Two teens who admitted to stealing items from 13 cars in a Washington community got a unique punishment instead of charges: a victim led them door-to-door to apologize to residents for what they did.
Eliza Webb, a 29-year-old from West Seattle, said she found a stranger’s cellphone inside her car after it was ransacked on June 14, the Seattle Times reports.
She called the ‘Mom’ contact and reached the mom of the phone owner, who invited her over to her house to speak about the incident.
Webb said when she arrived, the teen – who wished to remain anonymous -- admitted to what he did and said his actions were fueled by alcohol and boredom. But she decided not to press charges.
“I think bringing the police and courts into something like this can have long-term, devastating consequences for kids,” Webb told The Seattle Times. “I wanted to meet him, talk to his parents and see if there might be another way. I felt that if I could get him to own up to what he’d done and understand there were consequences, it could be a much better outcome.”
After speaking with Webb, the teen then retrieved the stolen items from the car trunk of an 18-year-old friend, who he said joined him in ransacking the vehicles.
The items included cellphones, laptop chargers, sunglasses and Webb’s gym shoes.
Webb brought the teens door-to-door to show residents what items they had taken and to apologize for doing so. Some residents praised them for what they were doing, while others scolded the teens and lectured them about being victims of a crime, The Seattle Times reports.
“I’m actually kind of glad it happened,” the 19-year-old said. “It felt terrible to hear that people are worried and feel like they have to lock the door because of what I did.”