Chris Melton’s 14-year-old daughter and her cousin are learning at an early age about the old saying, “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.”
Melton, of Albany, got a call last week from Target that the girls were caught stealing CDs. As the beginning of their punishment, he is making them stand out on the street with large signs saying, “I got caught stealing.”
He and the girls were at the intersection of Geary Street and 14th Avenue Monday afternoon, and he was planning to have them stand somewhere along Pacific Boulevard this afternoon. He said this will continue for a few more days.
“I feel the punishment should be 10 times worse than the crime,” said Melton, 31, an auditor with Oregon Freeze Dry. “That way, down the road, when they’re faced with a decision to do right or wrong, they’ll choose to do the right thing.”
Melton said passersby called him names a few times Monday, but others voiced their agreement with him while the Democrat-Herald spoke with him.
The girls wore hoods and sunglasses. Melton did not give their names, but he said the parents of the cousin agreed with what he was doing.
When they’re not standing out there, Melton said, the girls are basically under house arrest. His daughter’s room now has nothing but her bed and clothing, and she’s allowed only to “eat, sleep, write and go to the library” for the next 30 days.
The cousin is under the same house arrest, at Melton’s house, when she’s not working. He said the girls understand why they’re being punished and they’re remorseful, but he did not let the newspaper speak with them.
“If more parents did this, a lot of teenagers would have different attitudes,” he said. “As a young kid, I was in trouble, and I was taught. I haven’t been in trouble now since I was 16.”
Target also called Albany Police, and Melton said the case will be prosecuted in juvenile court.