Dumb stupid kids doing dumb stupid things + Police

I’m starting to hurt a little. My left foot. My right shin. My right hand throbs. I had a pretty crummy afternoon.

I had to get home early to watch the kids. The wife was going out to a club thing, so I left a little early. I’ve done it before, it’s really no big deal.

I hop on the train and get the usual favorite seat, the one where I can lay my backpack flat, and still leave it touching my feet, so I can feel it. Wouldn’t want it growing legs or anything. After all, it’s got a pretty expensive laptop, and the information on it, while encrypted, would still be best left in my care.

Round about the Metro Denver station…heck, maybe 10th and Osage, I look up and see the usual groups of younger kids get on. The girls are off in their group, a group of three or four boys are standing at the top of the steps in the middle of the train. I notice they’re of a certain ethnicity (unimportant), and they’re all wearing similar black jackets. One has a silver chain necklace. I look back down to my iPhone, where I’m surfing the web and listening to a podcast. The Train stops at the Alameda station and I see some movement out of the corner of my eyes. Someone is reaching, quickly, for my phone.

He grabs my phone.

I think “Oh, I’m not going to let him run away with it”, and I tear down the steps and run after the bolting group.

I can regret not working out for six months, but really, I was never a runner. I see I’m not keeping up with the perp, but a kid to the right is closer to me, and not quite as fast. I change targets.

And my foot slides on the concrete. I think “tuck and roll”, so I tuck and roll.

By the time I get up, they’re gone. I’m winded, and there’s no chance of catching them. I look around and don’t see any security. I see my train’s gone and think “Crap, I’m going to be late getting home” and also, “Crap, That’s a good $600 dollars, out of contract, it’s gonna cost me.”

And then I remember my backpack. It’s on a long gone train. I suddenly feel very ill-equipped.

What time is it? I dunno, I usually check my phone.

When’s the next train? I dunno, I usually check my phone.

I dime sized chunk of skin is gone from my palm and is now starting to sting.

A Bus pulls up and I run up to the driver and ask if he can call security, he says I can call them on the phone behind me. I pick up the handset and it’s quiet…then I look again and see the red button…I push it and it rings. Another time. A train is arriving. It’s my line. I hang up the phone and jump on the train.

I walk to the front and ring the bell for the conductor. I tell him my phone has been stolen, and my backpack is on the F train ahead of him. He talks to dispatch, I relay where the backpack was, and he needs to leave the station. At the next stop I’m starting to shake a little. I think to ask him for a phone and he loans me his. The 6 key sticks. I have a hard time calling home. Get it dialed on the third attempt and tell my wife my phone was stolen, I’m trying to recover my backpack and I won’t be able to be home in time. I close the phone because the door to the control room is opening, the ‘Driver’ (conductor? Engineer? Says the most unexpected thing:

“They’ve caught the kids. They want you to go back up to Alameda station and identify them.” he then mentions something about 4:15 I didn’t quite catch…but I DID catch ‘head back north’.

So I thank him profusely, and wait for a northbound train. 10 minutes or so. Seems longer. I’m pretty worked up. Train comes, I get on, I go two stops north.

I get off the train and talk to the Police. Evidently the kids are in another squad car and they’re to take me to them. I get in the back. I’m 6’6", I don’t fit well in the back seat of a Police car. I take a moment to wonder if the passers by think I did something wrong. The Officer drives around the parkinglot, answers the radio, and says “I guess they’re bringing them to us.” and brings the car back to where we started.

After a minute or two, two units pull up a little bit away, and an Officer comes back to me. He says they’ve recovered my phone, and it’s now my decision. Do I press charges? By this time, I’ve heard my backpack has been recovered, it’ll be at the Alameda station at 4:15 (a ha. That’s what the guy said.)

Now here’s the problem. Do I ‘nail their ass to the wall and teach them a lesson?’, or do I let them go as they’re already hanging out in a police car and I’m getting all my stuff back. I’m a father of two boys, aged 7, and perhaps it’s a reflection of where I am with them, but I think “If I talk to them, maybe that’ll be enough”. The Police aren’t permitted to lead me one way or the other. I’m sorting about for a deciding factor. “How’s the phone?” “It’s perfect, sir, there’s nothing wrong with it.” “If I press charges, do they find out who I am?” “Yes sir, witnesses retain anonymity, as the victim you do not.” “So will this be a big impact on my life?” “Probably one court appearance, sir.”

No deciding factors there. I think back to the kids wearing all the same jackets and wonder about gang activity. I guess the last thing I want is to give them a name and address to egg (or worse). So at this point, they get a drive home in a police car, the parents get a talking to, and I can get busy healing and moving on.

“Does this go on their record?” “They get a line that says an incident occurred but the victim declined to press charges.” “So it counts, they get dinged if something happens in the future” “Not really”

The funny thing is, at this point, the two things I haven’t felt are fear or anger. I dunno why, perhaps they’re young enough I didn’t feel threatened. Perhaps it’s the nature of the incident. It was a smash and grab, half a step above shoplifting.

I turn to the OTHER officer to my left. Crack a smile and say “Whaddaya think, is this incident going to change their life?” Turns out he’s RTD security, says he’s been doing this for XX years and doesn’t think I want to hear his answer.

So, it’s down to: Nail their ass to the wall, or turn them free. Lose my anonymity, or give them a mulligan?

It’s a tough question, and there really doesn’t seem to be a factor leading me one way or the other. Dumb stupid kids doing dumb stupid things.

Discuss and I’ll tell you what I decided.

Hell, YES, press charges. If they find out there are no consequences to this behavior, they have no reason to change. Even if you do, they may not improve their behavior, but if you don’t, it’s pretty certain that it will continue - and, in all likelihood, get worse.

I voted yes, too. Nip it in the bud now. Why should they get a free pass?

How old (more or less) are these “kids”?

Between 13 and 16 I’d figgure. Juvies at any rate.

After all that crap that has been stolen from me, if someone who does is ever found the cops are going to hear 'I’m pressing every damn charge possible" by way of introduction.

By the way, did they give any indication on how the kids were found?

I voted for press charges. Your options are press charges or do nothing. Talking to them would be a waste of breath. We were all that age once, did you really give a shit what a grownup said…especially one you didn’t know.
If you press charges, then they have to deal with their parents. Besides, I really doubt they’d come and harass you anyways.

For clarification: I got everything back. The backpack, while a little stressful was returned via RTD. Further, it’s state equipment and fully insured as a result.

If it helps, there’s no fiscal gain to be had here. I can pretty much guarantee there’s no money to be had.

Dumb? Stupid? Fucker stole from you, snatched it right out of your hands and ran. “Dumb” and “stupid” is egging cars, crap like that.

Press charges. Actions need to have appropriate consequences.

If it was really dumb stupid kids doing dumb stupid things, I’d have voted “talk and set free”. But this isn’t that. Press charges.

Anonymous caller dialed 911

What a shitty day! There has been a rash of iPhone robberies on Chicago CTA trains lately - enough to make the news - so if the same thing happened to me, I think I’d be taking the hard line.

It’s so hard to say whether the same thing would have happened to me under the same circumstances. Would they have targeted me the same way? 5’3" female with an iPhone, are you a less sympathetic target being a tall man? Dunno. Very brave of you to run after them, I wonder what might have happened if you hadn’t taken a header when you switched directions?

I disagree with your analogy to not much more than shoplifting, though. When someone takes something from another person, it’s a mugging. It’s personal. He went specifically after YOUR STUFF. He decided to just go ahead and TAKE something someone else had, that he couldn’t earn for himself. Someone who would do that to you today WILL do worse tomorrow, especially if he gets away with this now and bigger and bigger things later on. Cars? Home break-ins?

You were MUGGED.

I’m glad you got everything back, those train conductors can be pretty amazing guys, I’ve gotten quite a bit of assistance from them here and there over my many years of commuting. And yes, conductors. I have an aunt who’s retired now from the BNSF railroad and who worked with those guys for decades.

Did you tell your boys about it? Hope your wife didn’t get mad! (You know, the angry-scared thing wives and mothers are wont to do when a loved one gets in harm’s way) :wink:

Press charges. All day long. Why would you want to let them get away with it?

Throw the book at 'em. Hope it dents their skulls.

Well, I’ll admit, at the time I was in shock, pumped on adrenalin, out of breath and a little sore. Here’s what happened, and at this point I don’t recall signing anything that said I wouldn’t press charges, so a bit of research may be in my future.

I asked the Officer if I ccould talk to the two kids they caught. Given the option of going for processing or talking to me, they opted to talk to me.

One kid was going to cop to the theft, but the other boy they caught owned up to it. Honor amongst theives, I guess.

Loosly paraphrased, I said I had a couple of boys, and when I talk to them sometimes they listen, and sometimes they don’t. I don’t care if you hear this or not. I said getting caught by the police over a PHONE was stupid. It was a bad choice. I showed them my bloody hand and thanked them for fucking up my afternoon. I said that they should make better decisions or run the risk that the next guy won’t be so understanding. I also reminded them again that THEY GOT CAUGHT. I’m sure they didn’t hear any of it.

Talking to the security guards after the fact, they suspected the kids came from the School up the line that’s already kind of the last chance stop for them. So I suspect a snatch and run line-item on their record won’t make a bit of difference one way or the other. If they’re going to straighten their lives out they’ll do it with or without this incident. Often, it comes down to their parents. IF they care, something will come of it…they often don’t care.

I dunno. I’m torn with “was I a rube?” “Was I just another stupid rich white commuter?” or “Was I the adult that DIDN’T take a shitty situation in their world and make it worse?” I dunno. Could go either way. It might scare them straight, and it might be a pothole on a road to a 10x10 and 3 squares.

Adding my vote to “Press every charge possible, nail them to the wall”, theft/muggings should not be allowed to go unpunished

these punks made the conscious decision to steal from you, if they didn’t want to end up in jail, maybe, they, oh I don’t know, SHOULDN’T STEAL STUFF THAT DOESN’T BELONG TO THEM!?!

toss 'em in the slammer and let them stew, they made their decision, they have to live with the consequences

Let me put it to you this way: if either of my sons (or my daughters for that matter) had done this to you, I sincerely hope you would press charges.

Sometimes, even if parents teach a kid all about right and wrong, they try things. If they get away with them, then I think they begin to walk away from that teaching. They need to feel the consequences.

Yeah, I’m with the “actions have consequences” crowd. If they didn’t like the consequences, they had the option of not performing the action that led there.

As far as I know you can still call the police tomorrow and press charges.

And really, the court date is not likely to be a big deal. I was mugged by a 16-year-old girl a couple years back; she didn’t expect me to fight back so she didn’t get my wallet, I did get her phone, and she and her friends were picked up 10 minutes later.

And I knew they were going to be in deep shit with their parents regardless of what I did. The kid driving the car was 1> driving his grandmother’s car and 2> his mom was a cop. I pressed charges anyway. There was absolutely no question in my mind. And the court date basically consisted of me showing up, saying “yup, she mugged me” and then the judge sentenced her. Granted I think she pled down, but from what you said those kids would have to be dumb to insist on a trial, too.

I didn’t feel any sympathy for her when she started sobbing at the judge and saying how sorry she was, either.

Definitely, without a doubt, press charges. This is not just dumb kids doing stupid things. They need to be smacked upside the head with the big fist of justice.

If their life is made worse by this, maybe that’s a good thing. Sometimes you have to hit the bottom before you realize that you need to stop making dumbass decisions like stealing phones from people on the train.