ELYRIA, Ohio – People in Elryia, Ohio were greeted with an unusual sight Thursday morning: A little boy, holding a sign, at the intersection of Broad Street and East Avenue.
“I like to steal and have no respect for my mother or authority,” recited 12-year-old Trezhan Blaha, of Elyria, when asked what his sign said.
As punishment for stealing a phone and bracelet from the mall, Trezhan’s mother and uncle decided on unique parenting.
“We thought a little public acknowledgement, a little public embarrassment might help a little bit,” said Trezhan’s uncle, Ricard Pamplin.
And apparently it did.
“It’s really embarrassing because I don’t really feel that comfortable standing here holding a sign that says I like to steal,” said Trezhan.
A sign that literally stopped traffic downtown.
“When I was growing up, they’d beat the hell out of me,” laughed Michael Walker, who watched from the street.
“He’s awfully young, and he’s got his whole life ahead of him,” added John Fath, a passerby.
In addition to the stealing, Pamplin says Trezahn was suspended from Northwood Elementary School one week ago for fighting.
This is his second day of standing outside in the sun.
“Instead of him sitting inside at home sleeping all day, he’ll be standing right here. If I gotta go to work, so does he. He’s working on embarrassing my sister, and now he’s working on paying his crime,” said Pamplin.
And as if a sign wasn’t enough, Trezhan was forced to do a walk of shame down the street.
“Maybe this will help! Specially, if his friends see this on the news; they will be razzing him forever about this stuff man!” laughed Walker.
Tough love for little Trezhan. And hopefully, lesson learned.
“I’m not gonna do this no more. My mom is showing me that she love me, and don’t want me to go to jail and be out here on the streets,” said Trezahn.
This story was provided by reporter Melissa Reid with news-gathering partner WJW in Cleveland, Ohio.