Suspect my teenaged son is stealing
My son is 13 and we suspect he is stealing. Last year his cousin's mother caught him taking money from her wallet, he claimed he thought the wallet was his cousins and was only playing around. We had a discussion on trust and how important it is to never ever take something that isn't ours and we punished him by grounding him for a few weeks.
Lately we've noticed he's been 'finding' things, small toys and so on. Just this weekend he bought himself and his brother each a chocolate bar. The problem with this is, just days before he claimed to be broke when he was in town with his father and then after we asked how he could buy chocolate bars, he said he had money hidden away. What worries us is he had just returned from a friends house. We are both terrified that he took the money from the friend or his parents. The last thing we want to do is accuse him, but what can we do to make sure he's not stealing? What we have come up with is to give him his allowance in smaller amounts but more often so that he's still getting the same amount monthly.
My son is a nice person, good to his brother and respectful at home, I'm just worried that if we don't see the bad behaviour at home, we'll never be able to correct it. I'm scared to death to let him go to friends houses, and I worry that giving him access to more spending money won't be enough and this behavior will continue.
Any advice would be appreciated.