EASTLAKE, Ohio - A frustrated Eastlake dad hopes his 11-year-old stepson learned a lesson after he turned him into police for allegedly stealing a bike.
"It just comes to a point where you really don't know what else to do because anything else that we've tried obviously hasn't worked," Larry Szymanski said.
Szymanski said he notified police after he found the boy and his 15-year-old friend spray-painting a bike in the driveway. He said the 11-year-old has been in trouble for stealing before.
"Every time he goes to court he gets a slap on the wrist or me and my fiancée get fined and he's not really learning anything from it," Szymanski said. "I'm assuming he looks at it like well that happened. It didn't affect me so less than a week later he did it again."
It was the second time in one week that Eastlake Patrolman John McCauley handled a case involving an 11 year old. He's also seen kids as young as 8. But he said parents of these kids have options.
"We always like to get involved in it so at least we can start a paper trail with them," McCauley said. "They don't have to pursue charges against the child. We can talk to the child, give them a courtesy talking to."
McCauley said Eastlake police also have a juvenile diversion program where kids can perform community service at the police station. If they complete the program, they don't have to go through the court system.
Szymanski's stepson wasn't offered the diversion program this time. He's charged with theft, and will likely get probation and a curfew.
"I just want him to realize that people work for the stuff they purchase," Szymanski said. "Even if the parents bought it, they put money into it and he had no right to take it."
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