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Has anyone had some experience on child stealing big money from you?

Community Member

Yeah, well, the title is pretty much the gist.

I have a 15-year-old live with me, not my child, and I didn't adopt him. The reason he is here is that I live with his dad.

We had a really good and stable relationship until this 'stepson' came into our life. I think it's partially because what we had were good enough for him to think it's even better if we can get his son a feeling of 'home'.

As troubled and rebellious as he always was, we never expected him to steal.

I'm not talking about small cash here, I'm talking about thousands of dollars.

He bought himself an iPhone 12 Max 512G, pretty much the most expensive phone you can get on the market, together with some accessories with our money, costs more than $3,000. I wouldn't have that luxury myself.

I called the school because I can't figure out where that money comes from, he claimed he 'borrowed' the phone from other kids, which is obviously a lie.

He then admitted he walked into our bedroom and stole the money inside our bedside table, with the pressure of us and his teachers. And he also admitted it was not the first time he steals, mostly one ticket or two while we were out, shopping or something, without us knowing because we don't count our cash every day. And this time, I guess he just grew bolder.

I can't help but want to call the police to get them involved with this. His dad can't let me do that because that will backfire at him.

Okay, this is driving my crazy, I just can't have a thief living with me, but I love his dad and he loves me, I don't want us to get separated because of this. By the way, his dad is also really really pissed, but he didn't know what to do either.

I know kids sometimes steal, but mostly just small changes, is this even borderline crime? He is 15 after all, can't he take at least a little bit of responsibility?

10 Replies 10

Community Champion
Community Champion

hi, I have not been in that situation so cannot really give any advice on this matter. In relation to your question about responsibility at the end of your post I would agree with you there. If nothing is done now what happens when he an adult and caught? And perhaps this is a conversation to have with him? It is one thing to steal, but there are also consequences - emotional hurt, etc.

Now I also have no idea how conversations with the son go, but you could also try to find out the why. I heard a story of a child who messed up a school. I wont go into all the details but what this child was actually looking for was a relationship with his parents (that otherwise did not exist).

I am not saying this is why your son might be behaving like this. And maybe then find a way forward. It would also help a lot if the conversation remains civil 🙂 the last thing you want is from him or anyone to get defensive and argumentative if you want to find a way forward. Or if that does not work, then profesional help?

I hope this link will not be deleted, it talks about the teens and stealing...


Hope this helps.

Elizabeth CP
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member
I have a relative who had a son who did something wrong. if it had been done to someone outside the family it would definitely be a crime. Both parents really upset and worried about possibility of this behaviour recurring & leading to long term consequences. The father rang the local police station and explained the situation. They wanted their son shocked enough to realise seriousness of behaviour without actually getting a criminal record. After he was happy with what the police agreed to do they took the son to the police to report him. Son didn't know of the initial phone call. The police gave him a really stern talking to and explained what could happen if he continued acting like he had. He was of course released without charge once he promised not to repeat the behaviour. This occurred years ago and the boy is now a very responsible adult having learnt from the experience.

Community Member
It is theft which is a crime. Putting you in this position isn't ok. He will continue stealing if nothing is done. Expecting you to put up with this isn't fair. If he did it to anyone else Police would be involved. His son needs help and there could be an underlying emotional reason why he is doing this. Also he may be in trouble considering the amount of cash. Drugs?? Do something ASAP.

Community Member

Hi Alyca, welcome.

Like smallwolf said, I haven't been in this position, but I'm really sorry you're dealing with this. It's not acceptable regardless of his age, etc. and this shouldn't happen to anybody.

I agree with Mudcakes, try and do something ASAP. I would be involving the Police, you have every right to call them because it's a crime, and he's stealing from you, in your own home.

I hope you feel a bit safer and the horrible situation ends. I'm really sorry you're dealing with it, it's not fair. I can't imagine the stress and trauma you must be under.

I'm thinking of you, I'm sorry I can't offer advice as I haven't dealt with that before. Nobody should have to deal with stealing etc of any kind.

Community Member
Thank you for your support. I'm trying best as I can, but to take into account of his dad's feelings, I can't really escalate this issue. So I'm turning to his school teachers see if they have any insight, as I'd imagine they are professional educators. I don't think it's about the drug though, as you can see, he spent a significant amount on an iPhone and its accessories, which should be the least of concerns for a drug addict.

Community Member

Thank you mb20lover,

I really appreciate it. There is this other potential issue with the Police unless we have some 'private deals' arranged as Elizabeth suggested, Great idea, by the way, the son will get something more than a criminal record.

The real problem is that he'll potentially get deported, perhaps after he turned 16 and current visa expires, as he's only staying here on a family visa, he doesn't have citizenship, and with a criminal record, he'll never get the chance to renew a visa.

There were already some complicated issues with his biological mother and their relatives, and getting the child sent to the police station then sent away from Australia would cause more trouble on that part.

So what I'm trying to say is that we kind of caught between a rock and a hard place, and I simply can't do this to my partner.

Hi, Elizabeth,

Thank you for your help, it's a great idea and I have given it a lot of thoughts.

There is just this one problem, this child, he doesn't speak English, and our local police station won't have an interpreter standby. His language school teachers even found it nearly impossible getting through to him, I'm afraid a stern talk from the Police may have very little impact on him than the boy in your story.

If we were to, say, engage an interpreter, then we won't be able to keep this whole deal private.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Alyca, a warm welcome to the forums.

As he doesn't speak English maybe a difficult situation, but if his dad speaks the language then there's every chance he knows what's being said.

I used to look after an elderly chap, who had his son as his caretaker, unfortunately, the son was an alcoholic, used drugs and also gambled his money away as soon as it was deposited, so he took his dad's credit card and stole $8000, all his father's life savings with absolutely no repense at all.

He would then continually 'borrow' his father's card every fortnight so he could purchase alcohol, drugs and gamble away until his father asked me to change his pin number on a regular basis, but eventually, he became physically violent with his father and an IVO was taken out against him, that didn't stop him from staying with his dad, and was able to hide when the police came knocking.

Money talks all languages and when it's taken without permission, measures need to be taken so he can't have access to it in the future.

Take care.


Community Champion
Community Champion

hi Alyca, I have looked at the replies you posted. I also know (own children) that teens are not prone to tell you all of the problem they have. (Yes, that is a broad sweeping statement but not intended to be.) In fact, I would tell own parents everything was ok when it was not. Whether it is fear or embarrassment, etc. does not really matter, a difficulty for a person to talk to another about their problems.

This next part is true... Son always has had a iphone.Why? Because that was what all his friends had and would be on the outer to have any other type of phone. Missing something like Facetime can be a REALLY big thing. At the time, I could not understand this - a phone is a phone is a phone. Yet it can be more than that for some.

He could have asked for a phone from you. With the money he could have bought anything, yet it was a phone and accessories.

Please note I am not trying to say what he did was OK.

The question is then - what drove him to this action? What happened?

I am sure you and partner love and care very much about the boy and would like him to become a responsible individual. As a teen the feeling of belonging is a really big thing. Feeling of being an outsider might... Is there something going on (say) at school? As mudcare alluded to - the behaviour won't change unless the underlying cause is considered.