NEWPORT BEACH — Some people call them teacher of the year, family doctor, engineer or Girl Scout leader.
Nancy Clark calls them clients.
For 15 years, Clark has run a shoplifting addiction treatment program on Old Newport Boulevard. Many clients attend in lieu of possible jail or prison sentences.
Despite stereotypes about petty thieves snatching items out of financial desperation, many of the folks in the program are well-to-do. They see shoplifting as an addiction that gives an endorphin rush on par with drugs.
One prerequisite for clients enrolled in Nancy Clark & Associates Inc.'s treatment program is that clients only steal items they can afford. The program is not for those who steal to support a drug or alcohol addiction — there's another group for them.
Clark enforces a strict dress-and-grooming code during the 12-week program: no tank tops, men must be clean-shaven, and hats and sunglasses are forbidden.