OK, so as I understand it the conflict is among these factors:
1 – A man stole something that was not his.
2 – This man appears to be in need and cold.
3 – The vendor is careless with his goods.
4 – You reported the theft, to not much result.
And your question is, are you now responsible to do anything?
I can think of several possible responses:
A – You could go back to the vendor and tell them where he is.
B – You can say nothing, knowing that you’ve already reported it to the vendor.
C – You could confront the guy, and tell him
1 – that it is wrong to steal
2 – that he is not good at stealing, and could have been caught
3 – to put the shirt back
D – You could look for a cop, point the guy out, and tell him that the shirt was stolen and that you saw him do it.
Personally, I would choose B. Here’s why:
I’ve already reported the deed once to the vendor. If I go back there and get someone, odds are the thief will already be gone, anyway. Nor do I think that they want to reclaim the shirt, since it has been worn.
Confronting the guy is risky. I have no idea about his situation. He could be mentally ill, and by approaching him I may terrify him. Or he may be violent. Or he may be using. And again, the vendor does not want that shirt anymore. (This decision is colored by the fact that I’m a woman and conditioned to be wary of men I don’t know. It might be a different call for a man.)
Reporting to law enforcement is tempting, and were the theft anything more than food or clothing for personal consumption, I might choose that. However, the criminal justice system is not a fun place, and it’s already overcrowded. But the guy was cold, he stole a cheap sweatshirt that was put in a very tempting location.
So yeah, I’d say nothing in this case. But it would bother me, too. 3 weeks ago