07/10/2013 05:08 pm ET Updated Jul 11, 2013

Eliza Webb, Seattle Woman, Calls Teen Thief's Mom On His Cell Phone, Arranges 'Apology Tour'

What's more cringeworthy than a drunken robbery spree? How about getting caught when one of your victims calls your mom on the cell phone you left in a car you just robbed?

That is exactly what happened recently to one would-be thief in West Seattle, Wash. Robbery victim Eliza Webb found a black cell phone in her car after a pair of teenagers broke in and took her sunglasses and running shoes. Rather than call the police, Webb searched the phone's contacts and speed-dialed "Mom."

"I said, 'This is a very uncomfortable phone call to make. I have your son’s phone and I’m missing some things out of my car and I think they might be two related items,'" Webb told ABC affiliate KOMO. "And she [the mother] was devastated."

Webb, who works with high school students, paid a visit to the teen's house and wanted to seek an alternative punishment to having him arrested, according to ABC News. At the house, she was introduced to the 19-year-old, who she said looked like he'd been crying. Webb said the teen admitted robbing 10 other cars with an accomplice after getting drunk.

The adults decided the teens should track down their other victims and go door-to-door to apologize and return items they had stolen -- a so-called "apology tour" to show them the error of their ways.

“I think bringing the police and courts into something like this can have long-term, devastating consequences for kids,” Webb told The Seattle Times. "I felt that if I could get him to own up to what he’d done and understand there were consequences, it could be a much better outcome.”



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