Man Shoplifts Chinese Character From Tattoo Parlor

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The Santa Monica Police Department has released this photo of the missing goods.

SANTA MONICA―An unidentified shoplifter left La Pistola Tattoo Parlor with a stolen tattoo of the Chinese character for “strength” on his lower back, police reported Tuesday.

Security camera footage shows the shoplifter entering the tattoo parlor around 7:30 p.m. He appears to bump into one of the employees before apologizing and hastily leaving the store. However, closer examination suggests that this was not just a simple accident.

“If you watch the tape closely, he briefly brushes his exposed skin against the needle for about 25 seconds,” said Officer Chris Riviera of the Santa Monica Police Department. “For an experienced tattoo thief, that’s more than enough time to snag a cool butterfly or maybe a Dr. Seuss quote. In that brief moment of confusion, the artist probably won’t even notice that she’s settling on a final design or taking rigorous sanitation precautions before etching the image into his skin. Classic misdirection.”

In 2014 alone, shoplifters managed to sneak away with $300,000 worth of tigers, anchors, and “RIP Jimmy” from tattoo parlors across Southern California. La Pistola in particular has vowed to improve their security standards, and is training their employees to recognize the warning signs of theft.

“I don’t even understand how someone could steal a tramp stamp without anyone noticing,” said La Pistola employee Nick Ferrier. “Probably hid it under his shirt, I guess.”

Nonetheless, there have been some reports of shoplifters deciding to come clean and return their stolen merchandise, and the artists at La Pistola hope that they too will see their missing tattoo again soon.

“Whoever you are, if you’re reading this, we hope you have a change of heart,” said Ferrier. “A change of flaming, dagger-pierced heart, with ‘Mom’ written on a curvy ribbon and roses on either side.”