I have two instances; names are changed.
A little background first: I grew up in a working class family. My parents were children of the depression, and were somewhat frugal. We had everything we needed, but not a lot of excess. My parents, especially dad, really instilled the value of a dollar in us kids. If we wanted something extra, it was on us to figure out how to pay for it. Want a nicer bicycle, or a mini bike, or gas/maintenance for the mini bike? Better earn some money. From about age 11 or 12, I had three customers whose yards I maintained, all four seasons. I also had a paper route (inherited from my older brother), and when it snowed, my friend Rob and I would wonder the neighborhoods, asking people if they wanted us to shovel. And we never named a price, we always told them to give what they felt was fair. We were never stiffed. Note that maintenance on our families yards was expected and unpaid.
First instance: I had a friend named Thomas. We met when I was about 10, and became close friends. We spent lots of time together fishing, camping, stayed at each other’s houses.
One Saturday when I was about 15, I asked if he wanted to hit the local movie theater. He agreed, so we met up. He brought his neighbor/friend, Serge, with him. I didn’t particularly like or dislike Serge. He had a mouth on him, but he didn’t really bother me. We walk to the theater, and as we are about to buy our tickets, Serge says that he doesn’t have enough money, so he’s heading home. I tell Serge that I’ll help him out, and do so. Thomas then says to Serge “See? I told you it would work out”. Thomas said to me that Serge initially didn’t want to go, due to lack of money, but Thomas told him to come along, as “Kindhearted Dave will take care of you”. I was flabbergasted. Truly. I didn’t let on, but realized that my closest friend had taken advantage of me. We drifted away after that. I never said anything to him, but it really hurt.
Second instance: I met Tim when I was in first grade (age 6). I moved across town, we didn’t stay in touch, and re-met each other when I was in sixth grade via a mutual friend, John. The three of us spent a lot of time together for the next few years, sometimes the three of us, other times just with one or the other. At the end of our Junior year of high school, my parents bought me a class ring. This surprised me, as I really didn’t think they would pay for it. I really treasured that ring. I had also bought myself a silver and turquoise ring (with my own money, of course). Nothing gaudy. And hey, this was the seventies, so it was somewhat in style.
One weekend, my parents were away, so I had Tim and John over for a couple beers, nothing wild. I took my rings off and relaxed on the couch. We hung around, shot the breeze. Then we decided to go grab something to eat at the local McDonalds. I look for my rings and can’t find them, Tim helps me look, but no luck. Oh well, I think, I must have left them elsewhere in the house.
As we’re sitting in the parking lot of McDonalds eating, I see my older brother drive in in his pickup truck. Tim and John go running up behind the truck and jump in. As they do so, I heard a metallic clang, but thought nothing of it. My brother snarled at them, they jumped out, had a good laugh, and that was that.
The next day, my brother asked me if I am missing something. I tell him about the rings. He hands them both to me, saying that they were in the bed of his truck. So I find Tim and John, tell them, and ask for an explanation. Tim said that he found my rings as we were getting ready to leave for McDonalds, put them in his pocket, with the intention to give them to me, and “forget “ about them. Sounded REALLY fishy to me, but I foolishly let it slide. After all this was my friend of several years.
Fast forward a week or two, and my rings go missing again. Same players were at my house. Now I drop my denial, and realized that Tim is not my friend, and that he very likely took them again.
A couple months later, I see Tim’s younger brother, and as we’re chatting, I noticed he’s wearing a familiar looking ring (my silver ring). He seems to be trying to keep his hand out of view, so I asked him about it. He became very nervous, stammered something about how he bought it recently, etc. Although I had no proof, I knew it was mine.
Note that Tim had taken another item of mine a couple years prior to this. After I made a fuss, the item suddenly appeared. Tim was known to steal from retail stores, but I didn’t think he would steal from a friend.
This happened about forty years ago. John remains a very close friend, and has always been trustworthy, and has had my back on numerous occasions. I dropped Tim as a friend, as he apparently never was one to begin with. Despite being quite talented (artistically) from a young age, Tim went down a self destructive path. He works in a crappy job, and spends his money on alcohol, cigarettes, drugs and hookers. I have avoided contact with him for decades.