A man has been branded “heartless” by his own brother after evicting him and his family from his apartment over a missing engagement ring.
But while the decision has left his sibling distraught, many on social media felt the man had little choice, with the missing ring said to have set him back $4,000.
According to the man, writing as missingring_ on Reddit in a post upvoted over 12,000 times, his brother and his family came to stay after his sibling lost his job and they realized “they weren’t gonna make it with all their bills including rent.”
Even before they moved in, the man had his reservations though, particularly about his nephew, who is 9 and, as he puts it, “has a habit of stealing things.”
“They’ve gotten in trouble a few times at stores because he’d leave with something in his pockets,” he explained. “Even at school my brother has told me they have had to come talk to the principal on a couple occasions.”
While stealing in children and adolescents isn’t uncommon, in incidents involving children over the age of 5 it can point to other underlying issues.
“Parents should consider whether the child has stolen out of a need for more attention,” the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry explains. “The child may be expressing anger or trying to ‘get even’ with his or her parents; the stolen object may become a substitute for love or affection.”
They said: “The parents should make an effort to give more recognition to the child as an important family member.”
In this instance, it didn’t take long for his nephew’s stealing habit to come to the fore in an incident that had serious repercussions for all involved. “A month ago I finally bought an engagement ring for my girlfriend that I was planning on proposing to soon but now I don’t know,” the man explained.
Eager to keep the $4,000 ring safe, the man hid the ring in a space under one of the drawers in his bedroom. However, he was alarmed to come home one day and find his nephew “snooping” around his personal space.
He told his brother to do more to “control his damn kid” and set up a camera to better monitor his belongings. A week passed before the man discovered, to his horror, the ring was missing and, surprise, surprise, his nephew was filmed looking through his personal things.
According to the post, his brother and his wife have “yelled” at their son over the theft but despite their best efforts, they have so far been unable to find the ring with the nephew failing to recall or reveal where he left it.
Enraged at his nephew’s actions and the failure of his parents to do more to prevent them, the man issued an ultimatum to his brother. “I told him either they find the ring or he repays me the $4k I spent on it, if not they can’t stay here anymore,” he said.
The warning left his brother distraught but the man remained unmoved. “It’s a tough spot but I couldn’t ignore the fact that his kid, who he can’t parent, took something extremely important to me that cost a lot of time and money,” he explained.
The family have since moved into a motel, but the brother is still begging to come back, with the cost of accommodation eating into whatever savings they have left. He has accused his brother of being “heartless” at what is a “difficult time” and insisted that his nephew “keeps saying he’s sorry.”
But while the man admitted to feeling slightly conflicted by his actions, for many on Reddit he was firmly in the right to respond in the way he did.
Exfamilia felt “kicking them out was fair,” adding that it “sounds like they’ve never given the kid real consequences for his thievery. Well now the consequences have fallen on them.” NaClslug was similarly critical of the parents, claiming “they can’t be bothered to get help for a kid who desperately needs it” and they were “failing” their son.
KSNitter went one step further, urging the man to take his sibling to small claims court over the theft. “Make it clear that you think his parents encourage the behavior by not punishing it effectively and making excuses that he is a child and ‘forgets.’ That you care and real world consequences need to happen,” they wrote.
Crystallz2000, meanwhile, suggested he “file a police report” explaining: “It’s not like they’ll arrest the kid, but then you’ll have it on record. I would tell them that you’ll only drop the charges if they repay you for the ring or find the ring.”
Some even suggested the nephew was being set up to take the fall by his cash-strapped parents. VonSchtupp wrote: “they sold the ring,” with Sweet-Advertising798 in agreement, adding: “They sold it. Start checking all the local pawn shops.”
Newsweek has contacted the original poster for comment.