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AIBU Me V My nearly 11 yo son re. petty theft.

(17 Posts)
fastweb Wed 29-Jun-11 20:06:07

My son goes to a church based youth club\summer camp. He has been going for two years without any issues with theft. But last week he had his entire deck of the higher value Yu Gi Oh cards nicked from his bag.

My first instinct was to make him leave anything thievable at home, but as he pointed out these collections (and the Pokemon games on the DSi that they play collaboratively) are the most fun when part of group play. If he leaves them at home he'll be left out of playing games that he loves. So I let him take his stuff in with him despite the previous theft and my misgivings.

Today 15 euros (that was to charge up his account at the snack bar, it wasn't open when he arrived), the Yu Gi Oh cards his friends had donated to help him start to build his collection back up again and a Pokemon DSi game (the white game, which is his fave game that he only just got after ages of saving up) all got swiped despite him going to some lengths to hide them in his lunch box, wrapped out in his towel\change of clothes etc.

He doesn't cry easily, but he has been in buckets over this.

The priests can't install lockers, they are really expensive and the budget is limited, and it is impossible to police the bags of over 300 kids who are in and out the bag room getting stuff out of them all day, so I don't really see a practical solution to the theft problem.

This evening I've asked him to leave all valuables at home from now on and accept that the card and DSi games are something he plays with his mates when they come over or he goes to their houses, even if that means a couple of hours a day he has to watch his mates play rather than join in.

He thinks this is very unfair and feels that he is losing out twice over, which is adding to his upset. I do understand how he feels, but even if I put a lock on his bag the reality is that he will probably just end up with the whole bag disappearing instead of stuff being selected from within it.

I suppose we could say, OK you can take the stuff you are prepared to lose on the basis that we are not replacing anything else.

But rightly or wrongly, that makes me feel really mean.

So AIBU to insist he leaves his valuable stuff at home ? Or can the collective wisdom of MNetters point me to a better solution that doesn't make him so unhappy.

worraliberty Wed 29-Jun-11 20:09:27

Oh that's dreadful sad

What about one of those belt things with all the zips and pockets?

<Refusing to use the phrase 'fanny pack'>

EldonAve Wed 29-Jun-11 20:10:03

why can't they keep their bags with them?

EmsieRo Wed 29-Jun-11 20:12:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fastweb Wed 29-Jun-11 20:23:49


That is a really good idea, especially if I can get hold of one that keeps water out. Cos it is so damn hot and humid the kids spend a lot of the day charging around in huge water filled inflatable volleyball\basket ball pitch things. If I don't buy a 100 % waterproof one I reckon his DSi and phone would be dripping wet by hour three . They tend to push each over and splash a lot in the wet play area.

Thanks love, I'll check what amazon has to offer, they are my best bet for getting stuff sent over in under a week.

blueemerald Wed 29-Jun-11 20:28:18

I'm not religious but I'm shocked that the priests/church don't seem to be doing more about this. Isn't there something about not stealing in the 10 commandments, the foundation for their religion? hmm
Even if they can't actually do anything a very stern message needs to be sent out or you will have an epidemic on your hands.

fastweb Wed 29-Jun-11 20:45:10

why can't they keep their bags with them?

Cos they are too big and heavy, full of lunch, 2L bottle of water, towels, change of clothes, swimming cossie and stuff. The priests want all the bags in one room (rather than being shifted from play area to play area where the kids can keep an eye on their own bag) after several tripping incidents, including one that left a kid dripping blood and having to go to A&E.

Do you know if others have also had stuff stolen or just him? Seems like the priest/organisers need to nip this in the bud and do something about it.

Its not just him. Lots of kids had whole decks of cards stolen last week and this week phones, cash, DS games and other more valuable stuff being nicked.

The priests feel at a bit of a loss I think. Because they don't have the manpower to police the room and can't afford lockers. They did start the snack bar account system to cut down on the kids needing to carry cash every day, which has helped, but today the snack bar opened late cos volunteer was running late so the kids had cash in their bags while waiting for it to open, and several of them lost the lot.

This is a new problem, hasn't happened during any other summer camp (apart from the odd isolated incident) nor during the rest of the year when it is open as a youth club, so I think they are caught on the hop. I think they will get a handle on it eventually, but because it has been a bit of a curve ball (given the scale) I think it will take a while to sort out a solution.

EldonAve Wed 29-Jun-11 20:46:27

If it's that big an issue then they should be involving the police

worraliberty Wed 29-Jun-11 20:49:11

No problemo grin

On the other hand, it still doesn't solve the long term problem though. Is there nothing they can do? sad

Itsjustafleshwound Wed 29-Jun-11 20:49:45

He has been on the receiving end of two nasty thieving incidents. The church/youth centre have made it clear that they are unwilling to pursue it/ do anything about it so the only course of action is to ask your son to leave his valuables at home and find something else that he can do with his friends ...

Rhinestone Wed 29-Jun-11 20:52:55

Any reason why you're not ringing the police? That is actually what they're there for.

worraliberty Wed 29-Jun-11 20:53:12

fastweb The one in the link is sold out..but it's probably the sort of thing you're looking waterproof they can swim with them on.

fastweb Wed 29-Jun-11 21:35:29

Any reason why you're not ringing the police? That is actually what they're there for.

There is a local policeman who has the task of dropping into the youth club when it is open to keep an eye on elements who caused trouble in the past (not nicking on a large scale ). It might be worth having a word to see if he would have a word with all the kids, although I think it would probably be more diplomatic to go through the priests rather than me appeal to him directly.

Isn't there something about not stealing in the 10 commandments, the foundation for their religion?

I did consider going and asking for a Big Moral Lecture to be delivered, if for nothing else than to sooth the feeling some victims of theft have that their losses just aren't being taken seriously, so they should turn detective and track the thief down (which might not turn out well since at this age jumping to conclusions is not unheard of).

But partly I'm worried that an atheist advising clergy on moral issues is going to come across a bit like teaching your grandmother to suck eggs, and partly I'm nervous that since they don't see a lot of value in these sorts of games they could make a snap decision under pressure, ban all cards\handhold electronic and my son's name will be mud cos "it's your mum's fault !!!".

What might work is to make an appeal along the lines of "the kids need a citizenship message" combined with the poster's above suggestion, and put it forward as asking the local policeman to speak to the whole group to give the thieves a warning that they are being looked out for and There Will Be Uniformed Consequences. It won't work on the theives i don't think, but the kids who are getting something of a mixed message about not all theft being seen as that big a deal might get warned off form persuing that mindset.


You star, I can send that link to my sis when she gets back so she knows what to look for if amazon don't get any more stock in the next few days.

onceamai Wed 29-Jun-11 22:10:35

If there are 300 children, limited resources and thieving is going on as you suggest, you all pay about 25p and and hire somebody to keep an eye on the room where the bags are ketp. Simples smile

onceamai Wed 29-Jun-11 22:11:46

Should also have said - feeling very sorry for the lad.

fastweb Wed 29-Jun-11 22:30:18

you all pay about 25p and and hire somebody to keep an eye on the room where the bags are ketp. Simples

I might offer to lurk in the bag room myself as a volunteer.

Or ship over a cheapo CCTV or six.

I could use the profits from my new business selling importing waterproof, thief proof, bum bags to other youth club using parents who are at their wits end with tearful kids who aren't even cheered up by the offer to replace card and games, because it's the fruits of hours of swapping\playing\gaining levels\accrued pints and rewards that feel like just as big a loss as the card\games itself.

I think he was four the last time he cried this much.

I think I am going to ask him not to take anything valuable to him with him for the next few days as a short term immediate solution until I can get him that bum bag. But I also want to put some of the ideas I've got here into practice as well, if nothing else it will show him I take his losses seriously, which might make him feel a bit better.

fastweb Thu 30-Jun-11 15:07:51

Just an update.

He was in tears again this morning and didn't want to go to summer camp (hell just froze over, I normally have to point out that a fever and youth club are not a good mix). So upon discovering that the waterplay stuff is being removed tonight for the remainder of camp cos the people lending it need it for an event, we went and got a non waterproof bum bag thing, but it goes over the shoulder. It was the only one in town, but luckily he loves it, loads of pockets and hidey spaces with good quality zips. And it says Adidas on it, which is a bonus apparently.

Then we went to the newsagents and restocked him with YU Gi Oh cards, so at least he has a deck to play with.

I also relented on my anti ebay feeling and he has found a few of the extra special cards he lost at not too horrible a price so since his birthday is coming up we have offered to buy some of them now as an extra pressie.

I'll see if I can track down a second hand copy of the DSi game that got swiped too.

After lunch he decided he wanted to go to the club, but stay out of the water play for the sake of not taking the bag off.

The plan was that I would speak to the priest, but DH intervened cos I went a bit garbled trying to say everything at once. The priests were amenable to speaking to all the kids on Friday and coming down like a ton of bricks cos while they can't do much about the hardcore element they think being light fingered is become a bit infectious. They have also stuck 2 mums (who looked very glum) on permanent bag room duty because apparently yesterday was a record nicking day and several posher entire bags went missing as well as stuff out of the less desirable bags. The whole thing has cast a bit of a long shadow over what is a normally brilliant atmosphere unfortunately.

Other than DS's constant optimism that the thief\thieves will be caught and he will get his stuff back (he took it very badly when I explained that even if they got caught the chances of him seeing his stuff again was so low that it might be better to just accept it is gone rather than live in false hope) things are a good bit better than they were last night\this morning.

So thank you all for your suggestions and ideas, it was a big help. I wish you could have seen his walking in and showing all his friends all the fabby pockets in his new bag with a smile on his face (finally).

He is very impressed with the wisdom of mumsnet, so if you start getting 11 yo boy dilemmas posted in creatively spelled English posted under my name, somebody drop me a line and give me fair warning please.grin

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