A Seattle woman has taken a creative approach to the concept of law and order when she discovered that a thief who broke into her car had left his phone behind.
Rather than call police to report the burglary last month, Eliza Webb dialled the number under the entry 'Mom' in the phone's contact list.
'I said, "This is a very uncomfortable phone call to make. I have your son’s phone and I’m missing some things out of my car and I think they might be two related items,”' Webb told ABC News’ Seattle affiliate KOMO News. 'And she [the mother] was devastated.'
Hot property: After confronting the teen and his mother, Webb got her pilfered items back, including a pair of running shoes
After a brief conversation, Ms Webb discovered that the alleged perpetrator who made off with her running shoes and sunglasses on June 14 was a 19-year-old boy.
The 29-year-old woman works with teenagers for a living, so she decided not to involve the authorities, instead taking matters into her own hands.
Webb drove to the hapless juvenile’s home to confront him. The 19-year-old who opened the door appeared defeated and teary-eyed.
As it turns out, Webb was not the only victim of the scatterbrain teen - he had admitted to breaking into a total of about 13 vehicles in the same neighborhood along with an 18-year-old friend.
The boy blamed his crime spree on the dangerous combination of alcohol and boredom, telling Web that things simply got out of hand.
Committed to her decision to keep the criminal justice system out of the picture, the 29-year-old took on the role of a judge, ruling that the boy and his accomplice must go door-to-door, return the items they had stolen from their victims and apologize for their actions.
Homespun justice: After learning that the 19-year-old and his friend had broken into more than a dozen cars, Webb forced the boys to go door-to-door and apologize to their victims
Despite getting publicly shamed, the 19-year-old and his mother were grateful for Webb's unusual decision not to involve police.
‘I'm actually kind of glad it happened,’ the Annam teen told Seattle Times. ‘It felt terrible to hear that people are worried and feel like they have to lock the door because of what I did.‘
Webb explained that as someone who works with high school students and is married to a man who had suffered dearly for a youthful indiscretion involving underage drinking, she realizes better than most people that involving the authorities and the court system in a case like this could have long-term and devastating consequences.
‘I felt that if I could get him to own up to what he'd done and understand there were consequences, it could be a much better outcome,’ she told the paper.
As part of her homespun penance, Webb also has asked the teens to write a letter of apology and read it at an upcoming block party.