Didja Hear the One About the Prolific Lesbian Burglars Thwarted by a Lion!!?

Today in unfortunate news about criminals who happen to be homosexual women we have the case of Harley Rose Gifford and Britney Singleton, both 19, who burglarized 29 homes in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania this summer. Oh, also — Britney and Harley are “lesbian lovers.” Not “girlfriends” or “a couple” or “dating” — I mean, that would make them sound like actual humans in a relationship rather than two women thigh-high in a wallowy swamp of sex, drugs and debauchery — but “lesbian lovers.” You got that? Write that down. “Lesbian lovers.” If that’s a little too explicit for you, one story I read called them “Sapphic Snoopers,” so you could try that one on for size.

The burglaries were committed in broad daylight in the afternoon, usually entering through unlocked first-floor windows. The girls didn’t use a car which meant they did things like haul a 55-inch flatscreen television back to their apartment on foot.

The girls were foiled at their 30th intended home by a lion. Like an actual lion. Police have been unable to find said lion and have repeatedly questioned the girls about the probability that it was actually just a very large dog, not a lion. The girls insist it was a lion.

Michael J. Chitwood, superintendent of police, is having a field day with this story! Some select quotes:

“They’re a two-person gang. They rip out all the drawers, go through the cabinets, throw everything on the floor. Not only are they criminals, they’re sickos.”

“Almost every one was a daylight burglary. They said, ‘Who would suspect two women?’ That’s why they felt they could get away with it.”

“They turned Upper Darby into their own personal Walmart for the summer,.”

“They just enjoyed stealing. They used people’s homes as their own private shopping center.”

“If we find a lion it will be a bigger story than this.”

Police initially suspected the women were stealing to get money for drugs, but tests came up clean. According to Harley’s facebook profile, her heroes include Reba McIntire, The Rock, Chris Brown, Patty LaBelle and Alicia Keys. Other favorite things include Set it Off, Dr.Seuss, Finding NemoSuperbad, Spongebob, WWE, Teen Mom, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Toy StoryHarry Potter and “cash.”

The Things They Stole:
$21,000 in cash
Flat-screen TV
Facial Creams
Video Games
Poker Chips
$2 bills
Toy ponies
Toy cars
Toilet paper
.22-caliber revolver
Sony Playstation
Nintendo Wii
Autographed baseballs
Crazy Glue
Lubricated condoms
Virgin Mary statue
Baby lotion.
Hookah pipe
Remote controls

Obviously, these girls are criminals deserving of punishment and I have zero heart-shaped feelings towards them. But it’s interesting how consistently “lesbian lovers” is used to describe two women in a relationship only in specific, trivializing circumstances — Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson are always “lesbian lovers.” If two women commit a crime, they are “lesbian lovers.”

The term “lesbian lovers” reduces a relationship to a strictly sexual pairing, as if there is nothing between two women deserving of recognition besides fisting. If one described an opposite-sex couple as “lovers” you would automatically assume that meant the couple had sex regularly — and often, you’d even assume that “lovers” is being used to highlight the fact that it’s not an actual relationship, it’s just a sex thing.

Our community has long been struggling with the various ways the media uses sexual orientation to sensationalize news coverage or to insinuate that sexual orientation and criminality are inexorably linked. Page 31 from the GLAAD Media Reference Guide:

I’m not insisting, as GLAAD is, that sexual orientation should be left out of the article — I think that’s unrealistic considering ultimately these people are trying to sell newspapers and get website hits and we can’t change that marketing model. If an opposite-sex couple committed a crime spree, their relationship would be referenced in the story — although their sexuality, of course, wouldn’t need to be said. But it’s that “lesbian lovers” thing that gets me — that degrading, stupid thing that makes girlfriends seem as inherently devious as a crime-committing couple consisting of a married man and his “mistress.”

Websites like FoxNews and The New York Daily News don’t have to actually declare causality — they just give the audience the ammunition and sit back and watch the sexist bullets fly. From commenters on The New York Daily News:

“These two are going to love the female prison. Dykes should be put in with the men because they are not normal females. Putting them in with females is like putting some h0rny 16 yo guy in charge of the girl’s dormitory.”

“Please stop these carpet munchers.”

“I understand NY’s great governor, Andrew Marry-A-Same-Sex-Person Cumohomo, has offered the same-sex soon to be married couple his legal advise for free. All the poor men in the world, missing out on these two beauties. Maybe Cumohomo is on to something.”

“Lemme guess which one straps it on.”

That being said, “I think the problem started when someone chose to name their child after a motorcycle” might be the funniest thing I’ve heard all day.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3200 articles for us.


  1. My biggest question in all of this is who reported to the police that these ladies stole there pot? Its probably the same person who reported that they stole their condoms and crazy glue…. people are strange

  2. So wait, are they “sickos” because they’re gay or because they threw stuff on the floor? Because I believe that is pretty standard for burglars.

    • I’m not sure they did throw stuff on the floor, I think a lion is just a messy and impractical pet to have.

    • i think he said they were sickos for ramsacking the apartment, but he didn’t really expand on those comments

  3. I find the “lesbian lovers” description extremely annoying as well. But I actually think the motive behind it is less complex than trying to degrade lesbians and lesbian relationships (though of course it DOES)…my suspicion is that this is just another example of straight older people being wayyy late to the train station when it comes to terms and phrases and anything else that applies to LGBT people.

    I remember back in the day that it was kind of a thing for gay ladies in the 80s and 90s to refer to their female partners as “lovers.” I heard that phrase all the time in SF (where I grew up) from the gay women themselves and still hear it occasionally from the older lesbian crowd today. Kind of like how my mom refers to me as a, I’m not shitting you, “lipstick gay”…I think that journalists just need to jump on board and realize that the majority of us now use the word “girlfriend” just like any other straight couple and occasionally “partner,” but I feel like even partner is becoming antiquated in my generation…I know that when I get married my “girlfriend” is gonna become my “wife” dammit!

    Oh, and I really hope they find that lion.

    • That is an additional lil perk to getting married: the term “wife” really clears things up. Back in the day when I would initially introduce or mention “girlfriend” to people, the response was always an incredulous “Like girlfriend girlfriend??” Every time!! I never liked “partner” and I haaaaaate “lover.”

      “Wife” pretty much gets the message across… plus it makes shopping for birthday and anniversary cards waaaay easier. :)

      • Yeah that is exactly what I mean! I get the “omg girlfriend girlfriend?!?” thing all the time too. wife is going to be so much easier someday

      • I only started liking “partner” when I moved to Australia – it’s used by both queer and straight couples here.

  4. ha! the only thing that would make this story even more bizarre, (awesome!) would be if they found the lion.. and if the lion actually existed that is :p

  5. re: the name harley. i have a friend who’s name is also harley. apparently thats what her parents were on top of when she was conceived, so.

    • (ps by “this” i mean the lion part/stuff they stole part/motorcyle name part/other funny parts. not the “lesbian lovers” thing because thats not funny)

  6. Nah, they didn’t even call LiLo and SamRo “lesbian lovers” – most of the time it was “galpals.” *vomit*

  7. It’s not impossible they would find a lion, Buck Alec had 3 pet lions. My great aunt had lion cubs in Northern Ireland as well.

  8. I found the Thelma and Louise comparison to be the most sensationalized part of the segment. It’s kind of like “oh look, two women committing crimes. How novel.”

    Also fuck yah lions.

  9. This is not a list of stuff to be traded for drugs. He should have known this by the toilet paper. They had an apartment to furnish.

    • People who end up on Cops. I remember one episode where a 16 year old beat up her neighbor for stealing her pot and then called the cops. (The only reason I watched this is because it happened to be a cute lady cop.) Anyway, when she got there, she basically said “WTF is wrong with you? Why would you call me about your illegal drugs being stolen, dumb? I’m not going to arrest you this time because I don’t want to do the paperwork. If you or your neighbors call me again, you are going to jail. Also, grow the f*** up. Kthnkxbye.” I’m paraphrasing here, but that was the gist of it.

  10. Pingback: Prolific Lesbian Burglars Thwarted By Lion | Hold Your Future

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