That feeling hurts, but you can catch someone stealing money at home and decide whether to report them to the police, forgive, or help them to stop stealing stuff.
I’ve had this experience. It occurred some time ago. We had a maid at our house who had been stealing small items over a long period. She was quite clever at it, I have to give her credit. However, we decided to set a trap since she had become too confident. We placed a money-filled purse on a table, a jacket, and a phone inside. The twist was, we had placed scotch tape on the corners of the money with letter markings on it. We also recorded the whole thing when the maid was alone. The maid was leaving at 5:00 PM when we asked her to empty her purse. To our surprise, she pulled out a water bottle filled with detergent, a large number of Oreo cookies, and finally, the money with the letter markings on the tape. She quit out of embarrassment.
How to catch someone stealing money at home
First, make sure you determine what is missing and do not confront anyone. Now, do the following:
1. Determine the possible culprit
Let’s assume that there are 8 persons living in your home besides you, which means you have 8 suspects.
First, determine what items are missing. Is there a certain item that is maintained in one location, or do you lose stuff at random?
After that, find out who has access to the location where you usually misplace items.
I sincerely believe that every crime will be motivated, for example, by a psychological problem. Other motivators for criminal activity might include revenge, the thrill of committing a crime, a mental illness, or an addiction—per Maryville University.
Find out from your list who would require the items that are routinely stolen (in your case, money).
1. Apply Gentian Violet powder to the targeted item
Gentian Violet powder, also known as Crystal Violet, is a fine powder that leaves a purple stain on the hands of the person who handled it. The stain cannot be removed by any means, including alcohol, hand cleaners, or gasoline. It will also stain anything it comes into contact with, so it’s important to wear gloves when applying the powder to money or wallets. In my experience, some law enforcement officers often used this powder on bait money to track who had handled it. Note that Gentian Violet is a staining dye and can be toxic if swallowed, according to Macsen Laboratories.
2. Get yourself a camera
Get a hidden camera from any local online store. There are numerous varieties of them. After that, choose your home WiFi or a neighboring WiFi. Set a motion alarm in the app’s settings for that device, then wait. When you have your evidence, you can confront the suspect or call the police to have them arrested (if necessary). Catching them may not be enough to make a citizen’s arrest though.
3. Use GPS trackers
You can get GPS trackers that connect to your smartphone. Now, your phone will receive a Bluetooth alert if you leave your wallet at home and then someone touches it or moves it from where it should be.
What to do if someone stole money from your house?
Tell them to stop or you’ll contact the police the next time you catch them stealing. Do not put up with this bad character with anyone stealing money from home, it’s precisely what they are hoping you would do.
Family members who steal from you do so for the reason that they will get away with it because you consider them your family. The type of individual who would steal from family is exceedingly manipulative and self-centered, especially if they are living poor to save money. Just put a stop to it instead of tolerating it. Finally, store purses and wallets in a locked, secure location, including your drawer or cabinet. Your expensive jewelry can go in a safe for added security at a relatively low cost.
If the suspect is a family member, try to address the issue with them in person and consider seeking professional help for them if you believe it’s an addiction problem. Stealing is a dishonest criminal theft that could result from poor impulse control or addictive compulsive disorders, per Ana Gotter via Healthline. However, it can be treated at any age.
How do you get money back from someone who stole it?
Consider the following when trying to get your money back from someone who stole it:
a. Consider mediation
Try settling through mediation within the family instead of going to court. This procedure requires an unbiased third party to assist both you and the person who stole from you to resolve.
b. Inform the police
Make a report of the theft to the police to look into the situation. They might be able to recover part, if not all the money.
c. Take legal action
Consider taking legal action to recover your money back. Make sure to speak with an attorney first as the procedures can be time-consuming and expensive.
If the amount of money stolen is not substantial, consider a small claims court. Unlike a civil case, this procedure is less formal and less expensive.
Read also: Penalty for ignoring subpoena for civil cases
There are quite a number of reasons why someone will steal money at home, including financial difficulties or a lack of resources. If the person is a family member, try approaching the situation with empathy and understanding. Blaming the person may not be worth it. Try to have a calm and open conversation with them to understand the reasons behind their actions.
In some cases, you may be able to help them. It is not only young people who steal due to personal needs but people of all ages. Just be patient and non-judgmental—you’ll be fine.