Why a Pinson man who caught a suspected car thief decided not to press charges

Trying to make a positive difference

PINSON, Ala. (WBRC) - A Pinson man caught a teenager breaking into his car, but he did not get the police involved. The man spoke to WBRC about what he did do instead.

Brandon Lawrence said he did not press charges because he wanted to help the teen change his life.

“My first thought was, if they see him, he’s going to get shot by the police or he’s going to jail and his whole future’s going to be messed up,” said Lawrence.

Just before 5:30 Monday morning, Lawrence said he and his family were asleep when they got a notification from their home surveillance system. The cameras caught a person, appearing to try to break into their cars.

“They were pulling on the door handles of the cars and that’s what alerted us,” said Lawrence.

There were two teenagers who, according to Lawrence, appeared to be 13 or 14 years old. He said one of the teens was at his house. The other teen pulled on car doors at a neighbor’s house across the street.

We blurred one of the teens faces to protect his identity.

Lawrence said his mom called police, scared for his dad who ran after the pair. According to Lawrence, his father chased the pair down the street, running one of them out of his Nike slides.

By the time the police arrived, the teens had run off. The family decided not to press charges, so Sheriff’s deputies did not pursue them.

Instead, Lawrence posted the pictures to Facebook to ask if anyone knew the teen because he wanted to help.

“I was trying to help him to see if he needed food or whatever because from my experience with my cousins, who have done things like that, they were hungry or needed money,” explained Lawrence.

He was quickly connected with the teen’s mom, who he said thanked him and his family for not hurting her son and giving him a second chance.

The teen has since been connected with a mentor and hopefully a better path.

Lawrence hoped others learn a lesson.

“He could’ve knocked on the door and asked to do a favor and we would’ve paid him,” said Lawrence.

Neither of the teens got away with anything because all the car doors were locked.

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