Smart Car Theft Victim Finds Alleged Thief's Mom

A cellphone was accidentally left in Eliza Webb's car after alleged theft.
2:14 | 07/10/13

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Transcript for Smart Car Theft Victim Finds Alleged Thief's Mom
A real great story. A very dumb thief who picked a wise victim, which turned out to be the smartest thing he could have done. Abc's neal karlinsky has it. Reporter: Lots of people fall victims to petty crime. How many get to solve them? And then, play judge and jury. Eliza webb noticed that someone had broken into her car and stolen her things. But the chief left a cell phone behind. And gave away two more clues. That he was a teenager. And the speed dial of a listing labeled mom. Webb didn't hesitate. 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. And she was devastated. Reporter: Webb works with teenagers and didn't want to involve the police if she could find another way. We knocked on the door. And he answered. And just sort of a defeated look. He looked like he had been crying. Reporter: She found out he hit ten more unlocked cars in the same neighborhood, along with a friend. Something he blamed on a night of drinking that got out of control. After talking to the teen and his mother, who didn't want to be identified, they made a decision. He would go house-to-house, return what he had taken, and apologize is, in person, to each and every victim. I know. I know it was wrong. We're not going to do this again. I said, I hope not. Reporter: Homegrown justice, that webb things, in at least in this case, might actually help. Sometimes when you get shamed or told something wrong by somebody else, it can stick. Reporter: For "good morning america," neal karlinsky, abc news, seattle. Sparked a debate at the table. Let's just be glad he didn't steal from robin. This was a one-time thing, okay. But you know, sometimes when you let somebody off the hook, you've got to be -- he got caught or he felt bad? Exactly. She works with teens. Robin roberts. She works with teens and she thought this was the best way to do it. Let's hope he learned a

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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