Child’s Provocation of Wrath

Published 7:00 pm Saturday, February 26, 2022

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As a young uniform patrol officer, parents would publicly threaten their children with me.

They would tell their child, “he will put you in jail if you don’t behave.” I reminded those parents that it was their job to discipline their children; and that I was the child’s friend. Sadly, many of these same children would be arrested after becoming adults. Who was the blame? The parents.

I recall a particular case that I was assigned to investigate as a major crimes detective that burned into my memory. It was deplorable as it was motivated by the vengeance of an adult child-directed against his father. The crime (a severe home invasion robbery) occurred at a beautiful, single-family home in an affluent section of Fairfax County, Virginia.

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The house was owned and occupied by an unmarried, middle-aged couple I identify as Richard and Ellen. Ellen had two adolescent sons, who I will identify as Bill and Jimmy, who lived with them. Richard and Ellen were antique dealers, and the home was furnished and decorated chiefly with valuable antiques.

On the night of the crime, Richard and Ellen had gone out for the evening and had left Bill and Jimmy at home alone. Later in the evening, two masked perpetrators, who I will identify as Jason and Dennis, armed with handguns, forced entry into the residence through the front door. They were confronted by startled and frightened Bill and Jimmy. In their early 20s, Jason and Dennis pistol-whipped them and tied them up.

The two perpetrators then began removing antiques and placing them into their van, parked in front of the home. Due to the late hour and distance between residences, no one witnessed the incident or the van they were driving.

After stealing approximately $100,000 worth of antiques, Jason and Dennis left the area. Neither victim could provide any identification of the possible suspects.

Therefore, there was no information available.

Early in my investigation, I noted that Richard was highly arrogant, condescending, and self-centered.

He showed no concern for the attack and injuries sustained by Bill and Jimmy.

I issued a nationwide notification to law enforcement agencies regarding this incident and described the stolen antiques thoroughly. The investigation developed two individuals attempting to pawn valuable antiques at various locations and pawn shops from New Mexico, Dallas, Texas, throughout New York State, and Washington, DC.

Suspects were developed, and I obtained warrants for Jason and Dennis. Both were arrested. Each was charged with Armed Robbery, Felonious Assault, two counts of Abduction, and the Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony. Each fully confessed to their involvement in this crime and provided written statements. Many of the antiques were recovered with some damaged.

Jason was Richard’s son, and he hated Richard because of his treatment and the desertion of his (Jason’s) mother. He recruited Dennis to help him with the crime. Jason did not commit this crime for money but made Richard suffer in the best possible way – to take his material valuables.

When Richard found out that Jason had committed the crime, he pleaded with me not to prosecute Jason but Dennis. Richard could not understand why Jason would have done this, bragging about giving Jason a car for college to make him a “big man” on campus.

However, Jason was honest with me and willing to take whatever punishment he faced.

Money and otherworldly gifts cannot replace the love provided by parents. Colossians 3: 21 (KJV): “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”

Columnist Keith Throckmorton, Fairfax County Police, retired, can be reached at