Babe in Texas Toyland

Filed under: In The News

Santa is not the only one making lists this time of year. In order to know what toys to request, kids peruse toy catalogs and pay close attention to television commercials before making their own lists of what they'd like to receive for Christmas. But sometimes the choices are too many and the only way to narrow things down is with some real hands-on experimenting with the toys.

Perhaps that is what this 4-year-old Beaumont, Texas boy was thinking when he headed for a Family Dollar store at 4am yesterday morning. The news reports say the boy broke into the store, but that's not really a fair assessment of what happened. In reality, he simply unlocked the door of his own home, walked across a multi-lane street and entered the unlocked store. This set off a silent alarm, bringing the cops who found him happily playing with the toys. The whole caper was caught on the store's security camera (you can see the video here).

"He met them at the door," said Officer Crystal Holmes. "He was not afraid. When the officers got there, he was showing them his toys."

When the boy's parents woke up and realized their son was missing, mom hopped on her bike to search the neighborhood while dad called the cops. The family was happily reunited at the police station, albeit briefly. Instead of being returned to his grateful family, the boy and his 2-year-old brother were placed under the care of Child Protective Services. A CPS spokeswoman says the boys won't be allowed to go home until a review of the case has been completed. In the meantime, they are staying with other family members, presumably with better locks on their doors.

Kid Criminals

    Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold
    This pair of high-school seniors enacted an all-out assault on Columbine High School during a normal school day, April 20, 1999. At the end of the day, 12 students and one teacher were dead, and 24 people. were injured. Harris, 18, and Klebold, 17, committed suicide after the killings.

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    Robert Thompson
    Along with his schoolmate, Jon Venables, also age 10, Thompson kidnapped two-year-old James Bulger in Liverpool in 1993. Surveillance cameras filmed Thompson and Venables leading James out of a shopping center; the toddler's lifeless, battered body was discovered on train tracks.

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    Jon Venables
    Along with Robert Thompson, Venables was released in 2001 after spending eight years in prison. Their current identities and whereabouts are unknown.

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    Amy Fisher
    Dubbed the "Long Island Lolita," Amy Fisher, then 16, began a affair with a married auto mechanic, Joey Buttafuoco. Fisher demanded her lover leave his wife, but he refused. In response, a 17-year-old Fisher shot Mary Jo Buttafuoco in the head. She spent nearly seven years in prison -- and Mr. Buttafuoco served six months for statutory rape.

    Bill Sikes, AP

    Malcolm Shabazz
    A 12-year-old grandson of Malcolm X pled guilty to setting a blaze that killed his grandmother, Dr. Betty Shabazz, in 1997. After his release from prison, he was later arrested for attempted robbery and marijuana possession, among other charges.

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    Willie Bosket
    At the age of 15, Willie Bosket shot dead a man on the NYC subway. Eight days later, he shot dead another man in another attempted robbery. The Bosket case -- he was convicted as a murderer while still a minor -- led to a change in state law so that children as young as thirteen could be tried as an adult for murder.

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    Mukesh Prasad
    Quite possibly the youngest criminal in the world (cue Keith Olbermann), a 3-year-old boy in India was arrested for criminal mischief earlier this year, according to Days after he was arrested, the cops who put the toddler behind bars were suspended. Now that's justice.

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    Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme
    The 1994 film "Heavenly Creatures," starring Kate Winslet, is based on the true story of two New Zealand girls, ages 16 and 15, who murdered Parker's mother when she tried to end their intense and obsessive relationship.

    Zuma Press

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.