My neighbor threatened to press charges against my 6 year old! Long...

Your neighbor (and/or her husband) just sound obnoxious. I love RCW's idea of paying them in pennies!! But it also irks me because I feel like they (as adults) should bear more of the responsibility since they (the adults) set an alarm without locking their door. The 6 and 8 year old were just being kids - shocker.
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Well....
Sure is sad that your neighbor would blame little boys for their mistake of leaving the FRONT door unlocked. It's their fault for not locking the door.
Go ahead and pay them and let them know how you feel about it.
How lucky for them it was the boys and not some unsavory character.
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I'd pay them the $12.50...in pennies.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
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lovely...lol...I laughed about this all day..
I'd pay in pennies too.....not because I think you should though. It's more to not deal with their stupid immature attitude. If they are tripping that bad, I can see them making a bigger deal if you don't.

Then I wouldn't let my child down at their house to play anymore, instead let their kid come to your house from now on. I'd also start accompanying my child over there so they don't make any kind of innappropriate comment to him.
I'd pay them the $12.50...in pennies.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
Maybe you could pay them in installments. Say, 2 rolls of pennies a week? Or 100 pennies sealed in a nice envelope for them until your 'debt' is paid off.
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I am tempted to say dont pay it on the grounds that they are being ridiculous. However, you have a chance here to teach your son about being the bigger person WITHOUT giving in: Have your son write a letter of apology taking responsibility (ONLY for opening the door without consent) and to let them know that he gave a $12.50 donation in their name to a worthy charity.

Make a copy of the letter, just in case.

PS. Make sure to let them know that their son is welcome by you anytime - Tell them you "have an open door policy" when it comes to your kids friends
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I'd pay them the $12.50...in pennies.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
Maybe you could pay them in installments. Say, 2 rolls of pennies a week? Or 100 pennies sealed in a nice envelope for them until your 'debt' is paid off.
Originally Posted by TillyMunchyWaves

Pssh, no rolls! Dump 'em in a bag or an envelope or something and let THEM count 'em out!
I'd pay them the $12.50...in pennies.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
Maybe you could pay them in installments. Say, 2 rolls of pennies a week? Or 100 pennies sealed in a nice envelope for them until your 'debt' is paid off.
Originally Posted by TillyMunchyWaves

Pssh, no rolls! Dump 'em in a bag or an envelope or something and let THEM count 'em out!
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I would definitely find out whether paying the $12.50 could be seen as an admission of legal guilt. As long as it's not self-incriminating, I'd just pay it.
Originally Posted by Eilonwy
This. But in pennies. Pennies coated with dirty motor oil or something equally nasty. If it's clean pennies, it's way too easy to cash them in at a Coinstar machine.
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I am tempted to say dont pay it on the grounds that they are being ridiculous. However, you have a chance here to teach your son about being the bigger person WITHOUT giving in: Have your son write a letter of apology taking responsibility (ONLY for opening the door without consent) and to let them know that he gave a $12.50 donation in their name to a worthy charity.

Make a copy of the letter, just in case.

PS. Make sure to let them know that their son is welcome by you anytime - Tell them you "have an open door policy" when it comes to your kids friends
Originally Posted by rudeechick
I like this advice best. It avoids counter-pettiness.
It sounds like the situation has gotten totally out of control and become absurd.

They should have locked the door but your son/friend shouldn't have entered the house without permission.Them doing so has cost your neighbour money. You should have offered to pay the fee upfront but they shouldn't have been petty enough to accept it.

This should have been an amusing story not a legal matter or incident that ruins the relationship.
You could probably just pay it to keep the peace (who needs petty AND very disgruntled neighbors?).

On the other hand, I'd be really tempted to let them know that it's their own fault the alarm went off since they didn't lock their door, so you're not giving them a dime. Let them try to press charges against a little boy.
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I would definitely find out whether paying the $12.50 could be seen as an admission of legal guilt. As long as it's not self-incriminating, I'd just pay it.

Also, if the kids set off the alarm by opening the door, that doesn't sound like a false alarm. That sounds like an accurate alarm! However, your state's laws and case history may say otherwise.

Finally...They have an alarm and surveillance cameras, but they can't lock the frigging door???
Originally Posted by Eilonwy

It can't be self-incriminating - poisonivy isn't accused of doing anything herself, nor would she be expressly admitting to doing anything or giving testimony - she's just honouring a request to pay a fee for her son. The only way she could be held legally liable is if there is some kind of vicarious liability for parents where she is. But as others have said, it's a stretch (though unfortunately little kids HAVE been charged for things that petty.)

The neighbour sounds petty, cheap and leaving the door unlocked was stupid (or maybe an accident? then careless), but I do think both the kids were in the wrong (though yes, they are young, but the friend is 8 - I think an 8-y-o SHOULD know better than to just run away.) Is the first you heard of it from the neighbours or did your kid tell you about it before? (I think ideally he should have.) I agree with luvmylocs that it would be good to have a talk with your son about how their actions were inappropriate and dangerous - I don't think it's the hugest problem ever, but I feel it should be addressed.
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Last edited by Amneris; 09-25-2009 at 11:13 PM.
I'm conflicted. I agree with almost all of the above (except the pennies thing)!

Both parties are at fault in some way...Leaving their door unlocked (alarmed or no)...why? Odd. But the boys probably should not have opened the door.

Threatening to press charges and getting testy over $25?! That makes me think something is going on in their family that's stressing them out. Money problems perhaps? Something in the house they don't want the boys or anyone else to see? The son's behavioral problems are getting to them and making them think irrationally? Who knows?

There was a time when, had I been in your neighbors' shoes, I wouldn't have thought twice about paying the $25 myself and telling the boys to go on their merry way. Then I lost my job and that time ended. And I could not afford to lose $25. Seriously, times were/are that tight. idk... that may've happened to them.

And why is there an alarm fee anyway? Isn't that why they pay security company?
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What is the age of criminal responsibility in your state?

I think I would have been willing to pay the $12.50, but before anything was mentioned about pressing charges. The 'pressing charges' thing would have really got my back up.
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And why is there an alarm fee anyway? Isn't that why they pay security company?
Originally Posted by Phoenix
Here you pay a fee if its a false alarm, but that's charged by the police. Not sure if that's whats being discussed here.

And although they can charge it anytime, I've never seen it done. The alarm at our store has gone off a few times by accident (motion sensors for a bird, someone not quick enough to get to the key pad, key not working...only one door got opened and couldn't get to the key pad) and the police have always said "Next time we'll have to charge you for a false alarm", but yet to see it happen!
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I think the installment plan is best. Fifty cents a week for 15 weeks THEN the other family starts its installment payments.
It sounds like the situation has gotten totally out of control and become absurd.

They should have locked the door but your son/friend shouldn't have entered the house without permission.Them doing so has cost your neighbour money. You should have offered to pay the fee upfront but they shouldn't have been petty enough to accept it.

This should have been an amusing story not a legal matter or incident that ruins the relationship.
Originally Posted by Eternitycurls
I disagree. It became their responsibility when they installed the alarm to assume the charges of false alarms. Thats part of the package.

They are likely annoyed because their OWN kids have set it off a million times and its becoming expensive. TFB - its the cost of doing business. Its up to them to see to it that its on or off as needed.

Maybe they should put up a sign by the bell: "WARNING! THIS HOUSE IS ALARMED. IF YOU SET OFF THE ALARM WITHOUT THE INTENT TO STEAL SOMETHING YOU WILL INCUR A 12.50 ENTRANCE FEE" Better yet, maybe they should just take credit card numbers upfront, like some hotels do.

So, the kids opened their friends front door? Big deal. AND we are talking about 12.50. And you know what? I bet if they had asked nicely and sheepishly or even just hinted, OP would have OFFERED to pay it.

I say NO- they are being bullies. Go the charity donation route - makes them look bad. In fact, give the donation to whatever church/temple they attend regularly
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