What can we do if our child is stealing from us? 2 Answers as of November 10, 2011I have taken legal custody of a child. We have had him for 22 months and he has been stealing from us since he arrived. We have had him in counseling but that did not help. We have talked to him and grounded him but that has not helped. At this point, we feel the only thing we can do is to have him arrested. How do I go about doing this or is there another option? What happens if I file a police report? He is 14 years old. What type of charge would this be? How would it effect his future? This is a list of the items he has stolen in the last 8 months: March 2011: Stolen 14k Gold Herringbone Chain 22” 12mm approximate weight: 45.6g ~$3,879.00. March 2011: Stolen 18k White Gold Antique Diamond Ring .38 Carats F/SI1 ~$3899.00 March 2011: Stolen 14k Gold Dia-Cut Bracelet approximate weight: 6.5g ~$498.00 March 2011: Stolen Bracelet with assorted stones ~$150.00 March 2011: Stolen Men’s Gold Two Peso Nugget Ring 14K approximate Weight: 11.2g ~$857.00 March 2011: Stolen Women’s Gold Two Peso Ring 14K approx weight: 7.3g ~$536.00 April 27, 2011: Found stolen bracelet (14k Gold Dia-Cut Bracelet) in J’s school locker. April 2011: Stole $250 in cash from dresser draw. August 17, 2011: Found J with diamond ring and Women’s Two Peso Ring. October 22, 2011: Found a stolen cell phone in J’s room. Could not find owner called Verizon, AT&T, and GoPhone. October 27, 2011: Found stolen “dip” in J’s room (J said that he has been selling the dip at school) Cost of total theft: $10,069. Cost of unrecoverable items: $5,136.
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Does he have a drug problem? There are usually other factors driving him to do this. Identify the factors causing him to do this and you may be in a position to determine the best course for eliminating the stealing. An adolescent psychiatrist or psychologist may be able to meet with you, and him, to help identify the problem and the best course for dealing with it. Having a 14 year old arrested does not always resolve the problem. If he is arrested for theft of property the case would go to the Juvenile court. If arrested and charged, and the conduct continues, he may eventually be facing a commitment in state school or being held in detention. He is getting dangerously close to being old enough to be treated as an adult. If he is stealing from you he will likely soon be stealing from others and that could get out of your control.
Answer Applies to: Alabama