie pilot after eating the brain of a dead Romanian escort. This also helps her figure out why the escort died (she took something she shouldn't have). One of the things Liv steals is a red Swingline stapler. At the end of the episode, after eating another brain, she replaces all the stolen items.
  • Played for Drama (and somewhat more realistically) in an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent when a couple of murderers are caught when one of them can't resist stealing an eggcup from their victims' home. This leads to a somewhat Narmy ending where her partner screams "EGGCUP!" at her while he's hauled off.
  • Parker from Leverage is an prolific pickpocket. She poses as a kleptomaniac when the team needs to infiltrate a rehab facility, and in the same episode, she pickpockets someone accidentally because it's so reflexive for her.
  • Midsomer Murders: In "Down Among the Dead Men", one of the suspects is a kleptomaniac cleaning woman who is being blackmailed by one of her clients. When Barnaby discovers her secret, she shows him a room crammed to the brim with objects she has stolen from her employers.
  • In the Crystal Gayle episode of The Muppet Show, the Prairie Dog Glee Club spend the episode snatching whatever isn't tied down, including but not limited to, Kermit's collar. As Scooter notes, they must have pack rat blood in 'em.
  • A more realistic than usual example on My Name Is Earl of all things, with a recurring character who is shamefully compelled to steal pens and only pens, regardless of how many he has already, and regardless of the fact that he doesn't even want the pens. Still Played for Laughs, though.
  • In Tricia's back-story in Orange Is the New Black, she stole even while trying to pay a store back for something else she stole.
  • Our Miss Brooks: Somebody is stealing phonebooks in the episode "Phonebook Follies".
  • Mike Hamar of The Red Green Show is a robber on parole who hasn't had an honest day's work in his life. A Running Gag is that he frequently has to return small items to the people he's talking to, having picked their pockets out of force of habit.
  • Scoundrels (2010): The West family has crime be In the Blood and they were all trained by family patriarch Wolf to be good at petty crimes, be it stealing from stores, conning motels or doing scams and blackmail. The plot of the series has his wife trying to reform the family after he gets arrested, and they all struggle with being "clean".
  • The titular character of Sherlock. He breaks his flatmate's computer password to use the laptop ("Mine was in the bedroom"), has stolen more than one of Lestrade's police IDs (he comments that he "pickpocket(s) him when he annoys me"), and has taken the precaution of taking his older brother's ID in case he might ever need it.
  • Trinkets: Elodie has kleptomania, as does Tabitha (Moe took the fall for her brother Ben). They all meet in a Shoplifters Anonymous group. Unlike most examples, this is not Played for Laughs but shown to be a destructive, debilitating addiction. Elodie especially struggles with it.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "Lost and Found", Jenny Templeton notices that the contents of her trash can and the mug that she uses for her pencils have both disappeared. She soon discovers that they were stolen by two time travelers from 2139 who wanted souvenirs as she will one day become the first President of Earth. The male time traveler returns the mug as they were only supposed to take things that Jenny wouldn't miss.
  • In Veronica's Closet, Veronica hires a new model for a fashion show and is amazed as throughout the interview, the woman constantly picks up things and puts them in her purse without the slightest acknowledgement that she's stealing. She continues this behavior throughout the show, stealing the light bulbs from the runway, blithely declaring, "Those are my light bulbs!" when Veronica confronts her. Veronica finally gets fed up and fires her when the woman has the nerve to steal her bracelet right off of her wrist and insist, "This is my bracelet!". The woman leaves in a huff, but not before taking a folding chair along with her.
  • In an episode of Waiting for God, several residents report items missing from their rooms. It turns out to be resident ditz Betty who's absent-mindedly stealing everything.
  • Neal Caffrey from White Collar has this problem, especially early in the series. As a convicted felon and confidential informant for the FBI, it probably isn't a good idea to pick his handler's pocket, yet he still does it. Even though, considering the characters, and the fact that Neal tends to give what he steals from Peter back almost immediately, this probably amounts to good-natured teasing in the context of their relationship, doing this to a federal agent doesn't say much for Neal's self-preservation. Lampshaded by Mozzie, another thief who likes stealing things just as much, but does not have the impulse control of a two-year-old.
    Mozzie (after Neal steals a painting despite the fact that it would be incredibly obvious that he stole it, and he could go back to prison for a long time if someone found out): You're like a child.
  • An episode of Zoey101 has Coco getting fired and the school getting a new dorm advisor who's better than Coco in every way until Zoey and her friends discover that she has been stealing from students and staff, which she blames on mental illness. The last scene of the episode shows her stealing the dean's car.

  • "How Many Tbone Steaks Can I Fit In My Pants," by BA Johnston, is about the boss of a grocery store not giving an employee a raise, and the employee retaliates by constantly stealing from work. Even the awful toilet paper.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Changeling: The Dreaming: The Piskies aren’t exactly thieves, but items of great value somehow always end up in their pockets. When a piskey sees something she desires, she can’t help but swipe it, often without consciously making the decision to do so.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Dragonlance: The Kender are an entire race of pseudo-Hobbits who are relentless thieves that will pick pockets and break into locked chests/drawers/houses without even consciously thinking about it, to the point that the "kender greeting" from other races is to swear and protectively clutch at one's valuables. Worse, they do this out of intense natural curiosity, meaning every single kender is convinced that they're only borrowing interesting things in good faith, and will certainly return them. Except they often wander off and forget the whole thing... but they're utterly convinced that they're not doing anything wrong. In fact, accuse a kender of being a thief and he will protest at length. Kender always have dozens of pockets in which they keep their various pilfered goods. As a gameplay mechanic, a Kender can check their pockets to try and find an item of trivial value that they have stolen without remembering. This trait is one of many reasons why kender are considered The Scrappy of the setting and even of D&D as a whole.
    • Half-kender keep the kender tendency to unthinkingly "borrow" interesting things, but tend to feel worse about it as their human side lets them have a better understanding of concepts like ownership and private property. On the plus side, they tend to be better at remembering to actually return the things they pick up; on the negative side people tend to react negatively to them since they still tend to pick up things and don't look like kender so you don't realize you have to take measures to protect your stuff.
  • GURPS: The semi-felinoid alien Sparrials in the Space setting have Kleptomania as a trait in their species template.
  • Warhammer:
    • The Skaven of Clan Carrion are shameless thieves, and will gladly help themselves to anything they think they can get away with filching — even within the clan, a Skaven of Clan Carrion only truly owns what he's currently clutching in his own claws.
    • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: The Halflings are stereotyped as having sticky fingers, but the reasoning behind it is quite complex. Halflings usually live in large villages where everyone is more or less related. This leads to property rights being rather fluid; if something is missing, it's probably been borrowed by someone who needed it and who might or might not bring it back, but who really cares since we can borrow someone else's. This attitude, when transferred to human or Dwarf society (both of whom are very keen on personal property) easily comes across as skuzzy.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Blood Ravens obsessively collect artifacts of historical value, especially anything that might hold a clue to their lost history. Fanonically, this is exaggerated (perhaps not terribly so), to the point of grabbing anything that might be of historical value, a useful weapon or piece of wargear, or bling for the heck of it.
    • Orks of the Deathskulls clan have a marked tendency to filch anything that catches their eye, regardless of whether it's clearly unattended, just laying around, in another Ork's pile of stuff, or in another Ork's pockets.

  • Ox and Wedgehead from Uglydolls are compulsive thieves with the tendency to "borrow" from others without the intent of returning. They claim it's their magic trick of turning your stuff into their stuff.

    Video Games 
  • 100% Orange Juice: Marie Poppo kickstarts the plots of the various campaigns by stealing other characters’ valuables. This is also demonstrated by her Hyper “Ubiquitous” where it has her teleport to another character and steal their stars. Turns out she (or rather, they) do this to lead everyone to Tomomo.
  • Assassin's Creed III: A side-mission assigned to Connor by Daniel Boone entails the investigation of none other than the Sasquatch. Keeping with the generalized "nothing is actually supernatural" trait of the larger franchise, it turns out that the creature is actually a very big, very hairy man living in the wilderness who, when found by Connor, admits to being a kleptomaniac but is ultimately harmless. After learning the truth, Connor just leaves him alone.
  • Adventurers with the Kleptomania negative quirk in Darkest Dungeon randomly half-inch stuff out of curios in the dungeons. Unusually, it's considered to be one of the very worst quirks a hero can have, for two reasons. One, the Hamlet runs entirely on the loot economy, and anything stolen by a Kleptomaniac adventurer isn't coming back. Two, a lot of items you can interact with need a special item to make safe - keys, purifying herbs, holy water - and Kleptomaniac adventurers don't bother, meaning they tend to cost a bit more in bandages, antivenom, and medical treatments from all the blight, bleed and diseases they pick up from opening trapped chests and rooting through the guts of decaying sea creatures.
  • Billiken is a more aggressive version of this in Devil Survivor 2 - he compulsively mugs other demons (or tamers) and has no qualms about killing. Once he depletes your wallet, he can hit you with the powerful Barrage Strike move.
  • The thief units in Disgaea are given this characterisation.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, this is a cultural trait of the Khajiit. As their language has no word for "rules" and they take a rather loose view of what constitutes personal property, this is unusually Justified. In their culture, taking things that belong to others simply isn't seen as wrong. Unsurprisingly, this leads to significant Culture Clash with the other races who consider the Khajiit taking things to be "theft", and the Fantastic Racists of those races use it against the Khajiit to bar them from their cities and even to justify slavery. Additionally, Khajiit who've lived among other cultures have shown the ability to grasp the concept.
  • Moshi Monsters: Zigzagged. Tiki the toucan tends to steal objects with the intention of just borrowing them but neglecting to return them. Baz Barnacle takes things from his cousin Buck and sells them, but as far as he's concerned, he's just borrowing them. Raffles the Sneaky Tealeaf steals objects a lot but he always gives them back.
  • Overlord: Jewel the Thief is one of the Fallen Heroes who defeated the last Overlord. Representing Envy, she obsessively steals items simply for the sake of stealing them, losing all interest in the item once it's hers. She was corrupted by the Wizard, possessed by the slain Overlord, into following her base desire.
  • Shir Gold from Phantasy Star II has a random chance of stealing from every armory, armor shop, or item shop you enter with her in the party. The downside of this is that she'll also hightail back to your base, even if you're currently on an entirely different planet.
  • The twin ghosts at the Labyrinth of Amala in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne will take the nonviolent approach: they will offer you tea for a very low sum. The tea is drugged, and they will kick you and our demons back into the entrance of that Kalpa, after helping themselves to more of your money, of course.
  • The Sims 3: You can give your Sims the "Kleptomaniac" trait. It lets you swipe three items per day. However, the item your Sim steals is random.
  • Spies in The Sims Medieval can steal from other Sims as well as from the messenger posts. Because of this, spies can get more money more easily than almost any other profession.
  • Sonic The Hedgehog has Rouge the Bat, a "professional treasure hunter". Often she makes no attempt to hide how she wants to steal the Master Emerald from Knuckles, either.
  • The Villager in the Super Smash Bros. series is portrayed this way, whose Pocket move allows the Villager to grab objects not already held by someone else, store it, and use it later. This includes nearly all projectiles in the game, most of the items that occasionally drop onto the stage, and anything left on the ground by any character's moves (including things that shouldn't logically be able to fit in the Villager's trousers' pocket, such as energy blasts, lightning bolts, and Rush).
  • Garrett of Thief usually gives "the rent is due" as an excuse for his thieving, or has some other objective he needs to accomplish. However, it is clear from his actions and dialogue that he really enjoys theft and is, at least partially, Doing It for the Art. For example, when a museum in Deadly Shadows boasts that its security is impenetrable, Garrett takes it as a personal challenge.
  • Marisa Kirisame in Touhou figures that since a human lifespan is so much shorter than the lifespans of the Youkai that make up so much of the cast, she can just "borrow" whatever she wants from them, and they can have it back after she's dead. Unsurprisingly, it doesn't convince anyone, and sometimes the victim will take what's theirs back. It also just so happens that Marisa's an Immortality Seeker...
  • Nekomiya Mana of Zenless Zone Zero is semi-reformed criminal gangster who's still a firm believer that everyone's wallets are also her wallets. Regardless of whether or not she's obtained consent or you realize she has it now.

  • Thief in 8-Bit Theater, who steals from everyone (both via outright sleight of hand and contracts with legal mumbo jumbo) to finance the search for a cure for his sick father. When this is done he still steals everything that's isn't both nailed down and on fire.
  • The pixie Feiht in Chasing the Sunset regards anything shiny as there for the taking. (Spelling her name backwards gives you a clue to her personality.)
  • Sam Starfall in Freefall is good enough at pickpocketing that his sticky fingers become a problem when he tries to go honest.
  • "The Raccoon" from Kiwi Blitz. He steals "random crap" purely for thrills, and doesn't mind returning it when forced to do so. A later flashback shows that he literally has kleptomania.
  • The dungeon rats in Latchkey Kingdom like to collect "treasures", which can be actual artifacts or random junk they found and liked.
  • Megatokyo: Meimi Sonoda and her daughter Yuki. They often only realize they have stolen something when on their way home. Their kleptomania is tied to their powers. Meimi is an expy of Saint Tail.
  • Spring Clean of Star Mares is a hoarder of 'collectibles,' with a particular fascination for shiny things - including ancient mystical artifacts that are part of the inner workings of immortal cyborg generals.
  • Sette Frummagem from Unsounded. Her dad is a head of the thieves' guild, so it's no surprise that she would become a pickpocket. What is a surprise is how good she is at it.
  • Sidney Malik Of Widdershins is cursed with this. Walking through a crowd could result in an extra ten wallets with no effort from him. He isn't happy with the curse and it may have played a part in him being expelled.
  • Uru of Archipelago compulsively steals from his teammates even when transformed into a jabberwocky , and Credenza always makes him return the items or pretends she just found them and returns them herself.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • Nott in Critical Role feels especially compelled to do this when she spots fancy jewelry or attractive baubles. And in the following campaign, Fearne makes a habit of this as well, simply because she doesn't see anything wrong with taking something if she wants it.
  • Joseph from SuperMarioLogan is implied to be one, since "Joseph's House!" reveals he efficiently stole Bowser Junior's Clown Car and house painting as well as Cody's Go-Kart trophy. At the end of the video, however, Junior and Cody take the Clown Car and trophy with them when they flee from Joseph's run-down house after extremely getting scared by a Boo.

    Western Animation 
  • Centaurworld: Glendale the gerenuk centaur is a compulsive kleptomaniac, and often needs to physically restrain herself from stealing objects to hoard in the portal on her belly. She later says that taking what doesn't belong to her makes her "feel alive".
  • Swiper the Fox from Dora the Explorer is one of the most iconic examples of this trope. Once an episode showing up at random times to steal whatever is relevant to the plot from Dora and Boots. Though everyone saying "Swiper no swiping" three times before he takes anything always makes him back down.
  • DuckTales (1987): While a common thief otherwise, Dijon seems to suffer from kleptomania, being unable to resist stealing even when not intending to, including stealing worthless junk like old shoes.
  • Futurama: Bender. Just as well he seems to have near-infinite space in his chest, though in one episode he goes on such an epic spree of kleptomania that he nearly fills it up.
    Fry: Come on, Bender. I'm sure there's plenty of cool stuff to swipe.
    Bender: I don't know, Fry. I feel like, for the first time in my life, I've stolen enough.
    Fry: What?!? Snap out of it! [slaps Bender]
    Bender: Wow, thanks, buddy. Don't know what came over me. [sing-song] Oh, I love stealin'. I love takin' things.
  • In an episode of Goof Troop, Pete accidentally turns Goofy into one using hypnosis.
  • Grunkle Stan from Gravity Falls will steal anything he wants or needs, from waxworks to light bulbs. While he does have his reasons, such as having spent his late teens to his late twenties living alone in poverty, it's mostly due to his greed and the fact that he seems to genuinely enjoy breaking the law.
  • The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh has a recuring trio of packrats who steal anything that catches their eye. They insist they are not stealing because they "pay" for whatever they take by replacing it with walnuts.
  • In the 2018 reboot of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Entrapta has no moral qualms about petty theft. On two separate occasions, she steals someone's tiny food. When she needs a six-sided hex driver, she enters Hordak's sanctum without permission and takes one.
  • Homer Simpson from The Simpsons has been known to steal beer mugs from Moe's, office supplies (including computers) from work, and especially just about anything from Ned Flanders. One episode had him get a job at a Walmart parody only to find out every employee has a shock collar on their neck. When his coworkers told him they all knew how to disable the collars and steal everything that's not nailed down, they asked him not to judge them. Homer not only doesn't judge them but he steals an entire cart of TVs right then and there.

    Real Life 
  • A common misconception is that magpies steal shiny objects to line their nests, though studies seem to show that, while Magpies do indeed enjoy stealing objects, they have no attraction to shiny things over other objects, and are actually often nervous of them since they are unfamiliar and may pose a threat.
  • This ferret. Ferrets and mustelidae in general are well known for this.
  • Monkeys are known to steal food, backpacks, phones, or anything they can take from people.
  • One of the unfortunate tendencies of King Farouk of Egypt was his habit of stealing from his hosts. He famously stole a pocket watch from the British Prime Minister (nobody's quite clear whether it was Winston Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, or Clement Attlee), and filched a sword from his brother-in-law, the Shah of Iran. He thus obtained the unenviable nickname, "The Thief of Cairo." He was overthrown in 1952.

By the way, here's your wallet back. I've already memorized your credit card numbers and photocopied your driver's license.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Kleptomaniac


Laid Back - Cadge

A Laid Back Mii who's run out of healing snacks may opt to swipe one from a teammate. The teammate in question won't appreciate this...

How well does it match the trope?

4.62 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / StickyFingers

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