The last year has seen my family start a small garden in our front lawn.
We have cuca melons and tomatoes, basil and thyme.
The work we’ve put into the little patch of dirt is a point of pride for us and we enjoy every piece of food or spice we pull from the ground.
So what if someone decided to help themselves to your hard-grown food.
How would you react to that sort of violation?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) AITAGreenHouse when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for refusing to let a woman take for from my green house and pressing charges”
First, OP set the stage.
“I (30 Male) live in a nice little neighborhood, everyone knows everybody, we all have our own space and many have flower gardens.”
“I have a green house 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.”
Everything was fine, until…
“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 green house.”
“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 in 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 im 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.”
OP was left to wonder,
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some pointed out that the theft was premeditated.
“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_
“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*ck 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
Others had personal stories.
“We had this going on in my neighborhood a few years back.”
“These two middle aged women would make the rounds of backyard gardens and help themselves (during the day when most people were working).”
“When caught they’d babble in another language and pretend they didn’t know English.”
“Finally, after other methods failed to stop them the police were called as the victims knew where they lived.”
“Two visits later from the police they finally stopped. We called it ‘The Case of the Purloined Produce.’ NTA” ~ MidwestNormal
“There’s some lady here that keeps stealing someone’s lemons.”
“No, I’m not referencing that thing though I have been seriously tempted to make that joke.”
“She’s done it multiple times and these people have cameras and have posted her picture.”
“Oh and NTA for sure. maybe if you don’t want theft on your record, don’t steal?” ~ wildflowers
“That reminds me of my mum, growing a beautiful solitary poppy in our front yard, and looking forward to harvesting the seeds once the flower was finished.”
“Just to have someone steal the whole flower and seed pod. She thinks it was the bus driver who goes by our house but I’m not sure. Shame either way.” ~ Paroxysm111
“I have this issue with my herb & flower gardens.”
“The college aged kids up the road in student housing waltz by & help themselves.”
“They tried a couple times after I moved the planters to my backyard, but I guess they didn’t fancy the risk of being attacked by my lab/great dane mix who looks imposing or my daughter’s chao demon who takes the form of a stocky rat terrier.”
“The big one is a marshmallow but the small one would rip off their limbs.”
“NTA this is theft, plain & simple.”
“If she didn’t want charges or a record, she shouldn’t have broken into your yard & greenhouse & stolen your property.”
“If you hadn’t involved the police & served up some consequences for her actions, lord knows what else she’d have stolen from neighbors.” ~ OpossumJesusHasRisen
Commenters came with lists.
“Oh so she went out of her way to get others to harass you about this and left a paper trail?”
“If I were you OP id get the ball rolling for”
“Breaking and entering”
“She can run the waterworks all she likes.”
“Gotta stamp this crap out now Im surprised you let her leave without calling the cops before going into the greenhouse.”
“Let her friends harass you and dig her own grave. Id file a police report about the incident and hit her with the book.”
“People like this drive me insane. Like what?! Just appearing in a room in someones home you own is NOT okay. Neighboor or not she sounds like a piece of work.” ~ [deleted]
“First of all, it is your own greenhouse and you can do with it as you please and besides, theft is kinda theft.”
“Second of all, I feel that the whole ‘I am trying to feed my child’ argument is just an excuse because if she was truly in a bad position she wouldnt have done the whole ‘I am friends with the owner, dont mind me’ spiel.”
“She is now playing the victim card to everyone that will listen, so dont worry too much about it since they dont know your side of the story as well.” ~ FluffSheeple
For many, it just came down to theft being a crime.
“Someone tries to steal from you and you’re wondering if YOU are the A?”
“Uh, no. Just the opposite.”
“The only reason I have anything in my yard beyond grass and pavers is because people tend to notify police about trespassers and thieves.”
“Other neighborhoods in my city are having problems with anything like flowers, fruit, lawn furniture, etc., being stolen within days, if not hours.”
“So, I would be delighted to have someone who did what you did as a neighbor.”
“The thief could have easily avoided the issue by keeping her hands off things that did not belong to her. Not to mention, what a crappy mother, teaching her kid to steal.”
“That said, of course her friends on Facebook are telling you that you’re the asshole.”
“Birds of a feather flock together, and all that. If they’re so concerned, why don’t THEY give her some food?” ~ ReflectingPond
“She’s straight up a thief and tried to steal your food.”
“If she needed it that badly she should have asked you first, then gone and picked up some with your permission.”
“It wasn’t hers.”
“She didn’t grow it and it wasn’t in a community garden where that behavior is encouraged. You can’t help yourself to your neighbors veggies and expect to not face legal consequences.”
“She’s lucky she wasn’t shot in this day and age.”
“You had full right to call the cops on her.”
“Maybe she’ll learn to stop stealing ad go to a good pantry the legal way like everyone else or apply for snap benefits to get food legally.” ~ depressivedarkling
Though, not everyone felt that OP was in the clear.
“ESH, especially the other people commenting She was definitely wrong for not just asking you and then lying to you about it.”
“However, it is a pandemic and like you said, you don’t know her, therefore you don’t know her situation.”
“It is very possible that she cannot afford to feed her child and this was her only way to get fresh produce.”
“I feel like you should have a conversation with her, especially now that it’s not the heat of the moment, and explain to her that you’re not OK with her behavior.”
“Or if you do care to help her, that she at least has to ask.”
“But knowingly sending somebody to jail or possibly prison for just trying to get some food is cruel to me, especially when we are in the economic situation that we are now.”
“Also, getting the police involved is not going to get you your fresh produce back. All this is going to do is, at minimum, potentially leave a child without a parent.” ~ Cafesinleche95
OP did return with some final thoughts.
“Edited for information:”
“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 mailbox 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.”
Sometimes, the difference between a crime and a favor is a question.
The OP above even says that had the thief simply asked for some food he’d have happily parted with some of his hard-grown veggies.
Whether she actually needed help or just wanted free food is anyone’s guess, but always remember to be direct with your needs, you’d be surprised how many people are eager to help.