Unclear, but ultimately from shoplifter (which predates the verb shoplift). Structurally, shop steal + -er, but perhaps more likely is that both verb and agent noun forms were coined around the same time by alteration of shoplift / shoplifter to carry the nuanced greater emphasis on theft.
- (Australia) A shoplifter.
- If you suspect a shop stealer, pay this person a lot of attention.
- 1989, Criminologica Foundation, Criminology & Penology Abstracts, Volume 29, Issues 4-6, page 438,
- This article reports comparisons of views on shop stealers held by involved professionals […] .
- 2003, Geoffrey Heard, Gordon Woolf, Success in Store: How to Start Or Buy a Retail Business, Enjoy Running It, The Worsley Press, Australia, page 107,
- I am writing this the day after I sacked a customer (yes, you can sack a customer — Gordon′s example of a shop stealer is sacking a customer) who is struggling for dollars, but refused to take advice about building his business and accepted the blandishments of a Yellow Pages salesman.
- 2008, William Wilkie, The Home Psychiatrist, page 379,
- It is essential for the compulsive shop-stealer to be charged by police, for the gambler to repay his debts, the violent alcoholic to repair the damaged furniture.