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18 years old. What belongings are considered mine? What can be declared as stolen?

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  • 18 years old. What belongings are considered mine? What can be declared as stolen?

    Hi. I am an 18 year old from Texas. I turned 18 on October 2nd, 2019. I’ve been trying to figure out how to safely leave my home without causing drama, or leaving a trail behind for my family to follow. I would like to bring the following belongings with me when I eventually leave:
    - two laptops
    - clothes
    - jewelry
    - lotions/colognes
    - all of my holiday cards from my grandparents that I’ve received since I turned 2 years old
    - two pairs of shoes and a pair of boots
    - a hat
    - posters for various franchises
    - schoolwork (if I’m still in school when I leave)
    - art supplies (drawing paper, markers, pencils)
    - D&D memorabilia
    - misc. trinkets I’ve collected over the years
    and lastly,
    - my satchel and wallet
    I’m unsure which of these items can be considered my parents’ property and which can be considered mine. I don’t want to accidentally be a criminal and take something that technically belongs to my parents. What can be considered mine?
    I should also ask the legality of wiping my cellphone. It is in my parents’ name, fully paid for by them, but there are things on it that I don’t want them to see (such as LGBT related content, they are conservative). Can I legally wipe my cellphone and restore it to its factory settings without any issue?
    Lastly, are all of my legal documents - including my birth certificate, SSC, state ID, and other legal documents - considered mine? Can they be declared as stolen?

    Thank you for your help during this time.
    - A

  • #2

    Hello and thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. We’re happy to answer your questions to the best of our ability. We are not legal experts, though, and if you want concrete answers, you may want to reach out to your local police non-emergency number and ask them for their opinion.

    As far as we know, once you turn 18 all of your vital documents (birth certificate, social security card, state ID) are owned by you unequivocally. Your parents cannot claim your documents as stolen by you.

    With regards to other property, in our experience the police would probably consider smaller belongings such as clothing, posters, and other miscellaneous items to be matters sorted out by your family. It would be surprising if they considered that stolen or treated it as a criminal act, especially if your parents previously gave you these things. We would expect that for laptops and some jewelry the police would be similarly uninvolved. In terms of your cell phone, it should not be illegal for you to wipe the phone.

    Your best bet would be to reach out to your local police station and ask them. We would be happy to help you out and call out with you or for you if you’re interested. If you want to talk about anything else or have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to call us on our 24/7 hotline 1-800-786-2929 or chat us at

    Take care,

    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

    Tell us what you think about your experience!


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