I have grappled with the answer for many years. The answer: it depends. If the person looked poor and was stealing a banana or a can of baked beans, of course I would NOT tell. If it was just a quick glimpse and I wasn’t sure, I wouldn’t say a thing. I would have to be very, very sure that the person INDEED was stealing. If I witnessed someone steal something expensive (I am not talking about a jelly bean or a piece of candy from those huge bins because even I have done that) I probably would report the person. I would also want to hide afterwards because while I am happy to right a wrong, I also don’t want to be punched in the face. I myself stole a small tube of Elmer’s Glue from the neighborhood 5 and 10 store when I was very little and my mom marched me back in there the next day to apologize and return it. Truly, it’s not worth the humiliation. At any age.
I was about 6 when I snuck the small size, plastic tube of Elmer’s Glue from Mr. Bees’ store. Why I took it I have no idea, I certainly did not crave glue. Candy I could have understood but glue? Why didn’t I just ask my mom to buy it for me? I can’t give you the answer but I can tell you it sure wasn’t worth it. My mom marched me into the store, glue in my guilty little hand and made me give it back and apologize; not an easy thing for a shy, quiet little girl to do. I learned my lesson though, my short-lived career as a thief was over.