In a move worthy of Robin Hood, a group of robbers returned goods they plundered from an office building after learning that it was a Sexual Assault Services office.
According to NBC News, the repentant burglars broke into the unmarked office building in San Bernardino, Calif., around 10 p.m. July 31. San Bernardino police said the thieves lowered themselves in through the ceiling and snatched computers, monitors and one laptop before making their escape.
Candy Stallings, the nonprofit’s executive director, said she was called over when police arrived at the scene and she began talking about the operation’s mission. The organization, which an annual budget near $1 million, received a commendation from former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In an interview with the Daily Bulletin, Stallings said her mission for the center was to end sexual violence. "If you work at a center like this and you don't think you can accomplish that, you need to leave,” she said.
As Stallings was talking to police at the scene, she noticed some homeless people on the street talking to officers about the organization. "One of the officers had talked to some transients around the street about what was going on. He was telling them about what we do," she said.
Hours later, Stallings received a call from the police department alerting her to strange activity at the office. But when she returned she was startled to find all of the stolen wares sitting out in front.
"All my stuff was in front of the door," Stallings said. "There was a shopping cart, and there were the PCs that were taken, there was the laptop -- everything was there."
Before the police investigator could dust the objects for fingerprints the pair noticed a note folded into the parcel. It read: "We had no idea what we were takeing. Here your stuff back we hope that you guys can continue to make a difference in peoples live. God bless. [sic]”
"We were all pretty shocked," Stallings said. "You've got to be kidding me. I was in disbelief, I got chills, I got very emotional."
Stallings wasn’t the only one who was shocked by the outcome. "This is the first time in my career I have seen the return of stolen items," San Bernardino Police Lt. Paul Williams said. "It appears the guilt of taking the property caused the return of the items."
Although Stallings wasn’t able to keep the note – police took it in for evidence -- she said she hopes to frame a photo copy she made.
If the burglars are identified they will still be held accountable for $1,000 in building repairs.