GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – An incredible turn of events have unfolded after a shop owner began a crusade to identify the suspect who vandalized his business during an attempted break-in.
The longtime owner of the Aaron Sign Shop in Garfield Heights saw surveillance video of the suspect kicking out the glass in the front door of the business. He was so angry that he created a large wanted posted and placed it on the door that he paid $600 to repair.
On Wednesday morning, owner Jim Grenig received a call from a woman who said her son admitted that he was the vandal and wanted to apologize and make amends.
“He said ‘Mom, I did something wrong. I’m on the news. I’m afraid to even go to work,” said Grenig.
The woman brought her son to the shop and he apologized in person, explaining what led to his actions early Saturday morning.
“The young man was here in Garfield Heights at a bar Friday night where he got jumped and pistol whipped, had a little alcohol, he was discombobulated, he was hurt, wasn’t thinking right, came over, kicked the door,” said Grenig.
The shop owner says the young man’s story and his act of contrition taught him a lesson.
“I was mad. I wanted ill will, I wanted harm, I wanted retribution, I wanted this and that. You know, for all the people that I’ve known in my life before that gave me breaks, I gave this kid a break,” he said.
Grenig says the mother’s demand that her son take responsibility for his actions touched his heart.
“Oh, a lot of respect for this mom. You could tell that he loves her child, she’s concerned about him,” he said.
The mother is taking accountability to a new level. She and her son have signed a contract that stipulates he will pay for the damage he caused in monthly installments.
As part of the contract, Grenig agreed to take down the wanted poster that was on his front door since Saturday.
What started as a story about anger over a crime is teaching all of us about the power of redemption and good parenting.
“This mom took the bull by the horns and made it happen. She brought her son to me,” said Grenig.
“For this parent to do what she did, that is incredible. That is an incredible way to parent and it should be set as an example of what other parents could do as well,” Garfield Heights Mayor Matt Burke said.
Under the contract, the young man has until March to pay for the damage, but his mom believes the lesson will last a lifetime.