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Thieves Return Stolen Items to Non-Profit After Burglary

burglarapologyThieves With Consciences Return Items to Non-Profit Just Hours After Burglary

On Friday, August 2nd, a California non-profit that helps victims of sexual assault became the victims of a burglary. However, just two hours later, the stolen items were returned with an apology note.

The note reads: “We had no idea what we were taking. Here is your stuff back. We hope that you guys continue to make a difference in people’s lives. God bless.”

“I got chills when I saw the note,” San Bernardino Sexual Assault Services Executive Director Candy Stallings told ABCNews.com. “I was teary eyed, and I had so many mixed emotions.”

“A police officer I was with at the time said they had never seen anything like this in the 20 years they were on the force,” Stallings added. “We were shocked, completely shocked.”

At 10:30 PM on Friday, August 2nd, Stallings received a call from the alarm company that the motion detectors in their office had been triggered and set off the alarm. She said that Sexual Assault Services had never had a burglary before, because everyone was very careful to lock doors and windows at the end of the day.

Police were already on the scene tracking the burglars when she arrived. Inside, she found that phone wires had been cut, Internet connection was down, and six computer towers, a laptop, laptop speakers, children’s books, and 100 bags of small candy had been stolen.

The burglary investigation concluded at 2 AM, and Stallings went home. Two hours later, she got another call from the police.

“I got a call from San Bernardino Police directly, who said, ‘Candy, can you please come back down? We have some suspicious activity,’” she said. “And I was thinking to myself, ‘This is too much. We are not going to recover from this.’ The officer who was monitoring the building after the robbery noticed a shopping cart in front of the door filled with what I initially thought were additional items.

“When I looked inside the cart I thought, ‘These are our items that they had taken before. This doesn’t make any sense. Why would they bring it back?’” Stallings said. “And then, an officer found the note inside the laptop as he was taking fingerprints.

“I started thinking that even though I was upset with the damage they caused inside, because it was very costly, I just thought sometimes people make bad choices and it was compassion that brought those items back to us,” she said. “I’ve been at this agency for 26 years and we have never ever had something that touched us like this.”

Authorities determined that the thieves entered from a small hole in the roof, to avoid breaking windows or damaging doors. No burglary suspects have been apprehended yet, but the investigation is not concluded.

“They still committed the crime and it is still considered a burglary,” San Bernardino Police Department Sgt. Vicki Cervantes told ABCNews.com. “It doesn’t negate that. There may be a lessened sentence, but the crime and charges are still the same.”

“Our building does not have our full name on it, so it is likely the thieves wouldn’t know what we do here,” Stallings said. “But when they found out, they obviously changed their minds and decided to return the stolen items.

“Most of the time, individuals don’t pay attention to services like sexual assault unless you’ve been touched by the crime, or received service yourself or have been in contact with someone who has been victimized,” she said. “These individuals felt compelled to give back for some reason. And, of course, I don’t know officially, but that’s my gut feeling that they were close to the cause. It was a terrible night, but it ended in disbelief. We are thankful everything has been returned.”

The Strom Law Firm Defends Against Burglary Charges in South Carolina

If you or a loved one have received burglary charges, or other criminal charges, in South Carolina, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We offer free, confidential consultations, so do not hesitate to contact us. 803.252.4800