I write this as a regretful individual hoping to instill in others a fear of the law and the awareness to do what is right.
What started as a simply part-time job turned into a multi-thousand dollar theft.
It wasn’t a one-time hit but a gradual process.
The theft occurred over several months of strategic planning and techniques to ensure we would not be caught, but no matter how hard we wanted it to stay a secret, it was inevitable that we would have to pay for what we had done.
Eventually we were found out, arrested, and sent to spend a night in cells.
Each of us had a cell to ourselves, completely isolated. The only human communication we felt during that time was answering questions from police officers and hearing the shouting of other prisoners.
When all you have around you in a small stone room is a bench made of rock and a body pillow whose past you would rather remain ignorant to, you have some time to think. Of course, that’s assuming you can think over the shouting of faceless, nameless voices of the other prisoners who fill your ears as they project themselves in an effort to make things as uncomfortable as possible. I have had some awful experiences in my life, but that night was by far the worst of them. It doesn’t go away either.
I still remember what that cell looked like. I remember how uncomfortable the other voices made me, and I think about what happened every single day, all the while wondering, “what if I had just said no?” But it’s too late for me.
I am a person who learns from experience, and I write this in the hope that you may learn from my mistake instead of making your own.
It doesn’t matter if you think you can get away with breaking the law. What matters is making the decision to say no if you know that it’s wrong.
I failed to make the correct decision and I continue to pay the price for it,
Don’t make the same mistake I did. Just say no.
Editor’s note: This letter was written by a participant of the Restorative Justice program who agreed to write the letter as part of his/her sanctions.
The writer’s name has been withheld because it is a condition of publishing this letter.
The Tribune doesn’t typically run unsigned letters to the editor but makes a special exception for the program.