Friday, June 27, 2008

Thanks, Mom

I was dispatched to Mervyn's store for a teenager in custody for shoplifting. I arrived to find a seventeen year old girl sitting in the security office with about $200 worth of clothing on the floor next to her. The store security officers caught her leaving the store without paying for the items and were busy typing up a report of the details.

Her younger sister was also at the store but did not participate in the theft. She told me her mom was at work but an uncle was on his way to take custody of the shoplifter. Since she was a juvenile, I was unable to just set her free with a ticket. Instead, a guardian or other family member had to come and get her.

Her jerk uncle arrived and barged into the security office demanding she be let go. I politely asked him to step outside and talk with me. He was a real Adam Henry and demanded to be in the room with her while I asked her questions. I explained to him I was going to read her juvenile Miranda rights to her and give her the choice to have a parent present while answering questions. His response was the typical, "I know a lawyer... I've got a friend who's an officer... I know some important people... You can't question a minor.. etc... etc.." I told him to wait outside and I went back into the office.

He burst in again and yelled to the girl, "Don't say anything!! Don't answer any questions!!" I read the Miranda rights to her and she told me she did not want to answer any questions. This was okay with me since I had eye witness accounts from the security officers and video surveillance. It would have been nice to have a confession, however, as this is an important part of securing a conviction.

The office phone rang and an irate mother screamed at me for not letting the girls' uncle in the room during questioning. I explained there was no questioning so there was no reason for him to be present. She told me she would arrive in five minutes and demanded her brother (uncle) be in the room. She told me not to ask her daughters any questions. I let him in the room and waited for mom to arrive. He looked at her again and said, "Remember, don't admit anything. Don't talk to the cops." The girl nodded.

Mom soon arrived and came into the office with me, my partner, uncle, shoplifter-daughter, and three security officers from the store. She looked at the store guard and asked, "What happened?" He told her he watched her daughter fill her purse with clothing and then leave the store without paying.

Mom turned to daughter and said, "Is that true?"
Daughter answered, "Yes."
Mom: "Did you actually leave the store with the stuff in your purse?"
Daughter: "Yes"
Mom: "You took those clothes on purpose?"
Daughter: "Yes"

I looked at the uncle, grinned, and then pulled out my notepad and wrote down the verbal exchange between mom and daughter. Uncle realized I was recording the 'free confession' and grit his teeth in anger (or maybe disgust; it's hard to tell the difference sometimes).

I wanted to personally thank Mom for getting her daughter to answer all the questions I planned on asking but was not allowed to after the teenager told me she would not talk to me.

FYI: Miranda rights allow a person in police custody not to answer questions. It offers no protection, however, if a non-police person asks the questions when an officer is standing within earshot.

Thanks, MOM.


At June 28, 2008 11:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Holy freaking crow, how wonderful is that? How freaking hilarious? Man... you said you wanted to thank her? What on earth kept you from thanking her?

At June 30, 2008 11:10 AM, Blogger Officer Wright said...

Wow..just, wow.

I always knew the parents and relatives of juvie offenders weren't the brightest, but wow.

At June 30, 2008 3:15 PM, Blogger melinda said...

Aren't you glad that, generally speaking, the people you get to work with are not very intelligent?

And the rest of us just get to laugh at funny stories like this...

God bless you for tolerating people like this!

At July 02, 2008 9:50 AM, Blogger Mrs. "Smith" said...

Haha! Stupid twat, don't you love it when you get help with your job?
Smith has some great stories, too.

At July 02, 2008 1:48 PM, Blogger Thomas said...

Welcome to my world.
I deal with parents like that all the damned time.

The best part is when you play the security video for them. Hard to say "My son would never hit another kid" when the camera shows him beating the snot out of someone.

I would not have been able to leave without saying something snarky to the uncle.

I would at least wait in the parking lot to see if I could get him on a moving violation.


At July 07, 2008 9:33 PM, Blogger whimsical brainpan said...

That is simply wonderful!

At August 09, 2008 5:01 PM, Anonymous Chalupa said...

You sir, are my hero!

At August 19, 2008 4:47 PM, Blogger Bridget the Flogging Molly Chick said...

Haha! I've worked LP before, and oh, the stories I have of when parents came to pick up their kids, but this is a great one. Thanks for sharing it.

At April 01, 2009 9:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Atta boy!

At April 15, 2009 6:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You write
"It would have been nice to have a confession, however, as this is an important part of securing a conviction".
I must add it also is an important part of innocent people getting convicted. It is rare, but it does happen. You can see a fifth amd video I have on my blog.


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