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son's friend is probably stealing


jade
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Last weekend, I took my son and his good friend to a a special event at a museum 50 miles away and then afterward to the mall nearby to go to a specific store they liked. We went to one other store selling inexpensive teen clothes. My son spoke about one of the male store clerks who was following them around the store. It kind of bothered my son. His friend, who is a year old and much more urban and street-wise, wasn't bothered. We did buy 2 belts at the store. Then we went out to eat and drove home.

 

The two boys get along well. My son is a little voyeuristic watching the other boy's dramatic life unfold, while he is learning lessons of how not to do some of the things. I know the parents. They are incredibly busy in their careers. But they are interested in their son and frequently ground him for doing things that are wrong or stupid. My son and the boy have a lot in common and their activity interests intersect. The boy's father has invited my son to be involved in special activities he organizes.

 

Later this week, my son and I were having a good, heartfelt conversation. During that time, he revealed that his friend has stolen a small men's bracelet from the teen store. My son didn't know about the stealing until after it had taken place In fact, he had left it at our house later and my son had it.

 

We talked about how that was wrong and how he shouldn't be doing that. My son was a little freaked out by the experience. He still really likes the boy. Since he's homeschooling these days, he doesn't have lots of friends -- altho we keep trying new experiences, of course, so we are working hard on that. My son is a good kid. He was really open and honest, so I decided I would not get upset and just listen and have a positive conversation, rather than get completely angry, which didn't seem quite right. The boys are 13 and 14, old enough to know better, but young enough to want attention

 

However, what would you do: Tell the parents? Have my son avoid this boy all together? Where's the balance?

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I think the boy's parents should know, but I'm not sure I'd end the friendship unless your son starts behaving similarly. Right now, it sounds like his friend's behavior is weighing on his conscience and I believe that's a good thing :) My son is much younger, however.

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I'm not going to advise whether or not to speak to the parents, or whether your son should remain friendly with the boy or not.

 

I will say that your son absolutely should not frequent retail establishments with his friend. If the friend also steals from residences, your son shouldn't go to peoples' houses with him. He shouldn't come over to your house, or be taken along with your family to visit friends or relatives.

 

When the friend gets caught, your son will be picked up, as well. The police might take them both to the station, a storekeeper defending his store (or a homeowner) might fire a weapon at them both, witnesses might assume he's an accomplice...and his friend might someday persuade him to steal, as well.

 

We don't go shopping with thieves. That's a life rule for everyone.

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The two boys get along well. My son is a little voyeuristic watching the other boy's dramatic life unfold, while he is learning lessons of how not to do some of the things. I know the parents. They are incredibly busy in their careers. But they are interested in their son and frequently ground him for doing things that are wrong or stupid. My son and the boy have a lot in common and their activity interests intersect. The boy's father has invited my son to be involved in special activities he organizes.

 

 

 

What else has your son witnessed of this boy's dramatic life? What has he learned not to do by watching this boy?

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I'm not going to advise whether or not to speak to the parents, or whether your son should remain friendly with the boy or not.

 

I will say that your son absolutely should not frequent retail establishments with his friend. If the friend also steals from residences, your son shouldn't go to peoples' houses with him. He shouldn't come over to your house, or be taken along with your family to visit friends or relatives.

 

When the friend gets caught, your son will be picked up, as well. The police might take them both to the station, a storekeeper defending his store (or a homeowner) might fire a weapon at them both, witnesses might assume he's an accomplice...and his friend might someday persuade him to steal, as well.

 

We don't go shopping with thieves. That's a life rule for everyone.

 

 

This. Especially the bolded part. I've seen this first-hand. The other girl was prosecuted as an accomplice. She went to juvenile diversion, but she still had it on her record.

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I totally agree with Tibbie. I think this is a friend I would have only over to my house and then I would make sure I was spending some time with them. I certainly wouldn't let them go to a store together. And I'd keep an eye on my silver when he was around.

 

Tough situation. ((HUGS))

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Call the other kid's parents.

Be prepared in case things turn nasty - your boy says their kid stole it, the other kid turns it around and says it was your son doing the stealing. Think in advance about how you will handle it if this happens.

 

Help your son come up with a plan for dealing with the stolen bracelet..... that part could be tricky depending on the outcome of the discussion above (who pays for it or returns it).

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This is an opportunity to know if the boy is really your son's friend. If you call the parents and they take ownership, and the boy still wants to be friends, great. I know many people who shoplifted as teens and are responsible adults. They did it for the thrill, not the merchandise. That doesn't make it right. But you cannot let your kids think that theft will be swept under the rug. In real life theft is a big deal, and I would set the bar as to your families standards.

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Why did his friend leave the bracelet with your son? I think that parents form both sides need to talk to these boys and get to bottom of the truth. The bracelet needs to returned by whoever stole it with a sincere apology for it to never happen again. The boy who stole it, should be kept on close observation by his parents and spend extra time on chores, and healthier activities.

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as the sister of a thief, I can tell you why he left the bracelet with your son. There is a real possibility his parents know and are looking on all new objects that come in the house with great suspicion. Or, they might be in the halfway to knowing but not wanting to. It is a very painful thing for everyone involved.

 

I hate to say this, but I would cut off the friendship. The friend is in trouble and this is going to get worse before it gets better.

 

He might also be testing your son to see if he tells. And of course he will never, ever, ever admit to stealing the bracelet himself. He will blame your son and drag his name through the mud all over town. Say nothing. There is also a good chance the boy will steal from your home etc. My sister stole from everywhere she went. From her friends, from my mom's friends, from the places she babysat etc etc.

 

And when he gets caught anyone with him will be picked up and charged. That is fairly standard procedure. My friend's darling, sweet daughter got arrested in college because some girl she didn't know very well from the dorm stole a pair of earrings. They arrested everyone in the group and charged them all.

 

If the family gets some help I have faith that this boy can learn and become a honest and trustworthy young man. But, that is something they are going to have to come to terms with themselves. Much easier to acknowledge if they hear it from the cops. That way it can feel private and they can tell themselves that no one knows.

 

Throw the bracelet out. Don't return it to the store because they will only try to say your son stole it. Just let it go and chalk it up to a life lesson learned. But I would stay away from that boy. He is asking for help and letting the world know that he is in trouble. Unfortunately, you can't give it to him and you can't make his parents see how much pain their son is in.

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I'm not going to advise whether or not to speak to the parents, or whether your son should remain friendly with the boy or not.

 

I will say that your son absolutely should not frequent retail establishments with his friend. If the friend also steals from residences, your son shouldn't go to peoples' houses with him. He shouldn't come over to your house, or be taken along with your family to visit friends or relatives.

 

When the friend gets caught, your son will be picked up, as well. The police might take them both to the station, a storekeeper defending his store (or a homeowner) might fire a weapon at them both, witnesses might assume he's an accomplice...and his friend might someday persuade him to steal, as well.

 

We don't go shopping with thieves. That's a life rule for everyone.

 

Great rule. My DH had a friend like that, he refused to go into any store with him because he didn't want to be an accomplice - or have the friend slip something in his pocket/bag unnoticed.

 

I don't know if I'd talk to the parents, how well do you know them? I might talk to the boys together...

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I'm not going to advise whether or not to speak to the parents, or whether your son should remain friendly with the boy or not.

 

I will say that your son absolutely should not frequent retail establishments with his friend. If the friend also steals from residences, your son shouldn't go to peoples' houses with him. He shouldn't come over to your house, or be taken along with your family to visit friends or relatives.

 

When the friend gets caught, your son will be picked up, as well. The police might take them both to the station, a storekeeper defending his store (or a homeowner) might fire a weapon at them both, witnesses might assume he's an accomplice...and his friend might someday persuade him to steal, as well.

 

We don't go shopping with thieves. That's a life rule for everyone.

 

:iagree:

 

I would call the boy's family and as others have said be prepared to hear your son stole the bracelet. I would just end things quietly if that is the case and move on. I would encourage you to consider talking with his friend and asking him to tell his parents, first, but I'd be prepared to call quickly if he refuses.

 

If the family is aware then they should take the thief back to the store with the bracelet to return it, so return it to them.

 

I do think the bracelet should be returned to the store. I'm not exactly sure if your son should be involved in that. As someone has pointed out, your son could be arrested if you run into a fed up store manager.

 

Finally, let me mention the unthinkable. Is it possible that your son did steal the bracelet? I would say even if you are sure he did not a quiet investigation of his room to see if there is anything else in it that you can't account for would be wise. Suppose he did steal the bracelet and his friend caught on and told him, either you tell your parents or I do, then what you are hearing might be a cover up.

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Great rule. My DH had a friend like that, he refused to go into any store with him because he didn't want to be an accomplice - or have the friend slip something in his pocket/bag unnoticed.

 

I don't know if I'd talk to the parents, how well do you know them? I might talk to the boys together...

 

 

I don't know about this. I would be through the roof if someone confronted my 13 year old about a situation before the talked to me.

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I agree with others that taking it back could get both you and your son in trouble. Not sure I would have a sit down talk with the other kid or call his parents. I would probably mention to the kid that since you have heard that he might have stolen something you will not be taking him on any more outings or allowing him in your house unsupervised and you are there to talk if he would like to. I wouldn't make a big deal about it and wouldn't call his parents (although if they ask outright why their son isn't going anywhere with your family I would tell them what you heard and you're trying to decide what to do). In all fairness, you're hearing your son's side of things. I wouldn't claim to know what really happened. An adult assuming they know something based on what another child said can be difficult for a kid to live with. If you bring it up to him and something doesn't seem right or you can tell he's lying then maybe put the friendship on hold, if he admits it or seems to be honestly telling a different story then maybe there is more to it.

 

It does seem really strange that a teenager goes on an outing with you, steals a small item (when they must have known a store clerk was following them around), leaves it at your house, and your son tells you he feels guilty about his friend's behavior. Something doesn't sound right about the whole thing. Not sure what but the story just sounds off. If that is all there is to it I can't say it sounds all that unusual, especially for a kid from a home where the parents aren't always around. I wouldn't be overly concerned, just watchful that my child doesn't do it. Assuming it was a low value item (not something to resell) the kid was probably just looking for attention or to know they could get away with it. Saying something, especially if it sounds like you saw something first hand, might very well put a stop to it.

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I'm not sure how you'd go about teaching this, but it might be good for your son to realize that some people shoplift addictively for the thrill and destroy their adult lives by doing so. This is a very prevalent crime. I have had occasion to detain (arrest) military personnel and family members with shoplifting, at the cost of their privileges, careers and resulting in bad conduct discharges.

 

I remember hearing of a documentary in the past few years about this kind of theft. (Of course, you'd want to watch it first yourself.)

 

I'm sure you know this, but this event is a very big problem in the developing personality of the shoplifter.

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I agreed with what most people has said. I will be worried that my son did not immediately tell me about the bracelet until about a week later. I will try and get to the root of it and talk with the boy and his parents. I don't think that my child not having a lot of friends is reason for him to have a friend who will influence him the wrong way. It only takes one person to derail a teenagers life. If the boy really did steal the bracelet, I will cut off contact with him as you do not want your son to start emulating that behavior.

I will look for other opportunities for him to make friends. If he gets arrested along with the boy, the impact on his life might be very devastating and I think this is an opportunity for you as a parent to step u and protect your child.

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I really think it's best if both parents, talked with the boys to get the whole matter out as soon as possible. The stolen bracelet has to be returned to the store as it is a criminal offence to steal it. I agree with Candid, it could possibly be that either, or both of the boys could have stolen it and perhaps now feeling guilty.

 

Hiding the truth & doing nothing is not going to resolve the issue of the boy(s) stealing. If the community rejects the boy(s) & disown the family, it won't change the character either of the boy nor help the parents. Therefore, talking with both of them and calling the other boy's parents down straight away is the first step.

 

The parent can discuss the issue of the stolen bracelet with the store manager over the phone and apologise. I don't think there is a need to fear the store manager if the boys are young. If they were older teenagers then it's understandable the manager may be angry, but the store manager may accept the apology if both parents resolve this issue now and make the culprit(s) apologise for his offence and the boy pays a compensation for his crime.

 

It's better to nip it in the bud and deal with it now while you do have control over the boys and while they are still young rather than when this habit of stealing turns into an addiction & it gets completely out of control.

 

No one wants to have a bad name with the police, it can go down his record for life and affect his whole future. Therefore, I believe that the truth needs to come out and the consequences need to be paid now, rather than later.

 

 

Best Wishes

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I really think it's best if both parents, talked with the boys to get the whole matter out as soon as possible. The stolen bracelet has to be returned to the store as it is a criminal offence to steal it. I agree with Candid, it could possibly be that either, or both of the boys could have stolen it and perhaps now feeling guilty.

 

Hiding the truth & doing nothing is not going to resolve the issue of the boy(s) stealing. If the community rejects the boy(s) & disown the family, it won't change the character either of the boy nor help the parents. Therefore, talking with both of them and calling the other boy's parents down straight away is the first step.

 

The parent can discuss the issue of the stolen bracelet with the store manager over the phone and apologise. I don't think there is a need to fear the store manager if the boys are young. If they were older teenagers then it's understandable the manager may be angry, but the store manager may accept the apology if both parents resolve this issue now and make the culprit(s) apologise for his offence and the boy pays a compensation for his crime.

 

It's better to nip it in the bud and deal with it now while you do have control over the boys and while they are still young rather than when this habit of stealing turns into an addiction & it gets completely out of control.

 

No one wants to have a bad name with the police, it can go down his record for life and affect his whole future. Therefore, I believe that the truth needs to come out and the consequences need to be paid now, rather than later.

 

 

Best Wishes

 

 

I think this is great advice. I would call the parents and have them and their son over so everyone is together. It might be really uncomfortable for your son, but it might keep the other parents' possible anger or defensiveness in check (to have their son watching them), AND your son's presence could deter the other boy from telling his parents lies about how your son is responsible. Basically, everyone will be there to defend themselves when accusations are made, rather than parents serving as a (defensive) buffer. Parents will instead serve as mature moderators.

 

Plus, it will make for less of an "us vs. them" accusatory situation, and more of a "lets figure out together what happened and how we need to deal with it" kind of situation.

 

Because your son will not likely be thrilled about the prospect of such a meeting, I would just explain to him the possible outcomes that everyone has mentioned here, and that this gives him a chance to defend himself if need be. I would also try to frame it as a situation where he is HELPING his friend. I'm sure he doesn't want to feel like a rat.

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I would not return the bracelet. It is taking a chance on whether or not the store manager will be reasonable in his response. There have been so many news stories as of late where people are made an example of in extreme ways. I don't think it is worth the risk of that. (That doesn't mean that restitution can't be made in a different way though which of course the parents would have to be willing to implement.) It may be uncomfortable but I think you really need to tell the parents. By leaving stolen merchandise in your home he has set up your entire family for being involved in this. I also feel the conversation should be done in person so that the other parents can read your body language about the situation. Making them not feel judged as parents would be important.

 

As far as the friendship, that is tough. I had a thief friend growing up as well. The older we got the more daring she got in all of her behavior. I think that my parents took a blind eye to this because the family was wealthy and influential in the town. Let's just say that things turned out horribly for this family and they eventually moved to a new town where nobody knew them. Their problems only followed. The friendship was a terrible influence on me and led me to have been in situations that I still cringe at today. I wish my parents would have redirected me to other activities so that I would not have had time for that friendship.

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I am of the opinion, as I stated earlier, that talking to the parents is much more likely than not to go badly. But, if you really think you want to discuss it with them, then do it without the boys present.

 

You have no idea how they are going to handle it. It is extremely likely that they will not believe you and will throw it back in your face. You don't want the boys present for that. Only talk to the boys together if you have spoken to the parents and you are all in agreement as to how things should proceed.

 

You really don't want your son present while their son pleads his case, denies what happened, puts it on your son, does all the things he will do to avoid taking responsibility. You also don't want either boy to see the adults fighting (it can get ugly) about who is to blame etc.

 

I also think keeping the boys separate for a while is a good idea in case it was your son who stole the bracelet. If he is using the friend as a cover, then better he not have that as an option. That allows you to keep an eye on the situation and see if something similar happens again.

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I would have your son write a brief note to the store saying that his friend gave him the bracelet, he now realizes he friend stole it, and he is therefore returning it to the store because it belongs to them. He doesn't need to elaborate further and I wouldn't have him sign his full name (maybe a first initial). Then wrap up the bracelet and note, take your son to the post office and mail the parcel to the store together. Involve your son in the process. Ask who he thinks should pay for the postage. He may think you should both share in the cost, he may think his friend should pay back whoever pays for it. Let him decide.

 

Whether or not he was aware of the friend stealing it (or worse, stole it himself) he is guilty of keeping the stolen goods for a week without telling you. He needs to learn there are consequences to committing a crime AND to being a silent observer to one. And that you must give back things that you find (or are given to you but aren't rightfully yours) to their owner.

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My friend used to shoplift make-up from Kmart when we were teens. It was more of the thrill of getting away with it than anything else. She never got caught (at least with me). As far as I know, she never did it more than a few times.

 

If it were me, I think I'd talk to the boy himself, rather than the parents. Tell him that since he was with you and your son when it happened, you feel responsible. Then ask the boys what they want to do about the bracelet. Do they return it? In person or not? I would also let the boy know that any future stealing will not be tolerated. That not only may you call his parents, but you may call the police.

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My friend used to shoplift make-up from Kmart when we were teens. It was more of the thrill of getting away with it than anything else. She never got caught (at least with me). As far as I know, she never did it more than a few times.

 

If it were me, I think I'd talk to the boy himself, rather than the parents. Tell him that since he was with you and your son when it happened, you feel responsible. Then ask the boys what they want to do about the bracelet. Do they return it? In person or not? I would also let the boy know that any future stealing will not be tolerated. That not only may you call his parents, but you may call the police.

 

But what if they return it and the store owner decides to call the police. They aren't kids, they are teens. If my kid is doing something wrong I want to be the one to handle it. And if my kid is doing something wrong and they end up in legal trouble because of how another parent decides to handle the situation then I would be so livid.

 

ETA: I would be furious at my kid and understand that they got themselves into the trouble but that's not another parents responsibility to deal with it.

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But what if they return it and the store owner decides to call the police. They aren't kids, they are teens. If my kid is doing something wrong I want to be the one to handle it. And if my kid is doing something wrong and they end up in legal trouble because of how another parent decides to handle the situation then I would be so livid.

 

ETA: I would be furious at my kid and understand that they got themselves into the trouble but that's not another parents responsibility to deal with it.

 

They don't have to return it in person. They could mail it back to the store anonymously. You could also call the store and find out how they handle such situations as well. (Of course, block your number/caller ID). Maybe you can agree on some consequence, like the teens work for so many hours for free for the storeowner? Or something else.

 

For a first offense, I would try to handle it myself rather than telling the parents. I also believe that teens especially need to take ownership of their problems. So perhaps the question becomes (to both boys)... "OK, I know that neither of you paid for this bracelet. That's stealing. What are you going to do about it?" (I'd also point out that if they were being followed, they're not as good as they think they are and are likely to get caught. Talk about the consequences to an arrest.)

 

Here's an article on teens and shoplifting. It's very very common. http://www.medicinen...rticlekey=51852

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Mailing it back sounds like a good idea. Maybe, if you're willing to, take the boys on an outing to volunteer for a charity that helps former prisoners get back on their feet? Even a homeless shelter, some of the people there are likely homeless due to criminal activity. Sort of like that scared straight show where they show teens that are starting delinquent behavior what their lives can become if they don't stop.

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Wow! Thanks everyone for your thoughts. You are really helpful in giving me a sense of how to frame the problem in my mind. I really appreciate reading other parents' perspectives. I am thankful for all of them. Through this forum and then researching online, I've learned more about how these kinds of things are handled through stores and police, which makes me realize as the responsible adult I probably could have been in trouble, too.

 

I guess I should clarify that my son told me about the bracelet within two days. I think he was waiting for a good time to talk to me about and was feeling guilty and confused.

 

I like the idea of anonymously mailing the bracelet back to the store. That sounds good.

 

I'm not sure about talking to the two boys together. If we were neighbors, I'd do that. But since it's a process to get the boys together, discussing the problem with them might backfire. I don't think I want them together for awhile.

 

I kind of think the boy left the bracelet at our house because he didn't want it in his house and he wanted to get caught.

 

The question in my mind continues to be whether I tell the parents or not. They're both concerned about his other behaviors, including how he's handling a girlfriend. He talked about how he is seeing a therapist and looking into medication. One of my reasons for taking the boys to the museum was to get the friend to do something positive and educational instead of being alone in his house for extended time over the long weekend. The parents like my son and think he's a positive influence. I don't think the parents would immediately become defensive if I explained the situation. Altho, I do feel bad about missing what was happening at the mall.

 

We are going to avoid having my son hang out with him. They see each other often through activities at the boy's church and stay in touch through Facebook. The boy has sports and after school activities so he will be busy. And if they do get together, it's going to be really supervised. No walking downtown for sure.

 

My son and I are talking this through as well and using your advice.

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I'm not sure I would tell the parents about the theft unless you saw what happened first hand. I just can't imagine the friend fessing up. He will more than likely blame your son. And, because your son didn't actually see the theft, the friend could say that he had it before the trip to the mall. I've confronted parents over different issues a few times myself and it NEVER turned out the way I thought it would. Parents will generally believe their kid over you or yours, and might even become highly offended that you would ever think their child could be so naughty. I know from experience.

 

I don't know if I would return it to the store. They might not believe your son. Once we were at a fair that had a jewelry area. My daughter and I were looking at the jewelry and when we started to leave my daughter happend to look down and saw a gold necklace on the ground just a yard or two away from the jewelry cases. She picked it up and handed it to me. We promptly turned around and I handed it to the girl behind the jewelry cases and told her my daughter just found it on the ground. She took it and we started to leave, but she turned to her co-worker and said "Yeah, right." (And no, I didn't let that go. Oh boy did she regret saying that. lol)

 

I think I would return the item to the boy's PARENTS, saying that he left it at your house after a trip to the mall. Maybe they will figure out what happened themselves, especially if this isn't the first time he has stolen.

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I'm not sure I would tell the parents about the theft unless you saw what happened first hand. I just can't imagine the friend fessing up. He will more than likely blame your son. And, because your son didn't actually see the theft, the friend could say that he had it before the trip to the mall. I've confronted parents over different issues a few times myself and it NEVER turned out the way I thought it would. Parents will generally believe their kid over you or yours, and might even become highly offended that you would ever think their child could be so naughty. I know from experience.

 

I don't know if I would return it to the store. They might not believe your son. Once we were at a fair that had a jewelry area. My daughter and I were looking at the jewelry and when we started to leave my daughter happend to look down and saw a gold necklace on the ground just a yard or two away from the jewelry cases. She picked it up and handed it to me. We promptly turned around and I handed it to the girl behind the jewelry cases and told her my daughter just found it on the ground. She took it and we started to leave, but she turned to her co-worker and said "Yeah, right." (And no, I didn't let that go. Oh boy did she regret saying that. lol)

 

I think I would return the item to the boy's PARENTS, saying that he left it at your house after a trip to the mall. Maybe they will figure out what happened themselves, especially if this isn't the first time he has stolen.

 

This.

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You really don't want your son present while their son pleads his case, denies what happened, puts it on your son, does all the things he will do to avoid taking responsibility. You also don't want either boy to see the adults fighting (it can get ugly) about who is to blame etc.

 

 

 

t/j - and i'm not saying you are wrong about this at all, redsquirrel - but I'm wondering if this might actually be a moment of growth and comprehension for the OP's DS, since he is a teen. It might be a "safe" (since his parents know the truth and support him) way to learn about how people who are untrustworthy in one area of life are often untrustworthy in others; how people will deny and project their own wrongdoing; how a troubled friend is not necessarily a safe or reliable friend. I don't know.....

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I'm not going to advise whether or not to speak to the parents, or whether your son should remain friendly with the boy or not.

 

I will say that your son absolutely should not frequent retail establishments with his friend. If the friend also steals from residences, your son shouldn't go to peoples' houses with him. He shouldn't come over to your house, or be taken along with your family to visit friends or relatives.

 

When the friend gets caught, your son will be picked up, as well. The police might take them both to the station, a storekeeper defending his store (or a homeowner) might fire a weapon at them both, witnesses might assume he's an accomplice...and his friend might someday persuade him to steal, as well.

 

We don't go shopping with thieves. That's a life rule for everyone.

 

ITA!!!

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I'm not going to advise whether or not to speak to the parents, or whether your son should remain friendly with the boy or not.

 

I will say that your son absolutely should not frequent retail establishments with his friend. If the friend also steals from residences, your son shouldn't go to peoples' houses with him. He shouldn't come over to your house, or be taken along with your family to visit friends or relatives.

 

When the friend gets caught, your son will be picked up, as well. The police might take them both to the station, a storekeeper defending his store (or a homeowner) might fire a weapon at them both, witnesses might assume he's an accomplice...and his friend might someday persuade him to steal, as well.

 

We don't go shopping with thieves. That's a life rule for everyone.

 

:iagree:

IMHO I would tell the other parents and leave it up to them as to whether they want to to return the item to the store since unfortunately you and your son could be possibly mistakenly charged with the theft. I would also probably cut off the friendship if it were me.

:iagree:

What LMD said.

 

You have to set the rules. Since this boy took advantage of you, you can't let it happen again. It will, and it may even be your purse that he puts the stolen item in. Or your car. This is pretty serious behavior and a talking to won't stop it.

 

:iagree: And you don't want this boy in your home. Let's just say my family is no longer in possession of a family heirloom. I understand wanting to help be a positive role model, but you need to consider the cost (literally), of this friendship.

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I think I would return the item to the boy's PARENTS, saying that he left it at your house after a trip to the mall. Maybe they will figure out what happened themselves, especially if this isn't the first time he has stolen.

 

 

 

I disagree, if the bracelet is stolen it must go back to the store. It belongs to the store, the OP knows that. Transferring stolen goods to some other family isn't going to change the fact that they are stolen.

 

I'm horrified that others have suggested throwing it out or donating it to charity. How'd you feel if you someone stole from you and you learned that whoever had the item, knew it was stolen from you but in order to protect themselves or their family they simply trashed it? Wow.

 

Mailing it back anonymously is fine, but it must go back to the store and the adult who has it and knows it is stolen must take ownership of that.

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t/j - and i'm not saying you are wrong about this at all, redsquirrel - but I'm wondering if this might actually be a moment of growth and comprehension for the OP's DS, since he is a teen. It might be a "safe" (since his parents know the truth and support him) way to learn about how people who are untrustworthy in one area of life are often untrustworthy in others; how people will deny and project their own wrongdoing; how a troubled friend is not necessarily a safe or reliable friend. I don't know.....

 

 

I agree. This is an excellent thought and I'm still not convinced that we really know what happened.

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Guest inoubliable

I wouldn't tell the parents.

 

I'd have my kid tell the boy that you knew and that you were disappointed and that there would be no more outings to retail establishments until/unless he chose to find a way to restore trust with you. He's old enough to know better than to steal, then he's old enough to hear that from your kid. And the next time he came around, I'd come right out and tell the same thing straight from me. He's 14? Give him a chance to make things right. Give him the tools to fix this situation, learn from it. Give your kid a chance to see this in action.

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I agree with the PPs who have said NOT to return the bracelet to the store. You or your son could wind up being arrested and prosecuted. If his parents want to incur that liability, that's their business. I think I would want to know if my child were stealing. I would prefer to make the parenting decisions around such knowledge rather than another adult doing it in surrogate. If you do talk to them, be prepared for them not to believe you.

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as the sister of a thief, I can tell you why he left the bracelet with your son. There is a real possibility his parents know and are looking on all new objects that come in the house with great suspicion. Or, they might be in the halfway to knowing but not wanting to. It is a very painful thing for everyone involved.

 

I hate to say this, but I would cut off the friendship. The friend is in trouble and this is going to get worse before it gets better.

 

He might also be testing your son to see if he tells. And of course he will never, ever, ever admit to stealing the bracelet himself. He will blame your son and drag his name through the mud all over town. Say nothing. There is also a good chance the boy will steal from your home etc. My sister stole from everywhere she went. From her friends, from my mom's friends, from the places she babysat etc etc.

 

And when he gets caught anyone with him will be picked up and charged. That is fairly standard procedure. My friend's darling, sweet daughter got arrested in college because some girl she didn't know very well from the dorm stole a pair of earrings. They arrested everyone in the group and charged them all.

 

If the family gets some help I have faith that this boy can learn and become a honest and trustworthy young man. But, that is something they are going to have to come to terms with themselves. Much easier to acknowledge if they hear it from the cops. That way it can feel private and they can tell themselves that no one knows.

 

Throw the bracelet out. Don't return it to the store because they will only try to say your son stole it. Just let it go and chalk it up to a life lesson learned. But I would stay away from that boy. He is asking for help and letting the world know that he is in trouble. Unfortunately, you can't give it to him and you can't make his parents see how much pain their son is in.

 

Many good points made here.

 

I feel indecisive about what to do with the bracelet, though. The bracelet must leave your possession, for sure. I incline toward thinking that it should be returned to the store anonymously, if a way can be found. There is possibility that an honest store employee might be accused and punished for the loss of merchandise. Think how OP and her son would feel if they were to hear about that at some future point!

 

Not a productive friendship. If the police "judge us by the company we keep", so do other people.

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t/j - and i'm not saying you are wrong about this at all, redsquirrel - but I'm wondering if this might actually be a moment of growth and comprehension for the OP's DS, since he is a teen. It might be a "safe" (since his parents know the truth and support him) way to learn about how people who are untrustworthy in one area of life are often untrustworthy in others; how people will deny and project their own wrongdoing; how a troubled friend is not necessarily a safe or reliable friend. I don't know.....

 

That is not something I would want my kid to have to participate in. You might have very good reasons to make a different decision.

 

Having seen some parents turn quite ugly in my time I am very hesitant to be around when other people 'discipline' their kids. I have seen parents I would have never thought capable turn to threats of strong violence against their own teens, and it was clear that it wasn't am empty threat. My kid doesn't need to see such a thing. I didn't need to see it.

 

If the bracelet belonged to a person, I would have said to return it to the person without delay. I am capable of nuance and differentiation.

 

I like the idea of giving the bracelet directly to the parents and telling them that their son left it at your house.

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:001_huh: I'm a little perplexed by the details in the first 2 paragraphs, especially. They imply, to me, a fair amount of judgment and possibly some assumption.

 

The event, as written, seems incomplete. I'm not sure I'd automatically assume the bracelet was stolen, that the other boy stole it, that your son didn't know.

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This whole thread is scaring me as I try to break my little one of a habit of stealing.

 

I agree with telling your son to never go with that boy to places where everything isn't nailed down.

 

Whether they could remain friends is another question. It's tough because normally, kids could meet up at school and not need to go to each others' homes in order to maintain a friendship. I hate to deprive a troubled child of his only good friend. But it is very easy for a "good kid" to get sucked into his friends' foolishness. Perhaps you could arrange get-togethers that are fairly safe, such as lunch at McD's or a fishing outing (with an adult present), until it seems the boy has turned his life around.

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