Man Charged with Traumatizing Kids who Were Vandalizing

Readers — I’m in Bulgaria, running on caffeine and excitement (and feta  cheese), but even so, I don’t think it’s my hopped up status that is making me feel dizzy after reading this article. I think it’s the parents of the kids in question. Here’s how WHAM13, an ABC channel, reports the incident:

Clyde, N.Y. — A Wayne County man is now facing four charges for Endangering the Welfare of a Child after he interrupted an act of vandalism at a home he was renovating for his father-in-law.
The incident unfolded around 9 p.m. Saturday when Jesse Daniels said he told his wife to call 911 after he heard loud noises coming from the home next door and saw an individual striking a wall with a hammer.

Daniels tells 13WHAM News he ran next door and found four children, ages eight and ten, doing damage to the property.  Daniels said he took a hammer from one of the kids and corralled them into a closet while he waited for police to arrive.  Daniels estimated that the damage to his father-in-law’s property exceeds $40,000….

Clyde Village Police took the children back to their parents and filed felony criminal charges of Burglary 2nd Degree and Criminal Mischief 2nd Degree…. On Monday police returned to Daniels’ home and arrested him on four counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

The parents of the alleged mini miscreants claim Daniels traumatized and mistreated their kids. While I don’t want any kids mistreated either, it does feel as if the parents’ anger is slightly mis-directed. What think ye? – L.

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110 Responses to Man Charged with Traumatizing Kids who Were Vandalizing

  1. Heidi June 17, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    My mom would’ve been like, “DAMN RIGHT HE CORRALLED YOU INTO A CLOSET UNTIL I COULD BE CALLED.

    Now get over there and help him with the repairs.”

    I’m sorta torn on this, though. He probably DID scare them, and it’s not right to retain someone against their will, but what other choice did he have?

    Secondly… we’re filing FELONY charges on kids now?!?!? Why not hold the parents responsible for restitution and the kids for either helping fix it (if the owner wants) or for doing volunteer work?

    Oh, probably because youth detention facilities are big business now. :-/

    See “Kid for Cash” scandal: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kids_for_cash_scandal

    or “Florida To Completely Privatize Juvenile Correctional Facilities”: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/15/florida-privatize-juvenile-detention_n_1967464.html

    Privatizing Louisiana Prisons: http://www.bestofneworleans.com/gambit/privatizing-louisiana-prisons/Content?oid=2001212

    Yup… sending these kids to juvie will REEEEEALLY help the situation. :(

  2. Ben R June 17, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    On one hand I want to say he was running that risk by detaining them – I’d suggest maybe snapping a picture if you’ve got your phone handy and chasing them off. On the other hand, that fear comes from the crazy over protective / over litigious society we’ve got today, so … Guess that’s the sort of thing we should be avoiding.

    I guess, ultimately, I think detaining them probably wasn’t smart — not because they were kids, but because people will sue for anything these days. I wouldn’t suggest trying to detain an adult caught in the act of a crime either – once I’ve taken what action was necessary to protect a life or deter a crime I’d be as hands-off as possible to protect myself. Shame we have to think that way.

  3. Linda Wightman June 17, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    Slightly misdirected? How about massively? One boy’s father thought he should send the kids home and then call the police? What evidence would they have then? That was not some childish prank that got out of hand and caused accidental damage, but deliberate, prolonged, extensive vandalism. Being unharmed but unable to escape for just long enough for the police to arrive — and they were on their way, since 911 had already been called — is hardly a major trauma, and these kids obviously need a little trauma or they are going to be in much more trouble later on. At minimum they ought to be required to clean up every square inch of the house, and repair what damage they can. Who knows, they might learn some useful skills in the process.

  4. Matt S June 17, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    Parents let an unsupervised 8 year old play at the local park in broad daylight? Police call protective services.

    Parents let unsupervised 8 year old vandalize homes at 9pm? Parents sue the guy who called the police for Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

  5. Havva June 17, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    Saw that article too. Sort of sounded like the police didn’t want to charge the man. So I have hopes the charges will not stick. Just wish the cops would have stood up to the parents and told them that there was no crime committed except by their children.

    The parental response says a lot about why these boys were so horribly behaved to begin with. Of course they were traumatized. They just learned limits the hard way, instead of gently from their parents, like a kid should. And now they are probably scared that the adult will attempt revenge on them, just like they were attempting on him.

    One of the boys was apparently cut by their breaking of porcelain and they spread volatile chemicals in the building, with heavy fumes (fire risk). I think the guy could make a great case that by corralling them –rather than leaving, sending them home, scarring them away, or allowing them to move freely through the house– he was protecting them from their own self harming behaviors. This is a rare case where I might tell the parents, that under no circumstances should these children be out of sight of a responsible adult.

    I don’t see how the threats he may have used to corral them could be worse than the (I believe legal) practice of holding a criminal in your home at gun point until the cops can arrive. It was a citizens arrest… I doubt many are pleasant.

  6. Eileen June 17, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    Wow – what an unpleasant story!

    I can understand that no parent wants their kid to be in fear, but I am struggling to understand wanting charges on the man who caught them. Given the reaction of the parents, I imagine it’s a good thing that he kept the kids there, removing any doubt who was involved and to what extent.

    Interesting that the father of one of the kids wanted “imprisonment” charges. If the kids left, wouldn’t that be leaving the scene of a crime?

  7. Jim Collins June 17, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    My guess is that the parents are pressing charges in order to have leverage for getting him not to press charges against the kids. He had every right to detain them, it is called a “citizen’s arrest”. I’d say that the only reason that the DA hasn’t thrown out the charges is that he is probably up for re-election and anything involving children gets hyped up by the media.

  8. lauren June 17, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    how can the kids be endangered while sitting in a closet? sitting in a closet until help arrived doesnt sound dangerous or cruel to me.

  9. Eileen June 17, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    @heidi, I thought the same thing about the felony charges.

    But I just realized that we had a situation where an adult scared the crap out of my son over a bicycle/car incident at our pool’s parking lot. My 2 kids were leaving on their bikes and my son (about 10) passed a moving car and his handlebar scraped a lady’s car (it was also moving). She told him to freeze and wouldn’t allow him to go get his older brother who was ahead of him. She could have easily followed him in her car, but since she was treating it like an auto accident, she refused to move her car. She called 911 before calling us so my young son thought the police were going to come get him.

    My husband went to the pool, gave her our information (DL and Insurance) and she STILL insisted that they wait for police or her husband. Fortunately neither was interested in coming to address such a minor issue. Eventually I went to get my son because she was still waiting with my husband.

    We paid over $1000 to get her door fixed (volvo). An attorney friend suggested that we not do that, that legally she had little to stand on, but we went ahead and paid. It was very unpleasant.

  10. rae June 17, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    So, I imagine the guy was pretty mad and his adrenaline was going, he may have threatened the kids, which he should not have done. However, it’s not like the kids were just minding their own business when some lunatic comes and takes away their hammer and detains them for no reason. I have to think that if I was the parent, I’d hope I’d say something to the effect of “Sorry, the guy was threatening and scary, it’s one of the risks you take when you engage in criminal activity. Really, getting a little shaken up is on the low end of bad outcomes, your are lucky you didn’t hurt yourself or someone didn’t mistake you for being armed and dangerous. Sometimes the people you encounter while being a hoodlum aren’t totally cool and collected about you destroying their property. And frankly, I’m not his mom, so his naughty behavior is not my problem, yours is.”

    On the other hand, if I was the one who caught the kids, I don’t know what I would have done, I’m sure I would have wanted them to stay there until the cops came- but locking them in a closet seems a little off the rails- however, dad-of-naughty-boys, is nuts to think ‘just send em home and tattle later’. Like they a window with a baseball or won’t stop walk through the guys flower bed.

  11. Adriana June 17, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    Aww the poor babies!! They’re only 8 and 10yr old. Innocent little angels… they probably didn’t know what they were doing.
    (gag)
    Ridiculous!!! They were vandalizing, causing major damage to a home that they would have had to break into! You do not send them away. Of course they were scared and traumatized… they got caught!

    If my kids did something like that I’d tell them that they were lucky that that’s all that happened to them. And we’d be over the next day so they could help clean up or help the guy fix the damage.

  12. Joel Dockery June 17, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    In my state we can perform a citizen’s arrest on anyone you see commit a felony. Not sure if you can do that up there or not. These kids are lucky they didn’t get a whipping too.

  13. Natalie June 17, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    It’s pretty simple, there’s an alleged $40,000 at stake.

    I don’t think this is a “Not MY special snowflake!” issue.

  14. AngieT June 17, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    I think those kids deserve an acting award and all the parents are idiots who need a $40k wake up call in the form of a lawsuit. It’s the oldest trick in the book. Kid gets caught doing something they know is wrong, so the kids make up a story to redirect the anger away from themselves.

  15. pentamom June 17, 2013 at 5:32 pm #

    There’s something really, really off. I wouldn’t agree with a charge of unlawful imprisonment, but at least that would sort of make logical sense.

    But that’s not what they charged him with. Endangering welfare? Wouldn’t the kids actually have to BE in some kind of danger, or unprotected from potential danger?

    They were ordered into a closet and kept under adult supervision. That’s not pleasant, and may not be within the guy’s rights (legally, that is — as others are saying if it were my kid I’d be telling him he got off easy, I wouldn’t stand on any “rights” my kids supposedly had after trespassing and vandalizing someone else’s home), but I don’t see how it could reasonably be called “endangering.”

  16. sue June 17, 2013 at 5:32 pm #

    so why not charge the parents with neglect also since the 8 and 10 year olds were 1]riding atvs unsupervised and 2] out late at night without the parent knowledge. the stae can’t have it both ways, if they’re going to play nanny then do it evenly.

  17. lollipoplover June 17, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    “I don’t know why he didn’t get more charges than just Endangering the Welfare of a Child because if you’re asking me that’s imprisonment, that’s unlawfully dealing with a child,” said Bowler.”

    But THEIR unlawful behavior that caused this whole situation should be ignored? They are not victims but criminals. Children must be held responsible for their actions- and in this case, they CAUSED the encounter because they are vandals. Honestly, they got locked in the closet to teach them a lesson- which someone clearly needs to do because the parents aren’t doing it. Make them pay back the 40 grand and do some serious community service, maybe for Habitat for Humanity.
    It these moron parents think they are actually helping their kids by pressing charges against this man, they should be required to do the community service right along side their horrible children.

  18. Stephanie June 17, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

    Just told my kids about this one. Their eyes got wide imagining the kind of trouble they’d be in if they ever did something so malicious. Fortunately, they also can’t imagine ever doing something like that.

  19. TC June 17, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    I guess my question is, what if you found an adult vandalizing your home? If you shoved him into a closet until the police came, would you be in your rights? If so, too bad for those kids; they got what they had coming. If not, then the kids should have the same rights to not be shoved into a closet/manhandled/whatever as the adults. (I actually don’t know what the law is re adults…)

    Also, keep in mind that this was a monetary offense, not a physical one; they didn’t physically hurt anyone. But if this guy laid hands on them/was abusive/threatened or terrorized them…it’s just not eye for an eye then. I wasn’t there; i don’t know what happened. And I agree that the kids need to pay–in many ways–for what they did. But that doesn’t mean what HE did was necessarily OK. For the reasons above, I don’t find this as egregious as some of the other stories you post here; if the kids had NOT been charged with anything and the man was the only one held at fault here, then I’d be appalled.

  20. SteveS June 17, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    NY appears to have a citizens arrest statute which would allow someone to use force to detain a criminal until the police arrive. I don’t see how the charges against this guy can stand.

  21. bmj2k June 17, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    Seems to me these kids endangered themselves by sneaking onto unfamiliar property and committing a crime. Yes, they are young kids, but after $40,000 in damage should they have been given cookies and cocoa and a pat on the head? Threatening them with a hammer might be nearing the line, but I’m glad these kids got the cr@p scared out of them.

  22. bmommyx2 June 17, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    This is crazy. If they were not hurt & since the wife called 911 before he found the kids they couldn’t have been in there long I don’t see what he did wrong. I hope he fights it

  23. Brooks June 17, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    I am so damn sick and tired of hearing, “my baby(ies) were TRAUMATIZED. Of course they were traumatized. They were caught red handed and knew it was hitting the fan. Next, they’ll need trauma counselors and years of therapy – of course the real therapy should be to deal with absent parents and lack of (reasonable free-range) structure. Every time something happens and a kid is involved, you hear about how they were traumatized. Give me a break. Deal with it. Make it right. Accept responsibility. Work with your kids. If the man did indeed overreact (which is quite understandable in this case), confront, correct and thank goodness nobody got hurt. End of story. Or, at least that’s the way is was when people were more reasonable in their reactions to events.

  24. Katie June 17, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

    Good for him for disciplining those kids. Someone sure needed too.

    Sounds like the parents of those kids are the absolute worst type. The my little tea-cup could never do anything wrong helicopter type. The how dare anyone discipline them type. I feel sorry for these kids teachers. I bet they get hell from the parents.

    You have to be a total wuss to let an 8 year old call the shots.

    This guy should sue the parents for false arrest, for the damages, and anything else he can.

  25. Natalie June 17, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

    This doesn’t have anything to do with helicopter parenting. These kids were roaming the neighborhood on their bikes alone (that’s a no-no), each with a hammer (dangerous) and spray paint (chemicals).

    Tea cups? I think not.

    And who says helicopter parents don’t discipline their kids? Sometimes I think people here take everything they don’t like about other people’s parenting, roll it up into a ball and call it helicoptering whether it makes sense or not.

  26. Taradlion June 17, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

    So weird…on the one hand, the parents let their kids ride dirt bikes during the day and , apparently, weren’t supervising them that night (pretty free range) but then they see their kids as being so emotionally fragile that they were totally traumatized by an angry adult?

    Sorry, but with the damage the kids caused, putting them in the closet was probably for their own good. If he were going to beat them with the hammer or physically harm them as retaliation, he would not have put them in the closet.

    I agree, I think it is the parents attempt to somehow dissuade the homeowner from pressing charges (and having to pay for the HUGE amount of damage these kids caused).

  27. Warren June 17, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    Really? My old man would have told them to leave me in the closet, shed or garage until morning, just to teach me a lesson.

    Forty grand is not a baseball through window. Felony charges on the kids? Damn skippy. You want to walk the walk, then don’t cry when you get busted. They knew what they were doing was wrong, they just never thought they would get caught.

    As for the man being charged, I hope he fights it all the way.

  28. Puzzled June 17, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    I’m going to be the odd man out and say I think he was wrong to put them in a closet. If they were adults, maybe – but they weren’t, they were 8 and 10 year old kids who are learning their way in the world. I think it was excessive, a lawsuit later or calling the police would be fine, asking them to stay would be fine, and if they didn’t, that’s leaving a crime scene, but I don’t think you have a right to put kids in a closet.

    I also think the felony charges are over the top.

  29. Amy U June 17, 2013 at 10:26 pm #

    Someone needs to Endanger the Welfare of the stupid parents, and anyone else who’s giving the guy grief. Do the parents have to pay for the repairs?

  30. Donald June 17, 2013 at 11:48 pm #

    Endangering the Welfare of a Child? That doesn’t make any sense. Perhaps that’s the point. I wonder if the police are doing Daniels a favor by place a preposterous charge on him. (they know will be thrown out) I’m sure they don’t want to charge him with anything. However they are not baseball umpires. They can’t just ‘call em as they see em’. Unlawful imprisonment sounds like it would be more appropriate.

    The police didn’t charge Daniels with that. I wonder if they are on his side?

    This may or not be the case. I just choose to believe that it is. Otherwise I would be outraged, see red, and perhaps even spit blood!

    If Daniels didn’t keep the kids there until the police arrived, he would be out $40,000. He’d have no proof who it was. Technically he was wrong to detain them but no harm done (in my opinion).

    Daniels was wrong. I think he should have to pay a $10 fine.
    (now my phantasy is becoming unrealistic)

  31. Donald June 17, 2013 at 11:54 pm #

    I don’t think it has anything to do with “my baby(ies) were TRAUMATIZED.” I think it’s all about, I’ll drop the charges if you will.

  32. Donna June 18, 2013 at 12:23 am #

    @Natalie – This post is not meant to be about helicopter parenting. The post isn’t about the parents at all – other than their insistence that their children are traumatized by something this simple. It is about the endangering the welfare of a child charges against the homeowner.

    For those saying it is about “I’ll drop my charges if you drop yours.” There is no such thing as “dropping charges.” Once you call the police, charges are completely out of your hands. It is up to the police to determine if someone will get arrested. If someone is arrested, it is then up to the prosecutor to decide if charges are continued. The victim has no say. Even if the victim tells the DA to drop charges, the DA doesn’t have to agree to do so, and can issue a material witness subpoena and have the victim arrested and held in jail if s/he refuses to testify for their case (In reality this happens rarely. I’ve had it seriously threatened once – subpoena was obtained but the victim agreed to testify rather than be arrested. For the most part the DA will dismiss if the victim refuses to cooperate.)

    It does sound like the families put pressure on the police to arrest the homeowner. They may even believe that they have some leverage here. And I suppose they could both come to an agreement to refuse to testify in the corresponding hearings (for the kids)/trial (for the adult), but they can’t “drop charges.”

  33. John June 18, 2013 at 12:51 am #

    Any reasonable Judge would throw this case out. Against the man, that is.

  34. Donald June 18, 2013 at 12:56 am #

    @ Donna

    I didn’t know that. Ok it isn’t a case of I’ll drop the charges if you will. However I’m sure that it’s a vindictive way to try to get even. I don’t believe that they are concerned about the kids being traumatized.

  35. Lauren June 18, 2013 at 2:15 am #

    Ugh, I just want to smack the father of these delinquents! I hate our blame-someone-else culture.

    A few days ago my eight-year-old son accidentally hit a neighbors’ car with a baseball bat. They were playing baseball in the street and their “on deck circle” was near the car. When I heard about it I marched my son straight over there (we didn’t know the neighbor) and talked to the neighbor about it. There was a dime-sized chip on the bumper, and thankfully I had a very forgiving neighbor, because I know it could have cost hundreds.

    If my son had been willfully destroying someone’s house like that, he would have been safer in a stranger’s closet than at home with me and his father.

    I’m interested to hear how this story plays out…

  36. Joel June 18, 2013 at 4:05 am #

    I am having a real hard time with people questioning this man’s actions. His father-in-law’s house was under siege – illegal, violent, potentially dangerous situation, which he did not invite. Things happen fast in emotionally charged scenarios like this. Short of seriously physically injuring one of these children (unless threatened), he gets a free pass in my book for any other actions. There is a line that should not be crossed, but he was nowhere near that line.

    Sure he may have threatened them to get them in the closet. So what? They were destroying this home. They were committing a crime. A lot of responses here are acting as if they are harmless little children. 4 kids, with hammers, who are frightened and pumped on adrenaline. They could easily overwhelm a grown man and kill him. People read a story like this in their comfy chair and try to replay the story in their minds, but they neglect the reality of the situation. Adrenaline, fear and anger make rational people do amazing things, good and bad. So easy to be an armchair quarterback and say “maybe he went a little too far…blah, blah, blah”. Even as an armchair QB, I personally don’t think he went too far at all. Sounds like he was fairly restrained in all actuality.

    If it was my kid who did this damage….. he would be LIVING in that house (eating, sleeping, working) until it was repaired to the condition it was in before his handiwork. Everyday, he would apologize again to Mr. Daniels and thank him for allowing him to repay his debt.

  37. Lola June 18, 2013 at 6:09 am #

    Maybe each parent thought that locking their kid in a dark, narrow space with three hoodlums who were known to be wrecking houses for fun, was endangering.
    Seriously, I’d like to point out that kids aged 8-10 have their own free wills. Although parents are legally responsible for their kids’ actions, I don’t think they should be considered guilty, if you know what I mean. We may try to educate our kids, but we can all agree that sometimes they actively resist to being educated.
    So I’d give these parents a rest; maybe they have enough on their plates with children like these… I wouldn’t blame them for trying to dodge paying $40k, who knows how many damages they’ve already payed in the last decade…

  38. K June 18, 2013 at 7:55 am #

    I just went to the original report – the prognosis is worse than I can imagine.

    Apparently, the man’s wife yelled at the kids earlier in the day. So, they returned with spray paint and hammers. The damage includes eight broken double hung windows, broken fixtures and outlets, destroyed walls, and spraypainted obscenities on floors and cabinetry. The damages are thought to exceed 50K.

    Because the culprits are juveniles, they can be held liable for only up to 1500 each, meaning that, at best, he can recover 6K.

  39. JJ June 18, 2013 at 7:58 am #

    What an awful story. I am thoroughly depressed. Those kids need serious intervention in the form of both punishment and counseling. I do think the parents instinctively reverted to “the best defense is a good offense” –trying to deflect the wrong doing here, because what their kids did was so awful and w would be perceived to be reflection on the parents themselves. Gosh, what a mess.

  40. Natalie June 18, 2013 at 8:09 am #

    @donna
    There were several posters here who were tying this to helicopter parenting. I disagreed as it has nothing to do with it. I think some people here need to be reminded on occasion that not every negative result of parenting can be attributed to helicoptering.

    But, that’s interesting that you can’t just drop charges. I’ve heard that phrase so many times in books/TV shows/movies etc, it’s a prime example of false perceptions vs reality. I was looking at the counter charges as a way to pressure the other guy into not suing for damages to his house.

    40k is a lot of money. Few people have that much at their disposal.

  41. Katie June 18, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    @ Lauren Amen to that.

    If they were mine they’d be better in a strangers closet too than at home with me if they did something that foolish, degenerate and horrible(my husband is a little calmer). I would not let them get out of a cent of paying that man back. And by that no I would not be taking the loss they’d be working around the house without getting to have fun or activities, working for neighbors, and selling all there toys, video games, and other things until they came up with the money to pay it back.

    In your case, I also bet part of the reason the neighbor was so forgiving was because you did the right thing.

  42. Yan Seiner June 18, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    @Puzzled: given the kids’ parents reaction, how much you want to bet they would swear on a stack of bibles that their little darlings were at home watching TV while some other kids did the deed?

    We had something similar with local kids vandalizing our neighborhood boat dock (thousands in damages) on a fairly regular basis. We knew who it was but the parents always swore that their kids were at home.

    So one day one of our neighbors, a retired NY Sheriff, caught them and held them until the cops arrived.

    So yes, he did the right thing. I would also argue that holding them prevented them from injuring themselves; after all hammers and such can cause a lot of injuries. :)

    Oh, and if my kids did something like that, they would spend their summer vacation and more fixing the damage, or mowing the guy’s yard, or picking up his dog’s poop, or something. Preferably nasty and stinky. My kids know this with absolute certainty.

  43. JJ June 18, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    I can’t get this out of my head. 8-10 year old kids spray painting slurs against women on the side of the building? Not sure of the legalities but is that a hate crime?

  44. Puzzled June 18, 2013 at 9:03 am #

    So now we have people worried about being killed by 8 year olds with hammer. Fear-mongering much?

  45. Dirge June 18, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    If he had sent them home, he probably would have been charged with child endangerment for letting such young kids walk home alone in the dark. He should just claim he was keeping them safe, while maintaining his own safety and distance, until someone came to collect them.

  46. Warren June 18, 2013 at 9:31 am #

    If they have insurance, the repairs will be covered. Then the insurance company will go after the parents for their loss. That is when it will hit home for these parents.

    As for the kids, they need to be charged and tried, yes as minors. But this is not one of those things that can be brushed off as a learning experience. That can be rectified by fixing their damage. This was a deliberate act of violence and destruction. It was thought out and planned, evidenced by the hammers and paint they brought with them.

    Sometimes a spade is a spade, and a criminal a criminal. No matter how old they are. If they can determine which of the kids was the leader, hit him hardest, to send a message.

  47. Dave June 18, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    It doesn’t help our children when we defend them when they have exhibited bad behavior. The proper response from these parents should have been to thank the man for what he did and punished their own children for what they did. If they were old enough to commit the crime they are old enough to suffer the just punishment, certainly taking into consideration their age.

  48. Jim Collins June 18, 2013 at 9:50 am #

    Hey Puzzled. FOUR 8 to 10 year old boys, with hammers, who just trashed a house. You’re damned straight that I would consider them a threat. I’d have gone over with a shotgun. Oh that’s right, it’s New York, with their BS gun laws.

  49. Donna June 18, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    @Natalie – I think the helicopter part is the parents insisting their precious snowflakes were traumatized by being locked in a closet. The push for child endangerment charges when their children destroyed this man’s property.

    Personally I think his actions were over-the-top. 8-10 year old boys are not usually difficult to control. It doesn’t seem like he made any attempt to just get them to stay put while the police came without locking them in a closet. But child endangerment? No.

  50. Donna June 18, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    @ Donald – I don’t doubt that the parents were being vindictive in pushing for an arrest for the homeowner. Since most people believe that “dropping charges” is possible (yes Warren we are all weak-minded because this belief is near universal and is based largely on TV), they may well believe that they can drop the charges and may think they have a bargaining chip now (although based on these kids’ behavior, it is quite possible that the parents are well-versed in the criminal justice system).

  51. Mary June 18, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    Seriously? This man should not have been charged and it appalls me that these kids won’t be liable for the full damage. He should file suit against their parents. If my kid did this, he’d be working off his full share of the debt in all of his spare time until it was paid…even if it took him 10 years to do so.

  52. Havva June 18, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    The effort to describe the parenting philosophy of these kids parents. Has me thinking of an older book I just finished. It was called “Spoiling Childhood: How Well-Meaning Parents Are Giving Children Too Much – But Not What They Need”

    The psychologist who wrote the book describes parents as having this split mental image of their children. She calls it the “Kinderdult” half innocent cherub in need of protection even coddling, half fully formed adult with the right and ability make all their own decision. She talks about parents bouncing between these two extremes in the handling of their children, and never seeing the child as (s)he actually. That is never engaging the actual capabilities and limitations of the child. A lot of what she describes is parents basically thinking the child can/should be able to do whatever the child wants. But also thinking that they are so fragile that they could be broken by the least little thing.

    Seems to fit the view of the parents of these hoodlums. Simultaneously believing their children capable of going out riding ATVs on their own, and having the run of the neighborhood at 9pm. But at the same time incapable of handling being threatened or yelled at for their destructive behavior.

  53. Puzzled June 18, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    Jim – I’m a big defender of the 2nd amendment. One of the challenges that come up in trying to defend gun rights is the belief, by gun opponents, that gun owners will act as you suggest in your comment and shoot kids who vandalize property. Vandalization is a property crime. Guns are for self-defense in actual danger situations. 8 year old kids without guns, or even knives, are not a life-threat, and if you make statements that treat them as such, you can expect that I’ll partly blame you for the terrible gun laws we suffer.

  54. Natalie June 18, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    I wonder if it’s a “you can’t yell at my kid, only I yell at my kid” kind of thing. One of the fathers said that his children were responsible and deserved punishment, he wasn’t arguing with that. He took issue with the way the homeowner handled the situation, rightly or wrongly.

    But I still think that the heart of the whole TRAUMATIZED thing is the money involved. It sounds too much like trying to get compensation for mental suffering etc, etc, and so the parents are playing that angle.

    But then again, my take on it comes from what I’ve seen/read in fiction. I don’t know how often people can sue for things like that, but I bet they think they can.

    I hope the guy gets compensated regardless, and the kids get a deserving punishment.

  55. E. Simms June 18, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    Shouldn’t the parents also be charged with child endangerment? I would normally be adamantly opposed to charging parents if their children sneaked out late in the evening. That could happen to anybody and you don’t keep eyes on eight and ten year olds all the time.

    However, the damage to this house had to take well over an hour to complete. Look at the pictures. There were also combustible liquids all over the place that could have ignited and burned the little shits to a crisp. It’s likely enough that the parents knew the children were missing for there to be at least an investigation by child services. I can’t believe I’m typing those words, but this is an extreme case. Since these investigations are not generally announced publicly, it could be that one is ongoing. Let’s hope.

  56. E. Simms June 18, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    @Donna “Personally I think his actions were over-the-top. 8-10 year old boys are not usually difficult to control. It doesn’t seem like he made any attempt to just get them to stay put while the police came without locking them in a closet. But child endangerment?”

    Donna, don’t you think that it is possible, or even likely, that these “particular” 8-10 year olds might be difficult to control? His actions “under the circumstances” should be considered, not what someone would have done after calm reasonable reflection in a safe environment.

  57. Donna June 18, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    @E. Simms – This was 9pm during summer vacation. Not exactly what I would consider child endangerment if you allow your children outside. It is just past dark in some places this time of the year. There were definitely summer nights during this age range that I was still outside playing. How else are you supposed to catch fireflies? Or camp out in the back yard?

  58. Donna June 18, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    @E.Simms – It is possible they were difficult to control. Based on this guy’s own description, he didn’t even try. His immediate response was to lock them in a closet. I can’t imagine any situation where the first response for a grown man in dealing with 8-10 year olds should be to lock them in a closet. Sorry.

    That doesn’t mean that I think he should be charged. It doesn’t mean that I think he should be sued. It doesn’t negate the kids’ actions. I don’t really believe that the kids were traumatized. It does mean that I think it is very likely that the homeowner’s behavior wasn’t that of a model citizen in thus situation either.

  59. Donna June 18, 2013 at 11:32 am #

    And I deal with 8-10 year olds charged with crimes, almost always burglary and property damage crimes like this. For the most part, they are still young enough to be fairly compliant when an adult demands that they sit down and shut up. Even those who are little thugs (we have no idea if these kids are or not as most of the kids I deal with at this age are just being stupid and aren’t thugs) do generally respond to the large size discrepancy in size between 8 and 40.

  60. Kay June 18, 2013 at 11:37 am #

    I think he did the right thing by putting them in the closet in order to get financial compensation. The kids could have taken off, then the kids, in the comfort of their home with their parents, could have lied their asses off to get out of trouble. This way, they were caught red (or hammer) handed.

    Now if the man threatened to bash their heads in, that could be a possible argument but I sympathize with his anger and the damage they caused. They should have known better. Bottom line is, he didn’t bash their heads in but kept them corralled until police arrived.

  61. E. Simms June 18, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    @Donna-These kids were not camping in their own backyards or catching fireflies. Yes, I played outside after dark at that age….in my own yard or in my neighbor’s yard with my parents knowing full well where I was (within earshot) and what I was doing. If these boys were out of earshot for that long, then yes, I believe the parents were neglectful.

    What human being on earth could have behaved like a “model citizen” under those circumstances? “Model citizen” is not the standard of behavior.

  62. Eileen June 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    @Donna, you said: “Personally I think his actions were over-the-top. 8-10 year old boys are not usually difficult to control. ”

    Usually, 8-10 year kids don’t completely trash a home like that, writing profane graffiti on the walls, etc. Writing on a bathroom wall? Sure. But I’m not sure you can apply “usual” to anything that transpired. These weren’t “usual” kids.

    If the kids had been allowed to flee, do the parents think that being fingerprinted in order to prove their presence would have been easy and not traumatic?

  63. CrazyCatLady June 18, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    I agree that if the owner had sent the kids home that the parents would have denied everything.

    I had this happen – my husband and I lived in a trailer park while he was in college. We bought a used school bus to make into an RV. A few local kids decided it would be fun to smash out the windows, over a period of time. I had neighbors who saw the kids in the area, but not actually throwing the stones.

    I went around to each house where I knew kids lived, and asked them the parents to ask their kids to keep an ear out about the window smashing. All the parents were very nice and said they would help – except one – who felt that I was accusing their angle of the deed. I couldn’t get the police to do anything until the last day of school when I called the police for the umpteenth time to tell them the boy was waiting at the bus stop outside my house. The police had tried to contact the parents, but they were never home. When the police finally confronted the boy, he did admit to it, but wouldn’t tell on his friends. So he ended up doing clean up work and mowing around the bus and my yard all summer.

    The parents did sheepishly apologize for their behavior.

  64. LegalMist June 18, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    @ Warren — Re: insurance — it may not cover it. Many policies have a “criminal acts” exclusion.

  65. Gary June 18, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    sometimes I wonder what enrages me more, the posts or the responses to them.

  66. JJ June 18, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    Omg I just found another article about the incident which included the information that all of the kids are brothers/cousins and that one of their moms allegedly told them to do it (which has not been comfirmed).

  67. Taradlion June 18, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    I have a 9 year old.

    My guess is, with 4 of them, the guy was probably afraid they would try to bolt. Putting them in the closet was insurance to not have to chase or physically catch any of them.

  68. Donna June 18, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    E. Simms – I’ve represented several kids this age – in both Georgia and A. Samoa – who burglarized and trashed property. One group that age that managed to burn down 10 houses (the burglary and original brush fire were intentional, the destruction of the 10 houses was not). All were very much typical 8-10 year olds in many ways. You seem to have the view that 8-10 year olds who commit crimes are psychopaths. They could be. They could also be just like your average kid that age in most ways.

    While kids that age know that damaging someone’s property is wrong, they have very little concept of money and cost, work or effort. The fact is to them, particularly the younger ones, destruction on this level may actually be akin to putting a baseball bat through a window. Obviously they were wrong and knew what they were doing was wrong, but you can’t impart an adult knowledge of the extent of the damage on them and assume that they are pure evil based on the extent of the damage.

    And why do you think that the parents knew that the kids were destroying the house? For all you know, they may have believed that the kids were playing in the backyard. The parents of my group that burnt down 10 houses thought their kids were playing in their hideout in the woods. Whether it is night or day, I don’t check on my 7 year old every 10 minutes while she is outside playing. She could easily slip off from the backyard and destroy a house before I noticed she was gone and found her. I just have to hope that I’ve raised her well enough that she wouldn’t make that choice.

  69. Bostonian June 18, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    So the guy who got the kids _away_ from the hammers and chemicals and broken glass was the one endangering them?

    Riiiigght…

    Go to CPS. Go directly to CPS. Do not pass home.

    That parent Paul Bowler needs to have his house investigated to see whether it is a safe place for a child. This is just not normal behavior. Those kids had to have learned that level of violence from someone. They should not have been returned home until CPS investigated Paul Bowler’s house.

    It’s absolutely incredible to me that the policeman didn’t take them to the station instead of just giving them a lift home. Probably his cousin or something.

  70. Donna June 18, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    @ E. Simms – You seem to have a very limited view of free range. Kids can go to the park alone but if they commit some unanticipated mischief there, their parents are negligent for allowing them to go to the park alone?

    Now if a parent encouraged the behavior, the parents should be charged.

    @Bostonian – Most juvenile detention centers are not equipped for kids that young. The 10 year old maybe but not 8. The juvenile court may take them into custody at some point if a suitable placement can be found, but will usually let them go home initially, especially at night when an immediate suitable placement will be hard to find. I’ve never had a 8-10 year old immediately detained and none of them were related to the police.

  71. Maggie June 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    If that traumatizes their poor babies, great. Maybe the babies will THINK in the future, before destroying property.

    Maybe the parents should imagine how traumatizing a few years in a juvenile facility would effect their babies. And if they don’t outgrow their behavior, jail and prison can be pretty traumatizing too.

    (Having known people who protected their children from punishment, only having them end up in jail as adults.)

  72. Maggie June 18, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

    If I was the homeowner, I’d be busy traumatizing the parents with calls to CPS for child neglect, and lawsuits for property damages.

  73. lollipoplover June 18, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    For every action there is a consequence. When you choose to trespass (and destroy private property) you accept whatever is on the other side of that door. If it means locking you and your hoodlum friends in a closet until the cops come and sort out the crime scene, I say you got off easy.

    I am with the other posters who say this is a classic “No one is allowed to yell at my kids except me” which is fine, until they commit crimes. It sounds like these kids were retaliating against this homeowner for yelling at them earlier.

  74. CrazyCatLady June 18, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

    I am going to put out there that the kids are actually scared that they are going to jail after what they did, not traumatized by the owner of the building. Not sleeping and all of that – had I done something that stupid at that age, I would be scared too.

    And yes, sometimes kids do act like packs of dogs and go along doing what the others are doing even if alone they wouldn’t have done those things. They are young, I think they will recover from this and not do things this stupid again.

  75. Bostonian June 18, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    Donna, what can I say? I’m old. When I was that age, if a pack of kids did something like that they’d get a trip to the station at the very least (and maybe a few hours in an empty cell), not a free ride home. Different times. I guess I should be satisfied they didn’t get a medal for participation.

    Either way it goes, it’s obvious the parent Paul Bowler is a despicable human being and a lousy excuse for a parent, and if the way it goes in the Bowler family is to blame this on the man whose house the little rotters vandalized, you can expect it to happen again.

    Might as well open the case file now.

  76. Papilio June 18, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    What Lollipoplover said: Actions have consequences!

    I think this guy handled it very decently. I can totally imagine he wanted them to stay there until the cops arrived, there were four kids, he had only two hands (to hold ears with…), so the closet was a neat solution IMO.

  77. pentamom June 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    “@Puzzled: given the kids’ parents reaction, how much you want to bet they would swear on a stack of bibles that their little darlings were at home watching TV while some other kids did the deed?”

    Bingo. The whole “talk to their parents” or “chase them out and call the cops afterward” method gets you two sets of parents swearing up and down that their snowflakes were nowhere near the place and this mean old guy has it in for them.

    I’m not certain locking them in the closet was right, or the best way to handle the situation, and it’s certainly not what I would have done. Donna’s likely right that kids that age, even bad kids, can be intimidated into staying put without locking them up somewhere or physically threatening them. But I’m also absolutely certain that what Mr. Daniels did was not criminal, even it was unnecessarily harsh.

  78. Havva June 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

    @Donna,
    When you talk about the ease of handling even criminal 8-10 year-olds. What is the context? Are you talking about how easily the cops could handle them, the victims of their crimes, or officers of the court? Were the kids you have worked with ever in a group of more than 2?

  79. Kay June 18, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    We DON’T know if those kids would have “stayed put” without putting them into a closet, especially considering what damage they had already done. My bet is at least one of them would have bolted. As some here have said, the man only had two hands and the closet was the most efficient and safest way of making them stay put. Quite frankly, I’m appalled by the idea purported by some that this was in any way cruel and traumatizing. If they were sneaky enough to get into that house and do that kind of damage without batting an eyelash, and seemingly premeditated!, then the least they should be able to handle is sitting in a closet waiting for the authorities. Those charges should be thrown out!

  80. pentamom June 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

    Yes, “cruel and traumatizing” is definitely over the top. Unnecessary, maybe, and IMO you shouldn’t treat anybody with unnecessary harshness, when an alternative will suffice. But I’m only saying I think it *might* have been unnecessary and therefore not the best choice, not that it was a horribly damaging situation. None of us were there, so it’s quite possible he did what he needed to do, but it’s also possible that he didn’t. That’s why criminal charges are so dumb, because at worst it was mildly bad judgment that didn’t result in any actual harm, and no judge or jury is capable of adequately judging it in hindsight.

  81. Warren June 18, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    These kids got off lucky so far. The homeowner could have easily come in there armed.

    Honestly, up here the OPP, in these sort of messes, take the kids into the detatchment, and the parents have to come down and sign for them.

    @Donna,
    You have dealt with these hoodlums when reality has already begun to sink in. That homeowner was dealing with them in the confines of a dark home, while their little minds are racing, and the adreniline is flowing fast. I believe his actions to be spot on correct for the situation.

  82. Jim Collins June 18, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

    I get your point to a point Puzzled. According to the article, the man saw “an individual striking a wall with hammer” then, “he ran next door and found four children”. Until he got there he had no idea what he was going to find, that’s why I said that I would take a shotgun. If he found something other that four children, he would have been able to protect himself. Nice thing about a shotgun is that just having it in your hands can defuse a lot of situations. Before people say that I’m nuts for involving a gun here, think of one thing, when the Police responded I wonder if they had their weapons drawn?

  83. Warren June 18, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

    @Jim
    Don’t let them get to you Jim. Look at the number of them that think the homeowner was overthetop and/or harsh.

    Personally, I more than likely would have set the dogs loose, and then followed.

    I cannot believe the number of people that think these little punks should have been treated kinder.

    They came back for revenge, with all the intent and planning.

    These are not kids that lit a bush fire that got out of hand. Those kids did not have the malice these little punks did.

    A rock thru a window, a firecracker in a mailbox and such are property damage crimes, but can be written off on youthful exuberance, and dealt with by making the kid work it off.
    This was a pack of 4, that planned out their crime, and then carried it out. World’s apart on the scale. As for them being detained, good for the homeowner.

  84. E. Simms June 18, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

    @Donna-“You seem to have the view that 8-10 year olds who commit crimes are psychopaths.”

    How did you get from my stating that the boys were probably difficult to control to claiming I said they were psychopaths? There are a few steps between A and Z.

    “And why do you think that the parents knew that the kids were destroying the house?”

    I do not think that, did not say that, and did not imply that. I believe the parents had no idea what their kids were doing.

    “You seem to have a very limited view of free range. Kids can go to the park alone but if they commit some unanticipated mischief there, their parents are negligent for allowing them to go to the park alone?”

    I happen to embrace the free range philosophy wholeheartedly. What does going to the park alone have to do with parents having no idea where their 8 and 10 year-olds are at 9PM?

    Donna, none of my responses to you where personal. It is not necessary for you to get personal with me, put words in my mouth or tell me what I’m thinking.

  85. E. Simms June 18, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    “were” not “where”

  86. Katie June 18, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    @E Simms From the response of the male sperm donor (really can’t even call him a parent at this point) I can assure you that the reason these kids are a bad bunch is from the parenting.

    Yes Donna is a free range parent-let me explain the difference to you between a free range and a bad parent.

    A free range parent: Would let there kids go to the park and if they did something horrific would hold them accountable and be supportive of another adult that did the same.

    A bad parent who is going to raise a sociopath: Would let the kids go to the park and let them do major damage to property and then instead of being a parent would act as a lawyer trying to blame others and create problems for anyone who dare actually try to parent there out of control brats/monsters. In fact acting as your kids lawyer instead of their parent as so they can never know the pain of their own actions is helicopter parenting not free range parenting.

  87. Katie June 18, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

    @ E Simms

    Oh sorry didn’t get much sleep last night. I just realized you are quoting Donna and those aren’t actually your opinions so I guess it is more Donna I’m disagreeing with.

  88. steve June 18, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    RE:
    ” I don’t think you have a right to put kids in a closet.”

    They were all in this closet TOGETHER, right?
    Four friends in close proximity…all together where they could talk, cower, and comfort each other.

    They were NOT put in a closet with a rabid dog.

    They were NOT bound and gagged so they couldn’t breathe.

    They were NOT beaten within an inch of their sorry, undisciplined little lives before being put in the closet.

    They all lived to tell about it, and will be telling this story to their own children, IF they don’t eventually go to prison after being groomed for a life of crime by their clueless, permissive parents.

    One will probably write a book about their experience.

    THE MEANING OF THE WORD — CLOSET

    Many years ago, the word closet referred to a small space. And, I should add that many children enjoy playing in closets. I don’t think it would be a stretch to say these kids are probably the kind who hid in closets from time to time…for one reason or another.

    Journalists love to use certain words to grab our attention. And CLOSET is one of them.

    And yet today we all know that many homes have closets that are BIGGER THAN SOME BEDROOMS.

    Do we know how big this closet was? Not that it really matters. The man did what he needed to do.

    Closets are not necessarily bad places to be for a while. It’s not like these kids were imprisoned in a closet without food or water for a month! They were not forced to relieve themselves there and sleep in it.

  89. hineata June 18, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

    Hmmm….4 out of control 8 to 10 year olds? Some in my class are bigger than I am. A pack of them at 9 at night in a dark house – I think regardless of the size of the closet, it was a good place for them. Out of control kids can be reasonably scary – I’ve seen kids that age toss desks, try to strangle classmates, and generally cause mayhem. If he was able to get them into the closet without anyone, either himself or the kids, suffering damage, then good on him.

    They were also probably safer in the closet than directly in his view, while he was no doubt extremely angry – I know that, in a number of instances over my career, I have sent children out of the room primarily for their own safety, knowing if they were in my presence for one more freaking minute I was going to whop their little hides…..

  90. Natalie June 18, 2013 at 9:52 pm #

    @Hineata –
    I also send my girls to a different room for punishment. It’s as much for their sake as it is for mine. ;)

  91. oncefallendotcom June 18, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    When I read this I thought of the Wierd Al song “I’ll Sue Ya”

    If I sprain my ankle
    While I’m robbing your place

    If I hurt my knuckles
    When I punch you in the face

    I’m gonna sue, sue
    Yes, I’m gonna sue
    Sue, sue, yeah that’s what I’m gonna do
    I’m gonna sue, sue
    Yes, I’m gonna sue
    Sue, sue, that’s right I’m gonna sue you

  92. Maureen June 18, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    There is an entire generation coming up that has no concept of several emotions including: shame, embarrassment, pride. Nor do they understand things like empathy or sympathy. Why don’t they? Because their parents don’t know them either and obviously, such as in this case, the parents don’t know them either.

    The parents of these children should be embarrassed and ashamed that their children did this. Instead, they are turning the tables and playing the traumatized card. Classic move of the guilty.

  93. Kristycat June 19, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    If my kid did this kind of damage to a neighbor’s house, I would be furious at the kid.

    If a neighbor “corralled” my 8-year-old and three other children into a closet and left them there for an indeterminate amount of time, I would ALSO be furious, to the point that me pressing charges would be the LEAST of said neighbor’s worries.

    The two are not mutually exclusive.

  94. Eileen June 19, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    Kristycat, I give you credit for being honest. But I don’t understand how you’d physically confront (that’s the only conclusion one can draw from your comment) someone who was keeping criminals in place until police arrived. I don’t think the time was “indeterminate”, he had his wife call the police as he left his home.

    I’m sure the kids were scared. They should have been. This wasn’t egging a house or smashing a pumpkin on the front step. This was extreme and expensive vandalism with profane graffiti. It was a crime.

  95. Warren June 19, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    @Eileen

    Isn’t it amazing the number of people in here that think these kids should have been allowed to leave, and or treated with kid gloves?

    On a site where we constantly say that most kids this age are old enough and mature enough to go to the park, store or wherever alone, and now they are saying that they are not old enough and mature enough to sit in a closet for what amounts to minutes, after commiting a serious crime.

    Talk about double standards.

  96. Kay June 19, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    ^ Indeed! Talk about infantilization of our children…

  97. judy June 19, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

    of course the parents are only suing because they will be responsible for the damage their little savages did. obviously they dont give a shit about them if they let them go out so late at night at that age. they only care that they might have to cough up some money. stupid, ignorant assholes.

  98. Katie June 19, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    @ Maureen very true and it’s very sad that you have selfish robots raising a whole new generation of selfish robots. For some of these people there is zero accountability. It reminds me of a post I read on another forum today that really made my blood boil

    To quote it”My son and daughters where in 2nd grade and 4th grade. Yesterday on the last day of the school the schools principal told the whole school to clean up the school yard. to pick up the trash from the school grounds etc….. Don’t we pay the schools jantiors enough money already? Why do they want our kids to clean up?”

    And then people wonder why there kids think they can do whatever they want with no accountability. Bet it was this “parents” kids who threw all the trash around the school grounds too.

  99. Yan Seiner June 20, 2013 at 8:30 am #

    @Kristycat: $40,000 is about 25% of the house value where I live. These snowflakes destroyed 1/4 of a house. With hammers. That took some strength and endurance.

    Clearly these were not kids who were playing with little 6 oz toy hammers. The pictures show damage that looks to have been done with at least framing hammers and/or small sledgehammers. And yes, a 10 year old can swing a small sledgehammer.

    So what would you do if you found a quarter of your home destroyed? Would you be kind and understanding and send those children home with a glass of milk and some cookies?

  100. Angela June 20, 2013 at 8:35 am #

    This is just rediculous.

    When my son was 5 whole years old, he threw some garbage – a wrapper or some such – over the neighbor lady’s fence. I made him knock on the lady’s door (I was waiting for him on the sidewalk), explain what had happened and ask for permission to go into her back yard and pick up his garbage.

    Pretty traumatic for a 5 year old, huh? Traumatic enough that he learned respect for other’s property.

    Katie – I had always thought and believed that if school kids had to make their meals (or at least contribute to them being made) and clean up the school grounds themselves they may actually understand what goes into educating them and have a greater respect for it.

    I always had a dream of taking in orphaned or abandoned children. I even had a building that looked like an old work house picked out. It would be kind of like an orphanage, but not so much in that the kids wouldn’t be waiting for someone to come ‘save’ them, it would be their home until they could live on their own. The whole bottom floor would be turned into cafeteria and classrooms, while the other floors would consist of common rooms and bedrooms. The kids would cook their meals, clean ‘their’ home, tend the yard and adults would be present to guide them, help out and make sure things ran as they should. I fear there may be laws in the way, however, and I know I don’t have the money to do it.

  101. Eileen June 20, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    @Katie – wow! That’s quite an attitude that parent had. I can imagine the kids would rather have been playing kickball or whatever on the last day, but the parent can’t make the connection that the school population might have contributed to the debris? And to call into question that they pay janitors enough is just over the top. Ideally, janitors empty the trash (among other things), but teachers/students/neighbors are expected to get the trash into the receptacles.

  102. Papilio June 20, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    When I was in secondary school, there was a policy that the students in 9th grade helped cleaning the schoolyard, in pairs of two classmates, and then each pair had to clean up one afternoon that year (for an hour? One and a half?).
    This was in addition to both the janitors and the kids who had to clean up after being late three times or skipping a class or being rude to a teacher or whatever.

  103. Donna June 20, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    According to the news, all charges against the guy have been dropped.

  104. Natalie June 20, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    Donna-
    Do you know if he will get reimbursed or is he limited to the $6000 that some have cited?

  105. Donna June 20, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

    @Natalie –

    Didn’t say. The article (which if I knew how to link, I would) was just talking about his charges, not the case as a whole.

    The fact is that the owner (which is this guy’s father-in-law, not him) is likely to get very little in restitution from juvenile court. Juvenile Court has very limited jurisdiction over the parents of kids. An order of restitution is an order of restitution against the juveniles, not their parents, and 8-10 year olds have limited income. Obviously parents pay the restitution for most kids, but if they refuse to do so, all the juvenile court can do is lock up the kid until it is paid. It can’t lock up the parents for refusing to pay. Since kids usually have no control over what their parents do, very little restitution is ordered in juvenile cases.

    The owner may be able to sue the parents for the amount. Problem is that parents have very limited legal responsibility for the criminal acts of their children. He would have to prove that the parents were negligent themselves, or again, all he could get was a judgment against the children themselves.

  106. Warren June 22, 2013 at 8:00 am #

    If the homeowner’s insurance won’t cover the damage, and he cannot go after the parents, of the little punks, then there is the good chance that house may never be completed. Forty grand worth of damages is one thing, but it becomes even more a challenge when you are already investing money into building/renovating.

    I hope when the courts finally decide how to proceed with these vandals, that they take all that into consideration. That their crime has created hardship, which could be years in fixing, if they are fixed at all.

  107. Janny June 28, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

    These children are punks and need to have their rear ends spanked. In Biblical days they would have been stoned to death. The parents are bad citizens and bad parents. The kids should be taken from them and raised by the State. Now, make the parents pay for the damages and if they don’t pay, throw them in jail. This country is so screwed up when a perfectly innocent person goes to jail for the poorly raised future criminals. All I can say to the owner of the house is sue, sue, sue baby.

  108. Jeremiah the Prophet July 17, 2013 at 1:52 am #

    My gut reaction is to sue the family until the parents and their little hooligans are homeless. Also, yeah, it’s just better for home owners to shoot people dead than deal with these headaches.

  109. Luis Mier August 7, 2013 at 7:07 am #

    This is so upsetting. How can parents behave in such a manner. I think it is very important to give proper counseling to not only children but also parents.

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