Not a penny-ante crime

Justice doesn't carry a minimum value

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If your son were arrested for stealing coins out of a fountain, how would you react?

Would you blame the officers who arrested him? Would you be quoted in the newspaper saying, "I don't have any clue why they would lock him up. It's silly, just silly"?

If you did that, what kind of message would you be sending your son -- or the rest of the youth in Augusta? That it's OK to take someone else's property up to a point? And exactly what point is that? A certain dollar amount?

When did adults start taking their kids' side, no matter what?

There's a debate going on in the public right now over whether Richmond County Sheriff's deputies should've arrested two young men for pilfering pennies out of a fountain outside Surrey Center shopping center last weekend. After being spotted doing it by an alert citizen, the two showed up at a nearby convenience store to go on a wild spending spree with their booty of $1.26 and $1.51.

But again, where should the line for theft be drawn, if not at the theft itself? And what if something else untoward had happened at the shopping center? Should police have just released a pair of thieves at 5 a.m. and call it a day without knowing?

Regardless of where you fall in that argument, one thing is clear: The parents of a thief shouldn't be excusing the behavior and blaming police in public pronouncements.

Especially when that parent is a former sheriff's deputy, such as Kenneth Boose Sr.

If any of you long for the bygone era when police officers could sweep up such petty offenders and deliver them to their front porch and trust that they'd get worse at home than they would've downtown, you can stop the pining right now: 1) often the parents aren't there today, and 2) they often take the kids' side anyway, not the officer's.

Case in point.

In addition, with so many wayward kids today, how smart is it to laugh off petty crimes? They are quite often the gateway to other offenses.

Indeed, the younger Boose acknowledges he had previously been arrested for shoplifting, in Columbia County.

We asked one respected criminal justice official to weigh in: "The bottom line is, get off of the private property and out of the fountain at 0400!" was the response.

Absolutely.

If we want to believe that young adults shouldn't be arrested and booked for petty thefts, then we'd better have a backup plan at home -- such as a parent who doesn't think it's silly that his son has been arrested, but is instead horrified, embarrassed and angry -- and who will mete out justice that improves upon what society might have done.

Until we get back to that place, maybe we should lay off the deputies. They're cleaning up after some of the rest of us.

Comments (42) Add comment
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Riverman1
94463
Points
Riverman1 06/04/11 - 09:53 pm
0
0
Moral absolutism is as wrong

Moral absolutism is as wrong as serious theft.

I'm informing the RCSO that some customers are taking extra packs of sugar from McDonalds. That's stealing in this absolute view of our law. What do they intend to do?

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 06/04/11 - 10:50 pm
0
0
River, dont tell them about

River, dont tell them about my taco bell hot sauce packets in the glove box. Our little secret!

charliemanson
1
Points
charliemanson 06/05/11 - 06:14 am
0
0
Remember the days when you

Remember the days when you wanted to purchase stamps...you just left some money in your mailbox for the mailman. And you didn't have to worry about anyone stealing it!

InChristLove
22485
Points
InChristLove 06/05/11 - 06:50 am
0
0
Justice doesn't carry a

Justice doesn't carry a minimum value, that is correct, but is it justice to arrest an individual for removing less than $2 out of a dry fountain.....that is the question.

Most of society will agree that taking anything, no matter what the value, that is not yours is wrong....but depending on that value, should determine the consequences.

""I don't have any clue why they would lock him up. It's silly, just silly"? words spoken by the father. As we are all aware, words can be taken out of context and I'm sure this father wasn't laughing off petty crime, excusing his son's behavior, or blaming police. I'm sure he is like several who have posted comments on this article...was it necessary to "arrest" these two young men? As stated in the article the officer who responded to the call, would have handled this in the manner that most on here thought it should have been...give a stern talking to, make them put the pennies back, and get off the street and get home.....follow it up with a call to the parents.

dougk
3
Points
dougk 06/05/11 - 07:17 am
0
0
ACES: There is really NO
Unpublished

ACES: There is really NO evidence to support the "gateway theory" in the criminological literature....if that was the case, nearly ALL of us would be hardened criminals.

DuhJudge
206
Points
DuhJudge 06/05/11 - 07:31 am
0
0
My question is whether they

My question is whether they had previously been removing the coins from the fountain and this time they got caught. In my business I have learned by years of observation that people turn into animals when they think no one is looking. That is why public restrooms are so awful. The same is true for stealing.....regardless the amount. To overcome the tendency you must exercise a learned discipline.

Asitisinaug
4
Points
Asitisinaug 06/05/11 - 07:53 am
0
0
The police were called to

The police were called to deal with the situation, a second citizend pointed out the 2 young men so 2 citizens deemed in necessary to involve the police. The police found the young men who even admited they did wrong and they were arrested for disoderly conduct (not trespassing, not theft, not public drunk) but a lesser charge of disorderly for their actions at 4am on private property.

Could it have been handled differently, of course. But, ALL blame should be placed on their actions because I can assure you the police DO have much more important things to do with their time and aren't looking for silly arrests or more paperwork.

However, if they failed to arrest and these guys did something else wrong after citizens reported them or if they got hit by a car walking back home, etc. then people would be blaming the police for failing to act. Additionally, like it or not, if these two white young men had been released then plenty of people would be saying the cops only released them because they are white.

No matter how the police handled this, many would not like their response. If people would simply do as they are suppose to do, their wouldn't be any police interaction to blame.

Riverman1
94463
Points
Riverman1 06/05/11 - 08:22 am
0
0
Since the Chronicle avoided

Since the Chronicle avoided the philosophical question and dissected the actions and comments of some of the players I'll do the same. From the news article, "Oehrlein planned to let them go, but his supervisor, who is not named in a report, told Oehrlein to make the arrest.
(The supervisor) said ‘I should arrest both of you for stealing my daughter’s wishes,’”

Now did he say that or not? If so, I don't believe his daughter's wishes are covered by the Georgia Code. Importanly, he didn't charge them with theft, but disturbing the peace which negates the whole basis of the editorial. If we are being moral absolutists, were they disturbing the peace at 4 AM? Was it a lie, a moral wrong, to say they were and charge them with it? Or maybe lies are not always lies. You know it's relative.

The newsworthy fact missing is what had been done with the coins in the past? Contributed to charity? Or into the owners' of the mall's pockets who just happen to be the Boardmans, Deke's in-laws?

Was one person interviewed who had tossed coins into the fountain as to his wishes of what should be done with the coins or if he minded someone taking the coins?

Riverman1
94463
Points
Riverman1 06/05/11 - 08:24 am
0
0
"Additionally, like it or

"Additionally, like it or not, if these two white young men had been released then plenty of people would be saying the cops only released them because they are white."

Ha, you try putting two black kids in the back of a cruiser for something like that.

copperhead
1035
Points
copperhead 06/05/11 - 08:37 am
0
0
These criminals should be

These criminals should be jailed for 5 to 10 years as a deterent to other penny-stealing criminals! This would show "zero tolerance".

Riverman1
94463
Points
Riverman1 06/05/11 - 08:47 am
0
0
The police should be fired

The police should be fired for lying and saying the guys were disturbing the peace as a deterrent to other police misconduct. This would show zero tolerance.

allhans
24988
Points
allhans 06/05/11 - 09:39 am
0
0
You can be arrested for

You can be arrested for picking flowers from a plant that you don't own, so what is so different about picking up coins from a fountain. (NO! - not lost coins, but coins that are there for a reason.)
Is it ok to take coins from a loose change dish on a counter.

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 06/05/11 - 09:39 am
0
0
Is it justice to not arrest a

Is it justice to not arrest a person for a burglary of $6000, yet arrest 2 persons for less than $3 ?

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 06/05/11 - 10:30 am
0
0
First of all the ACES keeps

First of all the ACES keeps referring to this as theft, yet the two were not even charged with theft and it is not clear who the pennies even belonged to. They were discarded by people.. and it's not even like they inadvertantly fell out of their pockets.. those people conciously threw the pennies away. Secondly, the ACES ridicules the attitude of the father. Well I don't believe Mr Boose ever dismissed the actions of his son, but rather said that taking them to jail over something like this was "silly". A warning, a citation, etc would have been appropriate in this case. Evene the officer on duty who arrived on the scene had planned to just give them a warning, but it was an overzealous supervisor who wanted to make the matter into a capital case (perhaps because he holds some grudge against Mr Boose, Sr?)

Rather
56
Points
Rather 06/05/11 - 10:37 am
0
0
Good grief! All of you and

Good grief! All of you and the AC are mad. Who the hell cares and why is this even news? Lets have a contest and see who can steal the fewest pennies and still get arrested. How many angels can fit on the head of a pin?

Riverman1
94463
Points
Riverman1 06/05/11 - 10:42 am
0
0
Rather said, "Lets have a

Rather said, "Lets have a contest and see who can steal the fewest pennies and still get arrested."

I like that. 4 o'clock today? We can show up and everyone take out one penny. Bring a net or something to retrieve your penny. The RCSO has been warned. Let's see what they do.

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 06/05/11 - 10:59 am
0
0
Riverman...lol. Bring some

Riverman...lol. Bring some bail money too. You guys would all go to jail. :)

gcap
290
Points
gcap 06/05/11 - 11:03 am
0
0
I say drop the charges --

I say drop the charges -- AFTER the two bums scrub the fountain in the hot sun with toothbrushes. That'll be a memory they'll cherish.

allhans
24988
Points
allhans 06/05/11 - 12:01 pm
0
0
THE END

THE END

SuzeQ
0
Points
SuzeQ 06/05/11 - 12:17 pm
0
0
I know Mr.Boose personally,

I know Mr.Boose personally, and the AC has taken his comments to staff writer Kyle Martin totally out of context,....First of all, he doesn't think anything about what his son did is SILLY!!! What he said was that a citation and stern warning, along with making them put the change back would have served it's purpose...what he thought was silly was that they went on and arrested them for something so small...And all the tax payer dollars that were wasted as a result.

And NO, he was not OKAY with, nor did he know his son was out at 4:00am.. K jr. said he was going to a friend's house early the prior evening and may just spend the night there...

And ICL, you are absolutely right...Mr. Boose is 100% for law enforcement and the difficult job they do everyday to keep us safe, having done that job for years...How dare the Chronicle make a mockery of this and imply that he is somehow ridiculing the RCSD...

He has nothing but respect for Sheriff Strength and his former co-workers, and Kyle Martin, staff writer, you should be ashamed of yourself!

PLEASE LEAVE THIS KID AND HIS FAMILY ALONE! this is not something that should have received an entire week of news coverage!!!

I have a better topic for you: the drive-by shooting in which someone was killed a few days ago in Augusta....I'm sure the victim's family would love to see FRONT PAGE attention given to their loved one just like the AC has given this terrific piece of reporting.....idiots!

fighterzack
4
Points
fighterzack 06/05/11 - 12:39 pm
0
0
Yes, SuzeQ, the editorial

Yes, SuzeQ, the editorial writer has blatantly sensationalized the comment of Boose, Sr. in order to make a "story'. Shame on them. Put the recorded interview with the AC writer who called him on here, let the readers take from it his intent. I dare you. Something tells me it won't happen. I have known Boose, Sr. for 25 years, he would never excuse his son's actions on this or any breaking of the law. His question was, were the tax dollars spent arresting and processing these 2 "criminals" for the $3 theft a good use of everyone's time, and tax payer money? Simple as that. Again, shame on you editorial writer for misquoting and sensationalizing a response in order to sell newspapers. Did you even listen to the recorded interview by your staff writer, or just choose the response from his article and decide to grow your reputation, based on bullsnot?

stumped
3
Points
stumped 06/05/11 - 12:44 pm
0
0
So did the father think it

So did the father think it was 'silly, just silly' when his son was arrested for shoplifting too??

Riverman1
94463
Points
Riverman1 06/05/11 - 12:49 pm
0
0
Stumped asked, "So did the

Stumped asked, "So did the father think it was 'silly, just silly' when his son was arrested for shoplifting too??"

Ummm, let's see since his dad was a cop then, he probably welcomed the arrest and his punishment to teach him to never do anything seriously wrong again. Looks like it worked to me since the guy is now 20 and that's all anyone can find on him.

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 06/05/11 - 04:22 pm
0
0
ACES, if it was theft, they

ACES, if it was theft, they should be charged with theft. Let's keep the real law, not the bogus stuff at taxpayer's expense. Glad you are on top of crimes, though, and look forward to the same zeal regarding the loss of life of the 4 year old baby boy in Aiken, shot by boyfriend's gun. Did he have a permit? Why did he bring the gun into the mother and baby's home? Were they arguing? What is his background? What credibility do you have, while swallowing a camel and choking on a gnat?

faithson
5531
Points
faithson 06/05/11 - 03:49 pm
0
0
good point willow.....

good point willow.....

trujustis
78
Points
trujustis 06/05/11 - 05:30 pm
0
0
I would like to ask the

I would like to ask the editor who wrote this about his sub title, "Justice doesn't carry a minimum value." If this is truly the way you feel then you of course, would like to see people going 58 in a 55 mph speed zone taken to jail, instead of ticketed and released. They broke the law they need to be locked up, correct? What about the 18 year old fishing without a license? Take him to jail, correct?
I am sure that the editor has never been caught speeding or anything else for that matter where the officer had to use some discretion on whether to issue a warning, citation or arrest. The key word in all of this is "discretion."
I have not read anything anywhere that said the father condoned the son's actions. Has the editor spoken to the father? I doubt it.
I have done a google search on Boose Sr. and only found articles about him doing good things in law enforcement. I found nothing negative. I spoke to a couple of friends at the S.O. who told me he was a good investigator and in fact was Deputy of the Year at some point in his career. Doesn't sound like the person the ACES is portraying.
Maybe the chronicle should leave this family alone.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 06/05/11 - 05:32 pm
0
0
so aces says that families
Unpublished

so aces says that families don't know how to raise their own kids and we need to rely on government agencies to do it? we can't trust parents, just cops, but when the parent is a cop it's kinda confusing.
also interesting is the way boose sr's comments are twisted. he's not a defendant in this horrible crime of disorderly conduct (not theft, aces). plus where in the code do we find this example of disorderly conduct. did you bother asking your wise, unnamed legal expert that one?
i'll give this a nine point five- second only to the editorial last year praising a cop's fatal shooting of a golden retriever doing nothing wrong in the yard of its owner who also did nothing wrong while casting aspersions on the owner by spouting something about leash laws.

dougk
3
Points
dougk 06/05/11 - 05:42 pm
0
0
I'm sure the AC cannot be
Unpublished

I'm sure the AC cannot be held legally culpable for the smear campaign they waged on the Boose family today or this editorial would never had appeared. But if I was a member of the Boose family, I'd sure uncover every rock to make sure.

dstewartsr
20393
Points
dstewartsr 06/05/11 - 06:23 pm
0
0
With 30,000 new laws enacted

With 30,000 new laws enacted every year, I suspect everyone, yes, EVERYONE, violates some nickel and dime crap piece of constituency pandering on a daily basis. So, what to do? Arrest everyone --including the police whose cavalier attitude towards traffic law is legend-- or save our resources for more serious efforts? And how many murders, burglaries, robberies have gone (and will probably will continue) unsolved just this year?

Riverman1
94463
Points
Riverman1 06/05/11 - 06:59 pm
0
0
Yup, another good point

Yup, another good point someone above pointed out showing how far you can take this idea of if it's against the law you deserve to be arrested, no matter the relative wrong. Driving one mile over the speed limit is against the law. When we get so high and mighty believing we never break the law have a dose of reality.

It surprises me the Chronicle misses the issue of the relative seriousness of the crime. When I was in the Army they gave us an ethics class. If I remember right, it was taught by the chaplain. Even the Army emphasized the relative seriousness of breaking the rules.

The example given was it's wrong to steal government property, but NCO's and officers traditionally got free coffee from the messhall even though they were supposed to pay for it.

Do you Army vets remember in some places it's so accepted, the messhall just gives you cans to make your own. The answer the Army gave is you have to consider the relative seriousness of breaking the rules. When the rule is minor, you have to take that into consideration.

I agree the father has been smeared. I'd like to see another interview with him, the boy, the arresting officer and the SUPERVISOR for clarification.

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