Stealing to feed gaming habits

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

We hear all the time about drug or alcohol addicts lying or stealing to get money to support their addiction. They throw hundreds, even thousands of dollars away monthly or yearly on their substance of choice, and when the money runs out, they have to find a way to continue with their habit. For many, this means stealing from family members, close friends, or robbing strangers, local stores, or other places to get what they need. 

Gaming is no different. We may not hear about it as much, but gaming addicts are stealing to feed their gaming habit, or to profit off of it. A new article published through The Latino Post talks about a Japanese couple that was recently arrested for stealing from video game arcade players so that they could get the money they needed to keep playing video games. Both of them are unemployed and have suffered a series of financial hardships. Their gaming addiction led them to steal from Akihabara, a large Tokyo arcade. They entered the arcade and stole people’s wallets and admitted to pickpocketing at least seven times to help pay for their living and gaming expenses. They were finally arrested. (1) 

There have been many other reports of people trying to steal gaming consoles, whether it is directly from big box retail stores, by breaking into people’s homes, or by scamming them on Craigslist.  If you have ever thought about stealing a game or game console, or have thought about stealing money to buy one of these items, you are more than likely dealing with a form of gaming addiction. It’s important to pay attention to these signals. If you can game for hours on end and not even notice, you are likely neglecting other areas of your life. When your mind starts turning towards ways to steal from others to help supplement your gaming addiction, professional help is needed.   

Video game and technology addiction is very real. It is dangerous and can consume your life, negatively changing it forever. If you or a loved one is suffering from a gaming or technology addiction, visit


Lucci, Frank. “Japanese Couple Robs Gamers to Support Video Game Addiction.” The Latino Post. January 14, 2014. Accessed January 29, 2014.

By Brooke Strickland and Andrew Doan, MD PhD