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The Anatomy of a Theft: The Jameis Winston Crab Leg Incident

Jameis Winston continues to keep Free Seafood University in the headlines.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Grocery stores are ripe targets for theft. For the most part these stores are manned by mostly low wage earners who in addition to probably being mostly apathetic about their jobs, are tasked to maintain and oversee a massive store with a voluminous amount of goods. The daunting task imposed upon these low-wage earners manifests itself as a loss of countless dollars from grocers, which only increases when the economy is down. For the most part these are petty thefts, ranging from easy-to-grab targets like candy bars at the checkout counter to more serious areas like wine and vitamins. At the end of the day the targets seem to be based on two factors: ease and price. The easier something is to corral, the more likely it will be stolen. You can take gum and stick it in your pocket and nobody will ever see it. Wine and vitamins are expensive items which can either be resold or are simply put to use by the thief in their own life without paying for it.

However, some items in grocery stores appear to be somewhat theft-proof. Take dog food for example. I’m not talking about tiny bags of dog food which can tide man’s best friend over when your money absolutely needs to be spent on a case for tonight’s game, I’m talking about those massive Purina bags that go for a lot of money. Barring a level of complicity from the store or its workers, it is difficult to imagine a bag of dog food being stolen. First of all the bag is heavy and bulky. Where would one seek to stash a bag of dog food? Additionally even if there’s a bookbag in the mix, it takes valuable time to get the product into your bag thus increasing the risk of someone spotting you before you can take off with puppy chow.


But even dog food to some extent makes sense. Your dog is hungry, you’re poor, and even though the bag is bulky it will for the most part fit into your book bag relatively easily. Now this brings me to the point of the article. Earlier this morning it was reported that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was arrested for stealing crab legs from a Publix. Yes, that’s correct: crab legs. Without even getting into the mind set of someone who decides to steal from a Publix in the first place, this ordeal needs to be broken down.

Most of the time when college kids are hungry they’ll snag some ramen, they might get some fast food, or if they’re really desperate they might steal some Kraft Mac and Cheese from the store. Not Jameis Winston though. When he goes for it, he's gonna do it big. Our main man decided that he was hungry and he would not stop until his ravenous appetite was satisfied by the one and only food of champions: crab legs. Personally I love crab legs, but this must have been one bad hankering for some crabs to attempt to steal them from Publix. I'm more of a Piggly Wiggly man myself.

Back to the original point of the article, Jameis tried to steal crab legs. I would imagine this was an impulsive, and poor, decision from a young college student, but this was beyond dumb. What was the game plan here Jameis? How could anybody reasonably believe that they could sneak in, procure the aforementioned delicacy, and walk out undetected with a massive crab leg? If you haven’t had crab legs recently, they generally take up the entire plate at a restaurant and that’s just one cluster. I realize Jameis is a big dude, but he’s not big enough that he can conceal a cluster of crab legs without it being blatant. Not only that, doesn't #FamousJameis get followed everywhere he goes?

And this is where the dog food mention comes back. It’s not even so much the size of the crab legs that imposes the biggest deterrent to theft, it’s the shape. Crab legs are arguably the most difficult thing to attempt to hide. I’ve never personally tried to sneak a crab leg out undetected from a dining establishment, but it must be a road fraught with complications. Where would you even put the crab legs? How are you accessing the crab legs without being seen? How do you get crab legs to fit in a container?

These are all questions that desperately need answers. While I realize that some people may turn this otherwise serious issue into an indictment of the NCAA for waiting too long to give kids free food, I think it’s more important that we keep our eyes squarely on the real issue: who the hell thinks they can get away with stealing crab legs?

Jameis Winston isn’t necessarily a dumb dude for committing a petty theft. He isn’t necessarily stupid for trying to steal from a grocery store. He isn’t really even facing a serious charge over the issue and it is unlikely that this will harm his football career in the future. Jameis Winston is however at least in this case, an absolute idiot. He had the bright idea to steal from a grocery store and instead of merely settling on a Snickers bar or a pack of gum, he attempted to steal arguably the most difficult item in the entire store to effectively obtain, conceal, and leave the premises with: crab legs.

Theft is not smart. Theft of an item which will result in being caught nearly 100% of the time the theft is attempted is just idiotic. Do better Jameis Winston, do better. Jameis will now face a $30 fine for his actions. Perhaps he should have just spent that on the crab legs in the first place.