There’s something particularly disquieting about someone breaking into your home. The illusion of security is shattered and for some, the fear of never being safe is a feeling they’ll always have to endure.
Redditor teijinator2000 experienced this recently, however more information came to light. The original poster (OP) has the opportunity to press charges against his neighbor for breaking and entering, but he isn’t sure if it’s the right thing to do.
OP decided to ask the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit about his situation, and find out if he would be the titular a**hole for seeking legal recourse.
His neighbor claims it was all just a mistake.
“AITA if I press charges against my neighbor for breaking and entering?”
But did he try and steal anything?
“This is crazy but just happened this past weekend. I (m[ale]45) was alone and taking a nap for a couple hours upstairs and came down about 4pm.”
“I walk down and see a man walking out of my front door! I recognized him as my neighbor- we live a townhouse complex and he lives right across from us.”
“I confronted him, he apologized profusely and said he was drunk (yeah at 4pm) and made a mistake. I could smell the alcohol on his breath.”
“Seemed believable but I decided to make a police report anyway. They questioned him but his story was believable so that was the end.”
“I go back inside, frazzled but thought it was over. I check my phone and see auto messages about recent charges on my credit card- from a convenience store near my house, for several beers, while I was sleeping.”
“I call the police again, and they were able to get a copy of the stores security footage a couple days later. Surprise surprise, it’s him.”
“The police arrested him this morning and he confessed to taking my wallet from my house, using my credit card, then returning it back to my house! He didn’t even take the cash in the wallet!”
“The whole thing is so bizarre I would laugh about it but then I think what if my wife and kids were home? What could have happened? Then I just get angry all over again.”
“And now I just got a letter from his wife, saying how he is a drunk and ‘getting help’ and begging me not to press charges. Part of me feels for her and wonders AITA, but the other part thinks I should not only press charges but also sue them into oblivion, forcing them to move at the very least.”
“So AITA if I press charges?”
Not only did OP’s home get broken into, but his wallet was stolen and used to get his neighbor more beer. OP’s neighbor, for his part, is suffering from alcoholism and promises to get help.
Should OP let things go?
On Reddit, the users of the board judged OP for pressing charges against his neighbor over the theft by including one of the following in their response:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
In the end, we’re each responsible for our actions. While the neighbor may suffer from a disease, there are consequences for breaking into someone’s home and stealing their money.
OP wouldn’t be out of line to file charges, and some commenters even think that this is the kind of event that might help the neighbor realize how much of an issue his alcoholism is. It might genuinely push him to get help.
OP would be NTA for seeing that legal consequences are brought upon his neighbor.
“There should always be consequences when drinking leads to out of control behavior. Otherwise you’re enabling a selfish, destructive person to become ever more selfish and destructive.” – 99point995percent
“This is such a good point!”
“I would also like to point out that if he made it all the way into your house, found your wallet, stole credit cards, bought beer/alcohol with them, and returned them, then this is likely not the first time that he has done something like this, but it seems like it may be the first time he is facing real consequences for it.”
“The wife sounds like she has been enabling this behavior.”
“NTA.” – BeardedSomething
“Press charges, NTA. Also let anyone you’re friends with around there know.”
“If there’s a landlord, they should know. The guy is a predator, not a drunk.”
“I know plenty of drunks that would never break into your house once, let alone twice. Or steal your credit card.”
“What’s next? Waking up to him standing over you and your family with a butcher knife? Also, what kind of locks and security do you have? Sounds like an upgrade is due.” – minwah1
“NTA, but please lock your doors from now on.” – Pyesmybaby
“Right? My first thought was, ‘Why wasn’t his door locked?’”
“But NTA and yes, press charges.” – rapheALtoid
OP eventually came back and updated with some clarifying information. He answered recurring questions about the door, what happened to the neighbor, and what he plans to do.
It provided some necessary context to the evolving situation.
“Thanks for all the great opinions. I’m getting the same questions it seems so here some edits rather than try to answer individually:”
- “the door was unlocked. We’re in a gated community so I just dropped my guard.”
- “the neighbors have money so I have no idea why he did what he did. Maybe just to see if he could get away with it?”
- “the guy is being held in jail pending a court appearance this Friday. Likely will be released on bail. So no opportunity for him to apologize yet, if he does.”
- “I’m not angry about the money. I’m angry about the invasion of privacy and the fact that I won’t have peace of mind in my own home from now on.”
“I’m angry because of what could have happened if my wife and kids were home. And angry for how much worse it could have been in general.”
“I will be meeting with the wife tonight as she keeps begging for a meeting.”
However, not everyone agreed that OP should meet with the neighbor’s wife. They felt the actions of the neighbor were an intentional choice and that OP shouldn’t compromise.
And they are adamant on that point.
“NTA. That was not a drunken mistake, that was a deliberate theft.” – Maleficent_Ad407
“Yeah. Wandering into the wrong house is a mistake. Taking credit cards signals intent.” – ForgottenTroll
“From how it play out:”
“He get into OP’s house to steal his wallet and then get drunk. Then he return it.
“What make him leaving the money alone is because he thought OP would realize cash but not credit card.”
“100% intentional.” – Reigo_Vassal
“NTA he was sober enough that he quietly entered and left, he was sober enough that he planned this out and how to get away with it. If he was truly drunk he would never have thought of or tried to replace it.”
“Please check all your bank statements and belongings as who knows if he’s done this before or stolen stuff. Being an alcoholic does not absolve him of anything he did.”
“He invaded your home and privacy. How did he know where your card or wallet was how much of your home did he go through first.”
“He will never try to change whilst he is enabled. It is unfortunate for his wife but that does not mean you are at fault in anyway. As I guarantee if you let him off the next time he was drunk or not long after he’d be back as he thinks you are a soft touch.”
“This whole thing is scary and he took away the peace and safety of your home.”
“I was broken into in the night a few weeks ago, myself and son in our beds. My dogs and I realised quickly and chased him off. whilst I thought I was fine at first but I can’t tell you how nervous and unable to sleep, even completely when exhausted for nights afterwards.”
“I caught him before he could get far in but knowing someone invaded your space when you didn’t know is horrible. Knowing they easily picked my lock and brazenly walk in front door under a street light.”
“The fear of it happening again but being near and around you or child when your sleeping is worse yet. I got my locks changed it gave me back my sense of security, having him charged may do the same for you.”
“This definitely won’t be the worse thing he has done unfortunately and you have your family to worry about” – Sweet-Interview5620
OP has chosen to try meeting with the neighbor’s wife to see if this can be resolved, but there is a good chance the neighbor will need professional help.
Alcoholism is a disease that, while it shouldn’t be shamed, it does require the neighbor to be genuinely committed to getting help.