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The GEM Debate: Should These Burglars Be Punished?

I know we tend to keep it light around these parts on the weekend but I heard this story and had to get your opinion on it.

Two young burglars broke into a man’s property and stole a bunch of,  what they thought were blank CDs. When they got them back and took a look at them, several of them contained child pornography! They called and then subsequently turned the evidence over to the cops.

Kraig Stockard, the man who was burglarized, initially said the CDs were not his; he later admitted the stash, which dates back to 2004, was his property. The question is not about what happens to Stockard so much; in my opinion, putting him UNDER the jail is too good. But what of the young burglars, what should happen to them?

Here’s my take: Stealing is wrong. What the burglars did was wrong. But there must be at least a kernel of goodness in these kids because they knew that what they viewed was so abhorrent, that they needed to turn it over to authorities, even though it meant coming clean about their own bad behavior. That says to me there’s at least a chance they can be rehabilitated.

I do think they should be punished but that punishment should take into account the fact that they helped cops collar a man who took great joy in harming children.

So what do you think? Should the young burglars be punished for stealing?  If so, what should that punishment be? Lemme hear ya!


  1. Diana

    October 8, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Tough one.. but I agree. The kids knew what they had done would get them in trouble, but they knew what this man had done was worse, and they had to let someone know, even if it meant their necks too. A slap on the wrist (with harsh future consequences if they do that type of thing again) is what I would suggest. Maybe a few hours of community service. If it wasn’t for them, more children could be hurt by this man, I don’t think that fact can be ignored.

  2. Retta

    October 8, 2011 at 11:15 am

    I think the teenagers should be punish not put in jail. They could have taken these tapes found the kids and done worse but they turn the tapes in. Foe the person who had them probably was out making more tapes I hope they put him in jail for the rest of his life.

  3. Mike McGinley

    October 8, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    I actually think the young people should be punished just like any other burglar. They still thought about it, did it and trespassed. If they don’t get punished, who is to say they wouldn’t do it again? Just because what they happened to take was criminal, doesn’t mean they should walk away unscathed because they turned it in. What they did with the tapes was absolutely good, but that’s a characteristic of what a good, just person SHOULD do. Everyone who goes to jail or gets punished for something has some good in them, I believe, but they still have to deal with that one (or more) bad action that landed them in the slammer.

  4. m.e. johnson

    October 8, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Gee Mike, What do you do to a puppy who pees on the rug? The worst criminals get time off for “good behavior”, right? In any criminal trial consideration is given to the perp’s good deeds or exemplary citizenship or lack of prior bad behavior. So it will be in this case. Plus they will be back in society one day. I for one want them to know that good deeds pay off better than bad ones.

  5. Mike McGinley

    October 8, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    A puppy will be potty trained. The one guy was 19 years old so he is hardly equivalent to a puppy. If the boys went to jail (at least the one guy could; the other is under 18), hopefully they will be productive and have the opportunity for early release due to good behavior just like any other inmate. I absolutely think the good deed they did after stealing the items should be taken into consideration along with community service work they have performed, character letters submitted, etc., but it still doesn’t change the fact that they didn’t set out to do something honorable. Had these CDs not had child pornography on them, the police may have never known they were, in fact, robbers. We don’t know about these guys’ pasts or how the ordeal will ultimately play out so it’s tough for anyone to say what the punishment should be, but whatever the consequence, hopefully they will learn that it’s not OK to break the law.

  6. Jim Walker

    October 8, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Nothing complicated about this. The bottom line is the burglars broke into a home and took something that was NOT theirs. It doesn’t matter what they took or whether it leads to prison for the accused kiddie porn collector. Based on what we know from the story, the two who broke in have committed burglary and theft, and the man with the explicit photos, is guilty of possessing child porn. Simple.

  7. Mike McGinley

    October 8, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    I agree, Jim.

  8. TechyDad

    October 8, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    In circumstances like this, I would think that the prosecutor would cut a deal with the burglars. They wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) get off scott-free, of course, but maybe something like X hours of community service instead of jail in exchange for their testimony in the child porn case.

    This way everyone wins. (Well, everyone except for the child pornographer.) The burglars are punished, but with a lighter punishment considering their actions after the burglary and the prosecutor gets testimony in the more important of the 2 cases.

  9. Joanne Willis

    October 9, 2011 at 12:10 am

    I think they should get community service. Yes, what they did was wrong, but they really redeamed themselves by turning in the tapes to the police. Make the communtiy service by helping children, or something like that.

  10. Cody Williams

    October 10, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Community service.

  11. Elizabeth Betrand

    October 10, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Interesting case: committing a crime that opens a window and discovery to another crime with larger penalties. Secondary evidence, I don’t even know if the evidenced found by the burglars will hold up in court. This is considered “fruit of the poisoned tree.”

    In any case, referring to the topic question, we don’t know too much about the young burglars, if they had any priors. Assuming they don’t, the young burglars did commit a crime but they weren’t caught committing the crime, either. They turn themselves in after discovering the CDs contained pornography. Two crimes were committed: stealing and child pornography. And, neither crime was discovered by the authorities but through criminal activity.

    The young burglars’ crime appears to be the lesser of two evils, but still a crime was committed. Taken into consideration that they did report their findings to the police, it shows they do have a conscious. I’ll give them community service, if they have no priors.

    I’ve learned from talking to people who are in system that some criminals, depending on the crime, have standards. 🙂

  12. Elizabeth Betrand

    October 10, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Jim, I hear ya! I understand completely where you’re coming from. However, since the burglars did turn themselves in after learning what the CDs contained, I think the court should take their actions into consideration when determining a penalty.

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