Charity may begin at home, but that doesn’t mean you need to let people rob you.
Or does it?
If the thief steals a loaf of bread but says it’s for their starving family, is the theft OK? What proof do they need to provide of a bona-fide need?
A 33-year-old New England man struggled with those questions, so he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for perspective.
Redditor AITAGreenHouse asked:
“AITA for refusing to let a woman take food from my greenhouse and pressing charges?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“I live in a nice little neighborhood, everyone knows everybody, we all have our own space and many have flower gardens.”
“I have a greenhouse in my backyard that is visible from the street and behind a four foot picket fence.”
“We got a new neighbor, haven’t had the chance to meet them until today.”
“I have a camera in my yard that notified me of movement near the greenhouse so I went and checked and that’s when I found a lady and young teen picking tomatoes and peppers in my greenhouse.”
“I raised my voice and asked what on earth they were doing and the woman says it’s fine she’s friends with the owner.”
“I asked if she wants to run that by me again cause I’m the owner and I don’t know who the hell they are.”
“When she realized she was caught she tried to leave with a bag full of vegetables, I told her she isn’t leaving with that food and she has two minutes to drop it and leave or I’m pressing charges.”
“She starts crying that she’s trying to feed her child and needs it and that she can’t afford this on her record but I didn’t feel like rewarding a theft and took the food from her and called the cops.”
“She’s telling everyone I’m an a**hole and a toxic man and though most are telling her she’s in the wrong, her friends on Facebook are telling me I’m an a**hole and should be ashamed.”
“When she was offered the chance to leave without police involvement she screamed at me and broke a pot that had some chives growing.”
“I don’t have her on Facebook. However my name is on my mail box and have since put my account to private.”
“If she had asked first, by all means I would have given her a couple peppers, tomatoes even some squash, but she didn’t.”
Redditors weighed in on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole.
“NTA, it was clearly a private greenhouse, she lied about knowing the owner, she filled a bag full, and then she complained about it a theft being added to her record.”
“She knew she was doing something illegal, completely her fault. She’s just mad she got caught.”
“Get a trespassing charge on her too. If you catch her again, charges will be worse for her. She deserves it.” ~ TheyRuinedThemselves
“AND she dragged her kid along. Just to ensure their education in all things theft and lying is well rounded.” ~ mahfrogs
“NTA. The fact that she had a ‘record’ that she ‘couldn’t afford’ to have something added to is a huge red flag even if the rest wasn’t already so egregious.” ~ Catinthemirror
Her failure to ask as well as lying when caught was a sticking point for most Redditors.
“NTA. She could’ve knocked on your door and asked instead of trespassing and stealing.”
“Because it’s your house. Your food. Your right. I don’t get entitled people.”
“That’s so rude, disrespectful and illegal. Good for you doing the right thing.”
“Right? I don’t know any hobby gardeners who wouldn’t say yes.”
“I have so many zucchini and tomatoes and cucumbers in the summer that I knock on other people’s doors and start asking if they can take some.” ~ topsidersandsunshine
“NTA – she stole from you. She should have talked with you beforehand.”
“The fact that she has the lie ‘I know the owner’ ready to go makes me think she’s used to stealing.” ~ Swegh_
“NTA. Clearly she thought she could get away with this by stating ‘I know the owner’ when she in fact, did not.”
“She lied, tried to steal, and overall that whole ‘afford to feed my kids!’ is likely a lie as well to try and gain sympathy, make your FB private, f’k her ‘friends’ and get a lock for your greenhouse, it may be made of glass but the damned door should have a latch for a lock.”
“If she breaks it to try and get food, well, cameras are wonderful and I’m glad you have them!” ~ WolfPetter42
“Stole, trespassed and lied.”
“Put a lock on that greenhouse. They’ll be back to steal or sabotage.”
“Glad you were at home to catch them red handed. NTA.” ~ amcm67
“She was stealing from you!”
“Assuming you are in the US, if she needs food assistance, there is SNAP (food stamps), the food handouts that are going on all over and churches who will give her food.” ~ Algebralovr
“NTA. She’s trespassing and damaging and stealing your property – it’s not better because it’s food – its YOUR food.”
“She didn’t even ask, and then had the nerve to lie. LOL, no. Absolutely do not reward that behavior.”
“Given that she just moved into the nice area and evidently has internet, it’s unlikely she’s even needing food anyway. She’s probably just some entitled yuppie after some free organic veg rather than someone in genuine need.”
“Not that it’s your problem anyway.” ~ ImpossibleBop
The OP returned to add:
“Just got back from the depot, going to install the [greenhouse] lock after supper.”
Most Redditors agreed if she had asked in advance, most home gardeners are happy to share extras.
There’s even a National Sneak Some Zucchini on Your Neighbor’s Porch Day on August 8.
But to trespass, steal, lie then berate the OP overrode any legitimate need she might have.