Ted Bundy was a vicious and remorseless killer who killed so many women young women throughout the United States. Though Bundy’s murders and assaults are widely known, his thefts have gone relatively unnoticed and I feel they can tell us something about why he committed the murders.
According to Bundy (and his ex-fiancée), he stole anything he wanted including a Sony TV, an expensive rug, skis, credit cards, and a stereo without a second thought. His ex-fiancée knew that he wasn’t making enough money to afford all of the things in his possession and he eventually admitted to her that he stole things occasionally. “In those days, I wouldn’t go into stores and shoplift…What I went for…were things that I couldn’t afford — expensive things.” (Confessions of a Killer, p. 37)
Bundy saw nothing intrinsically wrong with stealing. He honestly felt that what he wanted, he should just take. He couldn’t afford these items, but felt he deserved them anyway. Hard work for pay never occurred to him and ethics certainly weren’t his strong suit. Bundy was so compulsive that he even used stolen credit cards to purchase more than 30 pairs of socks while in Florida. He was so proficient at stealing that he even stole several cars in Colorado and in Florida. He once said, “The thought of burglary or anything really criminal…never crossed my mind. I felt no remorse whatsoever about taking something like that out of a store. I’d only take what I needed.” (Confessions of a Killer, p. 35)
Despite all of his thefts, he was never caught for any of them. He was so calm, so cool (after a few beers), that he would just walk right into a store, pick up the item, and walk right out with it. The only time he was chased out of a store ended in his misdirection of the employees by Bundy, who then drove off with the stolen merchandise.
I find that understanding why Bundy stole is crucial to the understanding of his psyche as a whole. The items that Bundy took were merely objects and he treated them as if they were his to take. I feel this links directly to the women whose lives he stole throughout his murderous binge. Bundy couldn’t afford to take these women on dates, he couldn’t be the man they wanted, so he took them from their homes and treated them like his possessions. Once they were dead, he used their bodies and cast them aside on Taylor Mountain (Washington State), in Glenwood Springs (Colorado), in Tallahassee and Lake City (Florida), and other parts unknown.
“The big payoff for me was actually possessing whatever it was I had stolen. It wasn’t the act, necessarily.” ~Ted Bundy, “Confessions of a Killer,” p. 37