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Lesson backfires on student

Dear Abby: I live in a dorm at a large university where a former friend, "Glen," also lives. We are no longer on speaking terms because of an incident that happened last year.

One day during pre-finals week, I left my room briefly to get something from a friend's room down the hall. I left my door unlocked because I'd be back soon. When I returned a few minutes later, my laptop, my cell phone and several books full of class notes were missing. I was distraught almost to the point of a breakdown.

Later that night, Glen knocked on my door and revealed that he had hidden the items in his room to "teach me a lesson" about not locking my door. I was speechless that a "friend" could do such a thing to me.

I notified the police and officials at the university. Glen was arrested for theft and charged with a misdemeanor. The university terminated his scholarship, and he was sentenced to community service.

Glen is now blaming me for what happened. He claims what he did wasn't really "stealing" and that I ruined his life. He's harassing me at every opportunity and spreading misinformation to my friends.

I believe I acted justly to what was plainly a case of theft. Am I wrong? How should I act in the case of Glen's current behavior?

-- Victim in Texas

Dear Victim: Your former friend appears to be emotionally disturbed. He has no one to blame but himself for what has happened to him. If you haven't already done so, warn him to stop the harassment -- and if he doesn't, report it to the authorities. And don't worry about the misinformation he is trying to spread among your friends. If they are truly your friends, they'll believe you when you tell them they're being lied to.

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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.

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