What kind of person steals a child’s toy?

By | July 11, 2009

It is exceedingly depressing to me that I will be posting this sign in front of our house tomorrow morning after the rain has stopped:

wagonIt’s exceedingly annoying to me that this wagon costs around $100, and we, like most everyone else nowadays, are hurting enough financially that it’ll be more than a little painful to spend the money to replace it (in fact, because of the cost, we’re not even sure we’re going to).  However, that’s not what I find depressing.

And it’s also annoying that this wagon was a gift from my parents, who are no doubt at some point going to wonder if the children are enjoying it, at which point we’ll have to tell them it was stolen.  Then I’ll have to listen to them lecture me as if I’m a child for leaving it out where it could be taken.  Then they’ll feel compelled to replace it, and we’ll feel compelled to convince them that it isn’t their responsibility, and oh, boy, will that be a fun conversation.

What I find depressing is that there are people in the world who would do something like this, people who would steal not something important like food or clothing, i.e., something a person in trouble might really need and not be able to afford, but just a toy.

What kind of person steals toys from children?

The sign I’ll be posting tomorrow morning is my effort to judge favorably whoever took our wagon.  I’m trying my best to assume that the wagon got blown off of our stoop during one of the recent storms and ended up near the curb or in the street, and someone thought it was up for grabs.  My wife things I’m being naïve.  She’s probably right, but I’d really rather assume the best than believe that someone knowingly stole our wagon.

I’m sure some would say that we were stupid to leave our wagon on our stoop.  I’m sure they’re right, and I’ll be heading out to the hardware store this week to buy a padlock and a security wire to lock all of our bicycles to our porch railing to prevent them from walking off as well.  The fact that I need to do this is depressing.

Intellectually, I know there are mean and dishonest people in the world.  I know that there are people lacking in a moral compass who think nothing of taking things that don’t belong to them.  I know this in my brain, but it depresses me when I think about it with my heart. *sigh*

UPDATE: I put up the sign this morning:


I’m sure it’ll accomplish nothing, but at least doing something about what happened made me feel a little less bad about it.

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6 thoughts on “What kind of person steals a child’s toy?

  1. Sue

    When I was a kid, we once had a bike stolen from the top of our driveway, and that was (ahem) years ago, in Piscataway – definitely not the crime center of the universe.

    Now, I get nervous when I leave the car door open when I’m unloading stuff. We live in a relatively safe neighborhood, but our block is a mix of apartments and houses, and it would be so easy for someone to just walk up the driveway, grab something out of my car, and keep walking. I don’t even like to let my kids go out to the car (alone) ahead of me! I hate having to be so neurotic….

    My husband (Jon’s brother) tends to leave the door unlocked when he gets home (probably a remnant of his childhood in MN…) and every time I walk in when it’s unlocked, I comment that he really should lock it because you never know who could walk in, a joke that it’s me but a hint that someone could just walk in.

    I hope you get the wagon back, Jon, and I CERTAINLY would not leave the bikes unlocked on the porch!!!

  2. JonT

    “What kind of person steals a child’s toy?”

    Sometimes another child. Such a thing happened to me when I was a kid — in a generally good suburban neighborhood. The thief was someone I knew.

    And we learned to be more careful about locking our doors when the TV in our living room disappeared.

    “…my friends and I roamed all over the neighborhood on weekends and during the summer with our parents having no idea where we were.”

    Well, we always had to tell our parents where we were going, but certainly we would go out on our own quite often, from the age of 7 or 8 or so. I think it was the Adam Walsh case that really changed things. And I think that really sucks.

    1. jik Post author

      >>“What kind of person steals a child’s toy?”
      >Sometimes another child.

      It’s a bit hard to hide an extra-large red wagon.

      One would hope that if a child showed up at home with a $100 wagon that didn’t belong to him, his parents would notice, return the wagon to its proper owner, and make an effort to teach the child a thing or two about not stealing.

      Having said that, there are all kinds of parents, good and bad, including parents who think that stealing is OK and teach that to their children.

  3. Staci

    It’s so ironic to see this today, because I just got back from breakfast with my kids, and all during our meal, I kept hoping the wagon would still be outside where we left it. (It was…)

  4. Frisky070802

    You haven’t been locking up your bikes? Even in a “good” neighborhood I’m surprised by that.

    A few months ago I bought a high-end wheelbarrow to cart topsoil from the driveway to the backyard. It’s too big to keep in the garage or the house so it’s been on our back patio ever since. It occurred to me that it could walk, and it would be a lot to replace (over $100). I actually bought a bike lock for it to chain it to our deck … just in case. Seeing your note makes me think … hey, it’s time to actually get OUT the lock and use it!

    Just in case.

    Anyway, there is a special place in hell reserved for people who would still a child’s wagon, right?

    1. jik Post author

      You haven’t been locking up your bikes?

      Nope. They’re on our porch, and (until now) we thought that was sufficient, since someone would have to be brazen enough to walk up onto our porch to take them.

      My sister lives ten minutes away from us in Newton (a much more expensive neighborhood than Brighton), and she leaves her front door unlocked on a regular basis, although I suspect she may have stopped doing that as often after the string of armed robberies they had in Newton a year or so ago.

      When I was growing up in St. Louis Park, MN (a suburb on the outskirts of Minneapolis), we certainly left our front door unlocked on a regular basis, and we left bikes and toys out all the time in the driveway and yard without giving it a second thought, and my friends and I roamed all over the neighborhood on weekends and during the summer with our parents having no idea where we were.

      Times have changed. *sigh*

      I no I sound like an old fogie with these “When I was a boy…” pronouncements, and who knows, perhaps I’m gilding the past as we are all prone to do when we get older, but things really do seem different now.


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