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Comic Book Store Owner Shows Creative Compassion Towards Teenage Thieves

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - Teenage thieves caught a break after the victim of their crime displayed some creative compassion in the way they should be punished.

Instead of jail time and a criminal record, some local teens have struck an unusual deal.

This is the story of crime and punishment; forgiving but not forgetting; creativity and compassion.

And this is the author of this tale: a comic book store owner involved in a real-life caper. Back in December someone stole Dave Downey's classic Flintstone car from right in front of his store.

"How could you have done such a thing?" said Dave.

Someone with superhero strength? After all, the car weighs a couple hundred pounds. Nope. Three teenagers took it, threw it in the back of a pickup and drove off. A few days later, they were caught and car was returned.

Thinking they made their bedrock and must now sleep in it, the teens thought they were off to jail on theft charges.

But wait.

What was their reaction when Downey said he had an idea?

"They just nodded okay," he said.

What was Downey planning to yabba-dabba do?

"They'll be wearing Flinstone garb. Right they will. Fred and Wilma and Barney," Downey says with a laugh.

Yes, the teen culprits agreed to work for Downey's comic book store this weekend. Free Comic Book Day is the busiest day of the year and they will be dressed appropriately.

Downey figures anyone who wants to steal a Flintstone car should look the part

"They'll be out front in the street holding signs that say, 'World Comic Book Day here at World's Best Comics,'" said Downey.

"So we'll have to hope this fits," said Downey.

What does fit, Downey believes, is the punishment for this crime.

"The legal system and the messiness of it, that's not always necessary. And I think this was one of those times when it just wasn't necessary," said Downey.

So inside this store filled with great stories, come Saturday, you'll find three characters whose life story is about to take a fateful turn. Hopefully the title of their book is "Lesson Learned".

The teenagers involved in the crime will work in shifts from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday.

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