Shoplifting couple go on Dr. Phil, get house raided

The Dr. Phil Show aired a segment yesterday about a couple from San Marcos, California who are jobless and make a living by shoplifting, often in other states to avoid being recognized. The couple, identified as “Laura” and “Allen” have three small children and brag that they’ve made about $100,000 a year by stealing and re-selling stolen goods. The show billed them as “the most successful shoplifters on the West Coast” and they claim that they’ve amassed $1 million in stolen goods over the seven years they’ve been running this racket.

“Laura” and “Allen” revealed some of the bold ways they pilfer from stores, even inviting cameras to come along on a multi-state spree. Their methods include using store bags that they smuggle in, using their children as decoys, and running “buy 1 get one” schemes where one of them will buy an item and pass the receipt off to the other, who will grab a second item for free. They’ve never been caught.

The couple went on the show without disguising their faces or voices, and said they’re coming out with this now in order to stop their life of crime. Dad of three and professional thief “Allen” told Dr. Phil why they’re going public: ” Putting it out in the open and knowing that everybody has seen us now, it will help us to not want to go to the stores, because we’re going to feel like they’re going to recognize us now. I think it’s something to help us to stop, because my cover’s blown.”

It looks like “Allen” got his wish because his house got raided last week. His real name is Matthew Eaton:

A couple whose house was raided by a fraud task force may be linked to their appearance on the “Dr. Phil” television show.

A couple appeared on an episode of the TV show titled “Shoplifting Confessions” Nov. 19, saying they were “professional shoplifters” who have amassed nearly $1 million in stolen goods, according to the show’s Web site. They were identified as Laura and a man who used the names Matthew and Allen.

A lawyer representing Laura and Matthew A. Eaton of San Marcos said the couple appeared on the show in November, but declined to say whether they were guests on that episode or to discuss it further.

A spokesman for the San Diego Regional Fraud Task Force, which conducted the raid on the house on the 1400 block of Leslie Court on Thursday, wouldn’t disclose the reason for the raid or if it was connected to the TV show.

“It’s still early on in the investigation,” said Greg Meyer, special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service San Diego Field Office. “There have been no arrests at this point and no indictments at this point.”

According to the TV show’s Web site, a woman named Laura said the couple stole goods in other states, such as Arizona and Nevada, to avoid being recognized.


Allen/Matthew bragged on Dr. Phil about stealing “lots of Lego stuff.” TMZ uncovered his eBay account, in which he’s sold thousands worth of Lego goods and has a 100% positive rating.

Dr. Phil had an expert on the show that said these two aren’t kleptomaniacs because they steal items with the intention to resell and run a scheme, not for the pure urge to steal. Their crimes are federal because they crossed state lines to steal, and Dr. Phil’s security expert said they face “thousands” of indictments. You have to wonder why they decided to come forward now. They know they’re going to lose their kids if they both go to jail, which seems highly likely. They could have just stopped on their own and got jobs, but that way they wouldn’t have bragging rights and a brief taste of fame.

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37 Responses to “Shoplifting couple go on Dr. Phil, get house raided”

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  1. CandyKay says:

    I hate it when security guards follow me around a store, but it’s because people like this exist.

  2. sarcra says:

    I guess the Dr. Phil show re-aired this show yesterday because of them being raided last week… way to capitalize, Dr. Phil.

    I saw this when it originally aired. I was wondering how stupid they could be to go on this show admitting what they do… having a video camera go along with them… and how the Dr. Phil show wouldn’t be required to turn them in or give out their real names to authorities?

  3. HEB says:

    I can’t figure out which is dumber, stealing all that stuff or going on national TV to reveal yourself…

    And Kudos to Dr. Phil for bringing them on his show to teach millions of other people how to shop lift–great job.

  4. Jag says:

    I wondered the same thing… The people filming it were witnessing a crime being committed, so weren’t they obligated to turn in the couple at the time it was happening?

  5. Lem says:

    A lawyer representing Laura and Matthew A. Eaton of San Marcos said the couple appeared on the show in November, but declined to say whether they were guests on that episode or to discuss it further.

    err? dumbass

  6. Aspen says:

    What kind of idiocy overtook these people? HA HA HA. Maybe they figured they could make money off of the national television coverage.

  7. JaundiceMachine says:

    Using children as decoys? Two-for-ones? Amateurs!

    Perry Farrell shows us how it’s really done . . . and looks hot as hell while doing it.

    It’s-a miiiiiiiiiiine!

  8. Annie says:


    Stupidity at its finest.

    Did they think this somehow cleared them of any guilt/blame? How stupid! And what about their kids? When they got tossed in jail for grand theft, what about them? Morons.

  9. HS says:

    I nominate these two asshats for a darwin award.

  10. b says:

    Dumb sh*ts. I feel horrible for their 3 kids who will now face ridicule and possibly be tossed into the foster system. Sad.

  11. tasteT says:

    I saw the original show when it aired..a bunch of clowns..they thought it was cute and crafty…

    I think the husband said he could not fid a job or something..

    They even had the kids along-I think..
    I did not watch it long but they had alot of inventory.

  12. eve says:

    I once got profiled in Walgreens in LA. Walgreens?!?! I was so pissed. Of all places I could go and steal from, why the hell would I pick Walgreens?!?!?

  13. lilred says:

    Sadly we all pay for their crap, with higher prices.

  14. JJ says:

    This is proof positive that all crooks are stupid. No matter how good they are at some point they do something amazingly stupid and get caught.

  15. amirman says:

    Darwin Award? you’re an idiot. the only way they could win a Darwin award is if they died or caused themselves to be infertile. do you know why it’s called a Darwin award?

  16. Boris says:

    Isn’t it probable that “Allen” is his real name, albeit his middle name?

  17. Chris says:

    Reply to Eve’s comment: there’s a comedian named Dane Cook who did a sketch specifically on shoplifting, and his exact words were “Have you ever just walked into a walgreens and just felt the urge to steal sh*t?” lol it wasn’t just you, rest assured ;)

  18. David says:

    I wondered the same thing… The people filming it were witnessing a crime being committed, so weren’t they obligated to turn in the couple at the time it was happening?
    In most (all?) states, unless you’re a sworn officer, you have no civil duty or requirement to report a crime. So no, it’s not required. Morally obligated? Perhaps, but then most of these people care more about ratings than morals.

  19. Nik says:

    JJ your logic is flawed. Just because you don’t hear about the one’s who don’t get caught does not mean they don’t exist.

  20. none says:

    amirman.. before you get too cocky remember that they aren’t doing their kids any favors by going to jail.. it’s likely that their kids will become f*ck ups as a result of this.. end up having premature drugged out babies who are infertile.. darwin award granted

  21. NigelP says:


    “stupidity at it’s finest”

    It always happens, and it’s always the same people…

  22. bubba says:

    Look into Dr. Phil’s background if you want a real shock. He lost the right to practice psychology years ago.

  23. bob says:

    They may be stupid for admitting it, but this is america. chances are they will do no time. probation and it’s straight back to walmart to pilfer some more.

  24. They deserve it, who knows how much countless damage they’ve cost in their recklessness. At inventory, if stuff is missing they look right to the workers to take the fault – and in smaller stores employees may get fired or worse still – the store may lose heavy profits.

  25. leah says:

    I still can not belive they went on air and confessed what they think nothing was going to happen and what about the kids ……Sad parenting

  26. John says:

    Don’t worry for the kiddies when mum and dad are doing their ten-to-twenty years. I’m sure they know all the tricks in the book already…

  27. Dave says:

    Everybody gets what they deserve.

  28. Exhibit A says:

    Exhibit A at the trial: Copy of the Dr. Phil Show.

  29. roger greene says:

    I like to go into stores and shove cucumbers in my pants and walk around. Is that considered shoplifting?

  30. stedman says:

    Oprah got caught with 40 pounds of crack in her pants ut they let her go…

  31. John says:

    Yup, stupid, but they’re not necessarily going to “lose their kids” if they both go to Jail. Years ago, my parents were raided for selling drugs. My mom got 5 years and my dad got 7. I went to live with my Great-grandmother and my older brother lived with an Aunt until he struck out on his own. I moved back in with my mom when she got out and I was 17.

    If there’s no extended family who can take in the kids, that will be weighed by the judge at sentencing and I’d bet $10 against a peanut that the mother either serves no more than 1yr+1day or she gets a suspended sentence, altogether.

  32. Andrew says:

    Funny, they live down the street from me, about a block away from my old apartment.

    I have a klepto friend that recently got caught stealing some $15 shirt, store had her on security tapes and it was her 20-odd time stealing from the store that they got on tape. Pretty much ruined her shit.

  33. ScaryPants says:

    It is really hard for me to believe these people don’t want to go to jail and loose their kids….Maybe the kids are mouthy teenagers and the Parents are so stressed they don’t care if they lose them for a while…I used to have days like that though I loved my kids bunches….Ask any parent who has a few teenage kids….!!! LOL….Of course they knew they would be picked up by the police….but obviously they are very immature and don’t think about any consequences…!!!

  34. hunnybe says:

    Wow! I wonder why THEY never got caught, its not like they stand out in a crowd.