Rhode Island teen caught stealing from marked police car; Family not pleased with department's Facebook joke

If you do something stupid, are people allowed to call you stupid? My dad, in his Red Forman wisdom, would say yes. Believe me I heard it a lot growing up. And not always so politely put. 

But let's be more specific. If you do something stupid, like trying to steal hubcaps and a siren control box from a marked police car, in front of an onlooking policeman, in the police station parking lot... are the police allowed to call you stupid? I think so. Red Forman thinks so. The brother of the 18-year-old Rhode Island man caught doing just that doesn't think so. 

"Shawn is a good kid," Shawn Bartis' older brother, Joe, told NBC 10 News. "He's still in high school. He made a mistake. Shawn has an obsession with certain things."

Shawn has an old police car according to his brother Joe, which would explain his obsession with the items he was supposedly trying to steal off an actual police car. 

However, Shawn's brother takes exception to the Warwick Police Department's public comments about the arrest of Bartis and his 17-year-old accomplice. 

The situation itself - detectives catching teenagers stealing items from a marked police car in their own parking lot - is funny enough, however, the Warwick Police Department decided to inject just a little additional humor in the situation when they recounted the story on their Facebook page with the Forrest Gump headline of "Stupid is as stupid does." They also attached Bartis' mugshot to the post. 

Bartis' brother was not pleased. 

"Saying he's stupid - you don't do things like that. You don't say things like that. It's totally wrong what they did," Joe told NBC 10.

*Side note: If I'm ever caught committing a stupid crime, I fully expect to be labeled as stupid. Thankfully, I haven't been caught yet... I mean... I haven't committed any stupid crimes... I mean I have committed any crimes. That's it. Sometimes I'm labeled as stupid and I didn't even commit a crime. You might be reading this article right now and thinking that. If so, I'm sorry. You can stop reading at any time. 

However, as I said, Shawn's brother - and apparently a few other folks online (Online. Where everyone is offended.) - didn't think it was funny. After some backlash, the police department deleted the Gump quote and added: ""In the interest of not besmirching a young man for his mistake, the picture and jocularity has been removed." 

It's 2016 now. Can we all make a resolution not to be offended by everything? That's so 2015. 

If nothing else, it gave the police department a great opportunity to use "besmirching" and "jocularity" in a sentence. Nice work! 

The department also said going forward, they will make sure anything posted to their page is "professional." Since when did quoting Forrest Gump become unprofessional? Stealing is unprofessional, and stealing from a marked police car is just... stupid. I'm sorry Shawn's brother, there's just no other word for it. 

And for hubcaps? For a Crown Vic? How much can those be worth? Hang on, I'll check. 

I found a set of 4 for $45 plus $15 S +H on Ebay. Pretty sweet deal Shawn! And buying those won't get you arrested or your face plastered on your local police department's Facebook page. 

"He was with the wrong person and he was doing the wrong thing," Joe told NBC 10. "Obviously, he was doing the wrong thing. But for the police to put him on the spot like that and throw his face out on Facebook is totally wrong. It's totally wrong. What's that going to do for his future?"

Shawn's imminent future includes facing misdemeanor charges of Larceny and Tampering with an Automobile. 

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