Lehigh Acres Mother stages fake arrest of son aged FIVE… because he played with matches


By Daniel Bates
Last updated at 3:19 PM on 21st May 2010

As far as punishments go, it was just a little on the harsh side.

An American mother persuaded police to stage a fake arrest of her son when she
caught him misbehaving.

But far from being a criminal matter the ‘offence’ was that he was playing with matches – and the boy was just five years old.

Appalled neighbours looked on, unaware the whole thing was a stunt, as officers handcuffed the crying child – who was barely tall enough to reach the wheel of their patrol car – and put him on the back seat.

They threatened him by saying: ‘You want to go to jail?’ over and over again before finally releasing him back to his mother.

The incident took place outside the 7-Eleven convenience store in Florida where the unnamed mother works.

It later emerged the mother was friends with the deputy sheriff who slapped the cuffs on her child.

An outraged witness, not realising that the arrest was staged, snapped a photograph on her mobile.

Critics have claimed that the mother’s actions were wrong and that the boy was too young to be given such a punishment.

But the unnamed mother in her 20s, from Lehigh Acres in Florida, was unrepentant.

A TV reporter asked her ‘Do you feel that may have been over the top?’

‘No, absolutely not,’ she said.

‘If more parents did what I did, we wouldn’t have the crime we have now.

‘I hope it scared him to not play with matches or lighters again. That was the whole point of it, it was to make him afraid he was going to jail.’

Witnesses disagreed, with one neighbour bursting into tears as she recounted the incident.

‘That’s not a way to treat a child, that’s not a way to teach a lesson to a little boy,’ said the woman, in her 30s, said.

Child psychologist Omar Reiche told ABC News: ‘No matter what the details are, when
you see that picture it says so much.

‘The age at which this is being done is inappropriate. This is misguided.’

But local residents threw their support behind the mother on internet message boards.

One who called herself Kim wrote on one local paper’s website: ‘We have gotten too soft on our children and wonder why we have all the problems with crime. Good for that mom!

‘Hopefully this will teach her son a valuable lesson.. at least we are not reading about him burning his house down.’

Another reader, Renee, added: ‘I think this is a wonderful way to teach a child. Anyone
who thinks this is cruel has either never had children or have kids I would not want to meet.’

Juanita posted on another website: ‘I stand by the mother. Wasn’t it just 4 to 6 years ago that many residents in Lehigh lost their homes to fires caused by arson??

‘This happens every dry season, some kid playing with fire ends up burning acres of land.’

An editorial in a local newspaper said: ‘We sympathize with the frustration many parents and others feel about out-of-control children, and about the perceived limits on parents’ freedom to discipline.

‘Further, we do not know how far this child’s misbehaviour with the matches had gone.

‘That said, handcuffing a five-year-old in a mock arrest is extreme. Parents need other tactics to use before involving law enforcement.’

Published in: on May 24, 2010 at 10:14 am  Leave a Comment  

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