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Moral quandary du jour: Burglars drop a dime on burglee

October 6, 2011 |  5:40 pm

Here's a new version of an old dumb-criminal story; the last one of these I remember was some years back, when a Florida hotel guest called down to the front desk in a rage to report that someone had stolen his dope.

In this episode, out of Delhi, Calif., a town along the old Highway 99 in the Central Valley, news reports say that a man named Kraig Stockard called the Sheriff's Department to report that someone had gotten into his barn and stolen some CD-Rs.

Around about the same time, a couple of teenagers were also calling the Merced County sheriff to admit they had stolen some CDs from Kraig Stockard's barn.

It wasn't the spirit of the confessional that moved them. It was what they found on the CDs when they took them home to burn some music on them. More than 30 of the 50 stolen CDs, the authorities say, were loaded with kiddie porn.

It was after some persuasion from a relative that the young burglars called the law on the burglee -- the man who had also called to report being burgled.

Sheriff's Deputy Tom McKenzie told Fox40 in Sacramento, "I'm kind of surprised that he wanted to draw attention to himself, knowing what was taken."

What else was soon taken from Stockard's property -- by investigators with a search warrant -- were three laptop and three desktop computers. Stockard was arrested on suspicion of possessing child pornography.

As for the good Samaritan burglars, McKenzie said the Sheriff's Department "did not actually go out and arrest the suspects for burglary. They were obviously the lesser of two evils." It's up to the Merced County district attorney to take it from there.

It sounds like a twist from an O. Henry short story, doesn't it? So you be "the decider." If you were in the district attorney's shoes, how would you handle the two young confessed burgling miscreants? Swats? Criminal charges? Praise?

Or let them off with a warning and an Amazon gift certificate? I think you can get 100 blank CDs for twenty bucks.


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 -- Patt Morrison

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