Have you ever wanted to get inside the mind of a thief? What goes on in the heads of those who steal? And of particular interest, what makes a burglar return stolen goods and write an apology letter? Apologies from burglars don’t happen very often and so when they do they are bound to evoke an emotional response. This is exactly what happened at a non-profit for sexual assault victims in San Bernardino County, California at the beginning of August.
On the night of July 31st, a non-profit organization who offers counseling to sexual assault victims in San Bernardino was broken into. Using the rooftop of the building, robbers descended and lifted out laptops and computer equipment, six machines in total, from the business. Candy Stallings, who is the director of the organization, was called to the building at 4 a.m. on the morning of August the first, only to find their equipment gone. A great amount of shock and disappointment ran through her, for all the hard work that had been put into the records kept on those computers.
Imagine the day Candy spent wondering how to proceed forward with her clients and those in need without the information carefully and painstakingly stored on the hard drives of those computers. It must have been a day wrought with wonder about how to proceed and how to rebuild all that had been lost. You can imagine the great surprise and delight the following evening when Candy was called to the police station with the news that their equipment had been returned. She hurried to the clinic doors to find all of it:
“All my stuff was in front of the door. There was a shopping cart, and there were the PCs that were taken, there was the laptop — everything was there.” The most amazing and surprising thing of all was the apology letter left with the returned goods reading: (as written) “We had no idea what we were takeing. Here’s your stuff back we hope that you guys can continue to make a difference in people’s live. God bless.”
Candy Stallings became emotional, it gave her chills, as I imagine it might do to anyone standing there in similar circumstances. “We were all pretty shocked. You’ve got to be kidding me. I was in disbelief, I got chills, I got very emotional.” Even the police were moved by this happening, as apparently it does not happen very much that someone behaves this way after a crime. San Bernardino Police Lt. Paul Williams comments: “This is the first time in my career I have seen the return of stolen items. It appears the guilt of taking the property caused the return of the items.” ABC News shares video footage from the center:
It is indeed a moving story and good news to hear that someone decided their misdeed could become a good deed. And that is exactly what happened at this California clinic a few short days ago. Apologies from a burglar evoked tears of emotion and gratitude, and that just doesn’t happen enough. We could all be inspired by this story of righting a wrong and lifting another who is creating positive change instead of just taking for our own perceived needs. That’s the good news for today. Go make some more!
Written by: Stasia Bliss