One father is being hailed as an “excellent” parent by news station KUSA-TV in Colorado after he exercised his parenting muscles on his 20-something-year-old child who broke the law.
For the past eight years, Joe Stricker has set up an incredible holiday display in his front yard, just south of Denver. Dozens of festive characters and thousands of lights make his home one of the “most festive homes” in the Denver area, according to KUSA.
But some vandals recently damaged the display and stole a Christmas-themed dinosaur. The vandals were captured on home surveillance and Stricker shared the footage with KUSA in hopes of catching those responsible for the damage.
And Stricker got his wish — in the form of a father who recognized one of the vandals as his son.
Though the father’s name wasn’t made public, Stricker told KUSA that within hours of seeing the footage, the father hopped on a plane to Colorado and showed up at Stricker’s doorstep with eight others.
The people were there to accept responsibility for the vandalism, Stricker said.
What consequences did the vandals face
Because the vandals were in their 20s and not teenagers, Stricker said he and his wife made the “absolutely tough” decision to move forward with prosecution.
After counseling with authorities and the vandals’ parents, Stricker said “a very understandable and fair punishment agreed upon by both parties.”
Instead of being arrested, Stricker said the two parties agreed to criminal citations, where the guilty party will have to go to court and pay fines.
The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office cited three people in connection to the crime. The citations included summonses for theft, criminal mischief, and second- and third-degree criminal trespass.
“We ended on great terms and we forgave them for their actions. It was very honorable for them to take full responsibility for their actions,” Stricker said.
What was the deciding factor in the leniency?
Stricker told KUSA that he and his wife likely would have ignored the whole incident had the vandals been teenagers, but because they were in their 20s, they only felt it was right for some punishment to be handed down.
But it was the vandals’ remorse that made being lenient even easier.
“Throughout this entire process the individuals were incredibly gracious, kind and completely understanding of our decision. They agreed that the right thing to do was to turn themselves in and take full responsibility for their actions,” Stricker said.
“The individuals couldn’t believe the outpour on social media and the impact of their actions on the community. We can’t believe this outcome and are at a loss of words at the remorse of these individuals,” he explained.