When does taking something by mistake become theft?

(73 Posts)
Mumto1plus2 Mon 29-Apr-13 16:48:39

My son's lunchbag went missing last week and still hasn't been returned. It's not in lost property and the teacher says she's looked for it to no avail. What conclusion can I draw other than someone else has taken it? It's been 5 days now. It has his name on it and an unusual bottle and lunchbox inside so difficult to confuse with another once opened. I've asked the PTA to send out an email but what more can I do? I am so cross. It's one thing for school clothes to get mixed up but this is the last straw. Of course, you can see the teacher's eyes roll as soon as you mention something like this... (sigh) hmm The thought that someone has kept it when they know it's not theirs really bothers me.

DeafLeopard Mon 29-Apr-13 16:51:51

"The thought that someone has kept it when they know it's not theirs really bothers me." I don't think you can draw that conclusion just because it hasn't been found TBH

Children lose stuff all the time, and all over the place - they leave them in drawers, in the playground, in the toilet etc - I think it is somewhere, just hasn't made it's way to lost property yet. Another parent would be unlikely to keep the wrong lunchbox

You asked the PTA to send out an email about a lost lunchbox shock.

You've asked them to send an email about a lost lunchbox??!!

Theft is dishonestly appropriating property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.

But since the age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales is 10 if its small kids then .......

Tee2072 Mon 29-Apr-13 17:40:48

My son's shoes have gone missing, well labelled, no one knows where they are.

They aren't stolen. They are missing/lost.

An email from the PTA? Really?

Mumto1plus2 Mon 29-Apr-13 17:42:56

PTA/Class Reps/Friends of the school all come under the same email. People are always asking them to send mails about lost/stolen scooters, etc, so yes, I did ask them.
As for losing it, it was placed on the trolley with all the other lunchbags and was not there at home time.
Seriously though, if you're reading this and you've nothing helpful to say, say nothing at all. There's no reason to be facetious.

You asked - and people have told you.

It happens at school. Especially when they're small.

Notch it up to experience and buy poundshop lunch bags in future.

I can't believe the PTA would send an email. Either over something like this, and also because its the PTA and in my experience wouldn't be within their remit.

Tee2072 Mon 29-Apr-13 17:45:53

You don't get to decide who responds to your posts, sorry. That's not how the internet works.

I think our general opinion is that you're over reacting.

ShatnersBassoon Mon 29-Apr-13 17:46:24

I don't suppose anybody would deliberately steal it. More likely a child has picked it up, realised it's not theirs and in a panic has ditched it somewhere in case the PTA forensics team were alerted they got in trouble.

Forget about it. Buy a new lunch box that's so unusual nobody will have the same one.

And for the record. You asked when it became theft. I gave you the definition of theft.

What did you want?

VerySmallSqueak Mon 29-Apr-13 17:49:34

The thing is that there's not a lot you can do about it,whether it has disappeared to that dank dark hole where all kids lost things go,or whether it has been kept by someone to whom it does not belong.
There's no point getting all eaten up about it.
I reckon it happens to us all at least once (I am still none the wiser as to where DD's brand new cardi went about 18 months ago despite a clear name label)
And,btw,people are allowed to respond with 'nothing helpful' wink.

Is it made of solid gold or something?

Its no big deal, it will be hiding somewhere, meantime stick his lunch in a plastic tub or a bag and chill out.

Mumto1plus2 Mon 29-Apr-13 17:50:41

Our? Oh, is this a committee responding?

Spero Mon 29-Apr-13 17:53:23

You have been given the definition of theft and the age of criminal responsibility. You also need to factor in the CPS test for prosecution which as far as I recall requires a reasonable chance of successful prosecution and that said prosecution is in the public interest.

So whether or not this is a crime which would be recognised and pursued in the criminal courts is highly unlikely.

If you are more interested in moral judgments then yes, it is highly annoying if people don't return stuff but my money is more on the culprit being disorganised and/or forgetful rather than rubbing their hands in glee over this unexpected lunchy box windfall.

If something is very valuable or special to you, I would never send it off to school.

VerySmallSqueak Mon 29-Apr-13 17:53:41

I can start to understand why the teacher rolled her/his eyes,OP.....

Slap my wrist Spero I missed that bit grin

Tee2072 Mon 29-Apr-13 17:55:23

Or as in we all agree you're over reacting.

Spero Mon 29-Apr-13 17:55:54

Tsk. I hope you don't hold any important roles on the PTA with that kind of slapdash attitude to CRIME.

Mumto1plus2 Mon 29-Apr-13 17:57:14

Well thanks for your replies. I am constantly surprised at how many miserable mums? there are out there who seem to enjoy posting on here just to be unpleasant to strangers. Don't you have anything better to do? That's a pity. Still, glad I could help. Enjoy your next victims! I'm off.

Me???!!! On the PTA?? Are you fucking kidding I wouldn't go near that if you paid me. grin

Spero Mon 29-Apr-13 17:58:54

The op and I breath a sigh of relief. We need responsible PTA members who will prosecute lunch box theft with enthusiasm and rigour.

I wasn't being unpleasant. You asked, in the title of your OP "When does taking something by mistake become theft" - I gave you the definition of theft, and the age of criminal responsibility so you would be able to work it out.

I wasn't unpleasant, I was factual and a little shocked to be honest that you thought it worth an email from the PTA and put it on the same level as a lost scooter.

ShatnersBassoon Mon 29-Apr-13 18:01:42

I wasn't unpleasant either. Just giving an alternative and more likely scenario. And being a little bit sarcastic about CSI: PTA.

kneedeepindaisies Mon 29-Apr-13 18:02:39

I love that Freddie is more insulted at being accused of being on the PTA then being called a miserable mum. grin

VerySmallSqueak Mon 29-Apr-13 18:03:49

Do you have a bit of a persecution complex,OP?

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