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Hi,

I used to be comfortable with this!

I stole a roll of toilet paper when I worked there.
I had stolen a roll of toilet paper when I was working there.
I had stolen a roll of toilet paper when I worked there.

Doesn't the past perfect act need to be prior in time to the simple past reference?
It seems like the "when" makes that impossible.
I have less trouble accepting the progressive sentence, but I can't justify it.
Aren't they both wrong??
If I add another "prior" event, everything is okay, of course:
I was fired because I had stolen a roll of toilet paper when I worked there.

I think that when I find the blue examples acceptable, it's because I have some prior context in my mind.

Does anyone find the blue examples acceptable??

Thanks, - A.

Edit. This is not autobiographical, by the way. Emotion: big smile
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As you say, you need some further context to justify the use of the past perfect in the blue sentences. There are situations, however, when a past perfect could work with "when".

I had eaten my breakfast when she called. (the eating happened prior to the calling)

I think that it has to do with the nature of the verb following the word "when". "Call" is normally/often used in a non-progressive aspect and that's the reason, I think, that that particular verb (and other similar non progressive verbs) works well in combination with a past perfect verb and the time word "when".
Comments  
Thanks, Ivanhr. Good point. Very clear. - A.