Aunt Dragged for Pinning Theft on 5-Year-Old: 'Barely Knows What Money Is'

Commenters were outraged after one mother explained why her 5-year-old daughter was accused of stealing money in front of her entire family.

In a viral Reddit post published on r/AmITheA**hole, an anonymous Redditor (otherwise referred to as the original poster, or OP) said she was shocked by the allegations but was able to rectify the situation after extra evidence unearthed the petty crime's true culprit.

Titled, "[Am I the a**hole] for publicly shaming my aunt after she tried to pin something on my daughter?" the since-deleted post has received nearly 9,000 upvotes and 500 comments.

"Last night we had a family get together at my great-aunt 'Laurie's' house," OP began. "We were all...enjoying our evening...when Laurie pulls me aside to tell me that my daughter 'Anna' tried to steal money from her bedroom."

After asking for more details about the alleged theft, the original poster quickly became suspicious after learning that her daughter was caught and reprimanded by her other aunt "Jessica," who OP said "has a history of stealing."

"I immediately knew that Jessica tried to steal the money, and pinned it on my daughter while trying to hid from me," OP wrote.

Midway through her tense conversation with Laurie, the original poster said she began to speak loudly enough for the entire family to hear—and sternly enough to convince her family that her daughter was innocent after all.

"I said, 'Aunt Laurie, I'm betting it was Jessica who stole your money,'" OP wrote. "'She has been fired for her job for stealing cash...she's stolen money from her [mother-in-law's] room...money from my room, and now it seems like she's continued the pattern. My daughter would never steal money. She barely even knows what money is.'

"Jessica didn't even deny or say anything, she just started crying and left," OP continued. "Her husband started breaking down crying and...told us all that this has happened many more times.

"I just got a call from another aunt's husband [and] he told me Jessica DID THE SAME EXACT THING TO ME WHEN I WAS A KID!" OP added. "I am f**king livid."

If catching a relative stealing money is already devastating for families, catching a relative stealing money because they framed a kindergarten-aged child is even worse, and a likely indicator of something more sinister.

Kleptomania, defined as "the recurrent inability to resist urges to steal," is a serious mental health disorder capable of causing severe emotional pain to those who have it and their loved ones, according to the Mayo Clinic.

A rare disorder, there is no exact data to show how many in the United States are diagnosed with kleptomania each year, but estimates published by the National Library of Medicine show that approximately 6 of every 1,000 Americans exhibit behavior consistent with the disorder.

However, Healthline and other online health resources assert that kleptomania is most often associated with stealing "unneeded" items, rarely for profit and rarely financial.

Stealing money, especially from family, is a different story.

Stealing money
Members of Reddit's r/AmITheA**hole forum were shocked after one woman explained how she turned the tables on her thieving aunt. Andrey Zhuravlev/iStock / Getty Images Plus

Throughout the comment section of the viral Reddit post, Redditors slammed the original poster's aunt for stealing cash from a family member—and for presenting fabricated evidence against a 5-year-old to cover her tracks—while commending OP for bringing the thievery to light for everyone to see.

"[Not the a**hole]," Redditor u/strangespecies wrote in the post's top comment, which has received more than 9,000 upvotes. "She tried to pin her criminal behavior on a child and got called out."

"She's been doing this for 20 years AT LEAST and no one else has said anything?!" Redditor u/Phoenix-Vixen added, receiving more than 3,000 upvotes. "Good on you for calling her out."

Redditor u/Applesintheorchard, whose comment has received more than 2,000 upvotes, echoed that sentiment.

"[Not the a**hole]," they wrote. "She tried to pin a theft on your five year old child. That's messed up."

"That is grounds for being called out publicly," Redditor u/kylesowl chimed in. "The other people in your family also deserve to know they might be stolen from."