Need Advice- 18 Year Old Sons Involvement in the Burglary of My Mom's Home

Updated on February 15, 2017
K.V. asks from Escondido, CA
11 answers

Too many details to share but basically my son burned bridges with his father and came to live with me full time. He continued to be a bad role model for his younger sisters age 12 and 3, and despite family talks, lots of patience, second, third, seemingly endless extra chances to improve and had to I make the tough choice of having him live elsewhere to spare my daughters from having such negativity in their lives. My mom (his grandmother) took him in and it's been a rocky relationship between them. Her complaints were his messy room, general irresponsibility disrespectful talk, and overall disregard for her rules. He had a few friends that came over a couple times when my mom was out of town but not sure exactly who. Most of the friends that I have met seem fine (but I know they all smoke pot) Fast forward to yesterday when my mom called me and the police frantic because someone got into her house through an unlocked door (my mom is obsessive about securing her house since she loves alone). Luckily she wasn't home at the time. They ransacked the house and stole all of her jewelry- over $50,000 worth of Rolex watches, purses, rings, and diamonds. They looked under the mattresses, broke into her locked briefcases, and left every drawer in the whole rummaged through. Police were called and suggested that it was an "inside job" most likely a young person based on what was taken, what was left behind, the manner in which things were upended, and the amount of time spent in the house. My son said he called his friends and said nobody knew anything about this. He said he wasn't involved in any way. My gut tells me it was a friend of a friend of a friend, but my fear is that he had more of a connection to this. I'm torn- heartbroken, angry, and distrustfulof his words. We had evidence run for fingerprints and will find out the results in a few days. He's 18 years old. Old enough to know better and old enough to feel the consequence of this if he did have anything to do with this, but it's basically his word until there is evidence that directly points to him. My thought is to have him move from my mom's immediately because this most likely wouldn't have happened to her if he wasn't living with her. But as he's burned all bridges with his immediate family, I'm fearful of the path this will take him if he has to live with even less adult supervision. Any suggestions on how to handle this with my son? Or how to find out if he had any involvement in this?

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D.H.

answers from Louisville on

Go to local pawn shops and look for these items - if found, there may well be "links" to the sellers of said items.

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C.C.

answers from New York on

I think the bridge you need to mend is with your mother! It just seems nuts to send your no-goodnick pot-smoking older teenage son to live with your elderly mother. "Happy early Mothers Day, mom - hide your jewelry!"

If anything, it seems like you should have sent your 12 and 3 year old daughters for a "visit with grandma" while you doubled down on figuring out what to do with your son.

At this point, help him find an apartment to rent...he will need one eventually anyway.

11 moms found this helpful
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M.P.

answers from Portland on

I'm a retired police officer. When the value of stolen property is that high they will investigate unless your mother says she won't prosecute. I'm a grandmother with a granddaughter living with me. I understand how difficult and painful this is.

I suggest both you and your mother get psychological help while dealing with this. You need help while changing the way you look at your son. For too long, you have protected him and not yourselves or your other 2 children. I know you thought moving him to his grandmother's was protecting your children. It may be difficult to accept that this plan protected no one and damaged your mother emotionally and monotarily. This theft affects all of you, even your children.

Get professional help with dealing with your feelings and deciding what to do with your son. Stop protecting your son. Be especially supportive of ypur mother. If you haven't already get your son out of her house. You know he was involved in some way, if only by bringing his friends into the house and letting his friends know she has expensive jewelry.

Of course, your son will say his friends didn't do it. Let the police investigate. Cooperate with them. Let your son deal with the police and his guilt. Stop protecting him and yourselves by questioning whether or not he's involved. Accept that he has hurt all of you in the past and he continues to hurt you. Take care of yourselves. You cannot rescue him. He's 18. Time for him to take care of himself.

Do not do any investigation yourself! Give police information so they can investigate. There is skill needed. If you or anyone else gets involved, you make it more difficult for them.

In our city, laws require that pawn shops keep records. The officers have already contacted the pawn shops. It will not be helpful for you to contact them. Ask the police about ways you can help.

I want to reinforce that your son is involved, that you cannot trust him and that allowing him to continue living with his grandmother, is not good for him or your mother.

I have some difficulty with my 16 yo granddaughter but if she were obviously disrespectful, I would not be able to have her here.

9 moms found this helpful

B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

This happened to a friend of ours.
They took in a troubled nephew - he and 'his friends' robbed them blind.
They had to evict and change all the locks and install a security system.
Because sometimes they wait till insurance replaces things and then they come back and rob the same place again.
Let the police sort things out.
It doesn't sound like your son is interested in changing his ways or hanging out with people who won't lead him into trouble.
He's burnt his bridges and hasn't done anything to build any new ones.
If he's guilty - it's time he face up to the consequences of his decisions.
No more begging family or friends to take him in.

9 moms found this helpful
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A.D.

answers from Minneapolis on

You should contact the police personnel assigned to this case. Your son telling you he called up his friends and him telling you they deny any involvement is crazy-not-good-enough. Your son and your mom should be interviewed together. His friends are substance users and have recently been in your mom's home. They should be considered suspects. Names, phone numbers, and addresses should be given to the police. If you hold a cell phone account for your son, access and review the records and share with police. If you hold any bank accounts for him, or if any of his have your name on them, review the records. Alert local pawn shops. Start searching Craig's List, Ebay, etc. He is 18, and is not living in your house. I don't think YOU can "have him" move anywhere. But you should encourage your mom to end his living arrangement with her. She may have to talk to an attorney if just telling him to leave doesn't work. He may have to couch hop with friends for awhile, but it's time for him to grow up and experience real world consequences for burning bridges.

7 moms found this helpful

C.T.

answers from Santa Fe on

Has your son done therapy? Have you done Family Therapy with him? I would leave the theft investigation to the police, but that's really messed up if he had something to do with it. If it were me I would move him in with me and start with Family Therapy as well as individual therapy. You say he is negative and disrespectful all the time and you and his dad kicked him out. I am guessing he does not feel wanted. Do you do things with him or do you focus only on your younger kids? So sorry...this is a really bad scenario. Added: I don't really know what to advise as I don't know all you have been through with your son. Marda P. sounds very knowledgable and I would follow her advice.

6 moms found this helpful

D.B.

answers from Boston on

How awful for your mother - what a terrible sense of being violated, and that's without even considering the financial loss.

You cooperate with the police entirely. You give the names of your sons friends and let the authorities take it from there, collecting fingerprints and every other piece of evidence they can find. It's not up to your son to survey his friends on behalf of law enforcement.

Your mother cannot allow anyone else in the house until this investigation is completed. If they come in the house, she has to call the cops for assistance in having them removed. If she has anything of value that they missed, it has to go into a safety deposit box immediately. Same with anything they didn't know to take: stock certificates, and any/all info on financial matters, including account numbers and passwords.

I am sorry, but I think your 18 year old adult son has to go out on his own. If he has so many friends, he can surely find someone to live with. Then your mother's locks need to be changed and your son cannot have a key or be allowed near anyone in the family who has a key (like you, for example - guard your purse and keyring at all times).

He has to learn to pay for his mistakes and to become responsible so he doesn't make worse ones. The best thing might be for him to get into some trouble and be on the police department's radar. Earlier intervention is better than later, devastating consequences. You cannot enable him further by being afraid of what will happen if you and your mother aren't watching him - look what happened when you WERE watching him, you know? He's beyond your ability to control. He's an adult.

If you cannot do this, I suggest that you and your mother get into some counseling to learn how to approach this with strength and a sense of determination.

My husband's ex did NOT take this approach with my stepdaughter, and she has had nothing but trouble for many years. The counselor, the police and my husband wanted the daughter to pay for some misdemeanor offenses, but her mother just couldn't do it. Now my stepdaughter is in a homeless shelter for domestic violence victims (still unable to entirely cut ties with the abusive criminal she was with as a teen), and enough offenses on her record that she can't get a job now. If only she had faced the music back then....

6 moms found this helpful

T.D.

answers from Springfield on

at 18 a friend of mine was caught smoking pot.. and she was immediately kicked out. she had to find a place to stay till she could work enough to get her own place. no its not ideal, but she learned real fast that you don't get to do unethical things and not be accountable.
i think you should let this 18 yr old fend for himself.

4 moms found this helpful
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M.G.

answers from Portland on

I guess if I didn't trust my kid, I'd just consider it a possibility he was involved and remove him from your mother's house. Sounds like that will be 4 moves for him. I can only imagine what message that sends to a kid. No one wants him. Have you tried counselling? That's where I would start.
Sometimes items are recovered and traced back to the thieves - I know a group of teens was caught in our area because they tried to sell the stolen goods. You might never know.
Your son needs professional help though. I'd start there.

Added: Therapy for you too - so you can best parent him. Even a few sessions can make a world of difference.

3 moms found this helpful
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R.B.

answers from San Francisco on

It's probable that your son was involved in some way. You will probably get some confirmation shortly -- I'll bet the perpetrators aren't smart enough to cover this up -- but at 18, it's time for your son to leave grandma's house anyway.

So yes, he should go. "Adult supervision" is not realistic nor possible at 18. So you are going to have to let your son work some things out for himself. Help him get started on his own or with some roommates. You can possibly pay rent for a couple months until he gets on his feet. But this young man has given the adults in his life a hard time for long enough, it's time to allow him to stand on his own two feet. Necessity is the mother of invention, and it's amazing how quickly young people will mature when their parents allow them to.

If it is found that he was involved in the burglary, let him face the consequences. Do not bail him out.

Sorry you and your mom had to go through this.

2 moms found this helpful
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S.S.

answers from Atlanta on

Your son is now a legal adult. He needs to be on his own.

This is the time for tough love. Your son needs to know that he is going to be held accountable for the actions of his friends. He needs to be removed from his grandmother's home and on his own.

Your mom needs to change her locks, ensure the police put the information out on ALL pawn shops in the state. She needs to file an insurance claim for the personal property loss. I'd tell her to get cameras installed in the house where the video is kept off property as well.

Tell him that you love him but you cannot associate with criminals. He needs to get to the bottom of this and prove that he has some morals and decency. If he had NOTHING to do with it? He should be VERY sorry and VERY angry, trying VERY hard to find out who messed with his family.

I'd tell the police you believe he has something to do with it. When the finger prints come back? Hopefully, it will exclude him. How horrible that you are in this situation.

1 mom found this helpful
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