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Theft victim finds phone, calls alleged thief's mom

Her car didn't look right. Things were missing. Oh, and what was this cell phone on the seat? All this led to Eliza Webb making a very difficult call.

"Hullo, you don't know me, but..." ABC News Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When someone steals something from you, you want your something back.

But, if you're a well-adjusted human, you also want justice.

Please imagine, then, the feelings of Eliza Webb as she got into her car and felt something wasn't quite right.

Where were her shades? Where were her running shoes? Yes, she lives in Seattle, but these things are still useful there. And the car was a mess. Surely her husband hadn't done this.

Then, as ABC News reports, she noticed a black cell phone on the driver's seat.

With a touch of lateral thinking, she imagined this phone belonged to the alleged thief.

It can't have had a passcode, as Webb said she examined the phone and found "mom" on speed dial.

Perhaps because she herself works with teens, she thought a call to this "mom" might be more effective than a call to her local police.

"I said, 'This is a very uncomfortable phone call to make. I have your son's phone and I'm missing some things out of my car and I think they might be two related items," she told ABC News Seattle affiliate, KOMO.

If you were a mom and received such a call, might you have wondered that it was related to a prank?

Clearly, Webb has a very persuasive phone presence. She says the mom was "devastated."

Still, though, Webb didn't call the police. Instead, she visited the house of the mom and her alleged thief son.

The son allegedly answered the door. "He looked like he'd been crying," said Webb. Oh, poor thing.

Worse, she says he asked for 10 other counts of theft to be taken into consideration.

And so the two ladies agreed that he would visit all his alleged victims and return his ill-gotten gains.

Webb believes that shaming the young can be very effective. Naturally, one would like to believe that this is possible. I know that several media outlets are trying to do just exactly that with Justin Bieber this morning.

I fear, though, that should crime still hold certain attractions to this teen, he might take additional precautions.

Phone locked? Check. Phone still in pants? Check.