She took it. She was not retrieving a lost possession. She sneaked into an empty classroom and took it. It was not hers, but she put it in her pocket. She kept it there, hidden.
The class went out to recess. She showed it to some friends, making sure the teacher didn’t see. She added lying to her offenses. The others knew she shouldn’t have it out of her backpack at school, but no one said anything. Now she had accomplices.
Back in class, the jig was almost up. A choo-choo sound was heard once. But it stopped. The teacher passed it off as something someone had stowed in their backpack. Supposed to be off during school hours, but allowed.
After school, it was still in her pocket. She went to daycare. She must have thought she had pulled it off. She took it out of her pocket. This time, she wasn’t even being sneaky. But the adult in charge knew she had never had it before. He took it away. He called the school. It took very little investigation to discover the owner and piece the story together.
She kept lying. Even when the accomplices admitted their part. Until they played back the hallway security video that showed her entering and leaving the empty classroom. (She had been on her way to the classroom where she is a teacher’s helper in the mornings before school when she took her fateful detour.) She was caught, but still defiant. Seemingly sorry only to be caught.
When the smart phone was returned to its owner, she had left a “selfie” in the picture file.
She is only nine years old.