Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Beware of Minor Thieves

Last night, when I already slept, my hubby whispered to me and told me he just got back from outside. I told him where he went. He said he was with our neighbor, roaming around our village (nagfi-feeling tanod). "And why?", I said.  They were talking about a girl around 14 to16 years old, a Japanese descendant, who they suspect to have stolen cash in our neighborhood's sari-sari stores and one inside their house. The buzz spread like crazy in our small community. I was literally awakened by his news. I was quite alarmed when he said the age. Too young. He described that the girl is very innocent looking, charming and fair-skinned. A typical Japanese looking one. My hubby couldn't believe because he saw that girl in our village. A beautiful lass that you wouldn't think she can dare do it. He knew about it when our neighbor, right across our house, told my husband that he suspects that the girl stole the coins in his small store. At first he thought that it was their helper that is working with them for a long time now. Of course the helper said it was not her. For about a week, he has an inkling for that girl who keeps coming back at the store to buy something. Just recently, he has lots of 10-peso coins in his tray where he puts his cash. When the girl bought something from the store, he noticed she has lots of 10-peso coin in her hands and found that his tray don't have the coins anymore. Though there were several incidents like this happened to him with that girl so goes the suspicion. He cannot accuse the girl on the spot because he didn't caught the girl on the act of stealing the coins.

Then, we knew later on, that the store at the back of their house too was also victimized by the girl and some stores nearby. Her way is, she will befriend you and talk to you in a friendly manner. You wouldn't notice any harm from her because of her charms and the demeanor ways she has. But then she will just observe everything in the store and the manner the people moves inside. One time, the girl bought from another store a bottle of softdrink. The tindera (sales girl) went inside the house to get a bottle. The tindera  put the money near the small window where nobody can reach it unless otherwise you try to steal it. Having a petite frame, she fit into the small window, jumped with only half her body, reached and luckily stole some cash. She knew already where the money is located as she already "studied" that store. A person in the nearby store saw what happened and reported it. They looked for that girl's house and apparently their neighbors who are also sari-sari store owners were another victims of her. When they talked to the parents and confronted the girl, the girl actually confessed that she just took 500 pesos only and not 1,000.00 pesos as the amount that was stolen in their store. The two who complained thought that it might be their modus knowing that they just rented the place and were actually strangers and new in our village. That the parents who they talked were just calm about the incident when they complained to them. The parents only said they will just talk to their kid. But then another stealing episodes still happen after that involving the teenager. The girl was not at all looking guilty and scared. That's quite alarming for me huh?! I have two helpers in the house and I have my two kids too. We already alarmed our helpers not to befriend her or anybody who they didn't know. I am concerned of my kids safety even more.

Another unfortunate incident happened when the girl robbed cash inside a house. At first, the girl befriends the tinderas/helpers. Capturing their hearts with her friendly talks. Until one time, she asked if she could use the toilet. And since they're friends already, they let her in. You would wonder why she use that excuse knowing she just lives two blocks away from that store. It was her way of observing inside and looking for something to stole. She didn't stole anything just yet. But on the second or third time I guess, she passed through the back gate and climbed there (She honestly confessed it after she was caught). Fortunately, one of the helpers, saw her going from room to room and stole their money. When she was caught in the act, she just returned the money she stole and walked away. After that incident, the girl still goes to that store like nothing happened. My husband helped in finding solutions with them on how to get over with that girl because informing her parents and other members of her family didn't helped at all. They just agreed that today they will report or blotter the incident to the barangay officials in order for the girl to be fetched by some DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) personnel for custody and to give her proper rehabilitation or some treatment.

As young as she is, she knows how to steal in a subtle way and how to do the act at such a very young age. One time, when she was asked why she did it. Her answer was her hands became itchy. Then, I thought maybe she is a Kleptomaniac. I've searched in the internet what really caused these people to steal even if they knew it's a bad thing to do or they knew what they are doing. I came across an article entitled, Confessions of a Kleptomaniac (full article here). I grabbed excerpts from the article that explains how Kleptomaniacs developed this kind of mental disorder. Because I don't believe when your hand itches, you steal. It's all in the mind the act of stealing happens or is about to unfold.

Terrence Shulman is the founder and director of The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft, Spending and Hoarding, and the author of Something for Nothing, a book on compulsive shoplifting. He says that it’s common for compulsive thieves to begin as young as age five. “Most people start off stealing a little bit in their earlier lives in reaction to emotional distress,”  he says. “Losses, trauma, betrayal, financial issues—and it becomes worse over time. But some also develop stealing behaviors later in life.” He continues, “It is quite common that young children are over-disciplined or abused or shamed for various things…and it can leave a scar and cause them to rebel, often secretively, into law-breaking behaviors such as stealing.”
Dr. Jeff Gardere is a psychologist and the author of two books on parenting. “We do see very young children who begin to steal and it is a sign of some emotional disturbance, a lack of permanence in their lives or a psycho-symbolic way to fill the void in their lives,” he tells me. “That void may come from a lack of love from parental figures, or from emotionally unhealthy environments.” He also agrees with me that stealing “may be a way of taking back power from a strictly disciplined childhood…breaking out of the very strict upbringing and rigid rules by engaging in rule-breaking and sometimes chaotic behavior.”


  1. it's sad that because of our law, minors are seldom if not never punished for their crimes.

    1. That's really true. We thought that her family members just use her for their modus since there's no law that will keep this kids behind bars.


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