RSS
8 curiously thoughtful thieves
Returning what they stole? Paying for what they broke? Some people are just not cut out for robbery
After charging $2,500 to his victim's credit card, one suspected burglar reportedly sent a bouquet of flowers and a note of thanks.
After charging $2,500 to his victim's credit card, one suspected burglar reportedly sent a bouquet of flowers and a note of thanks.
Thinkstock/iStockphoto

1. Making good on delivery promises
After allegedly stealing a Chinese food delivery truck recently, a Connecticut man didn't just drive off. He continued to make the food deliveries. Sure, he pocketed the cash, but how happy were those customers? Happier than the suspect, certainly. Once police realized what was happening, they simply waited for the suspect at the next stop on the restaurant's delivery list, where he was arrested on larceny charges.

2. Returning a stolen diploma
On March 11, a recent university graduate was walking down a busy street in China's Guangdong province when her purse was snatched by a person on a passing motorbike. The student was now without her phone, wallet, and university diploma. Distraught, the girl used another phone to call her mobile, but no one picked up. Instead, moments later, she received a text message that read: "Where should I put the diploma for you to pick up? I don't want to affect your future. Don't call the police, I'll send you a message after I've placed it. Please forgive a person without a home." The girl was able to recover both her diploma and her phone and said she was happy to have encountered a "kind-hearted robber."

3. Breaking in and cleaning up
Also in March: A few towns in Ohio were hit with a rash of break-ins. However, the suspect didn't take anything but dust bunnies and trash, leaving immaculate homes in her wake. Reportedly desperate for money, Susan Warren, the so-called "Cleaning Fairy," broke into homes, vacuumed, cleaned, and organized, and left a $75 bill, handwritten on a napkin, along with her contact info. Warren was eventually picked up by authorities.

4. Breaking in and begging for forgiveness
In August, a suspected robber in Canada broke into a home in Guelph, Ontario, while the owners were out for a walk, stealing their video game console and digital camera. The people didn't realize they had been robbed until the next morning when, outside their front door, they found a bag containing the stolen items, a note of apology, and an extra $50 to repair the screen door that was busted during the break-in. In the lengthy letter, the suspect asked for forgiveness and also promised to "commit to at least 15 hours of community serve to help partially atone" for his actions. It should come as no surprise, then, that the town of Guelph was recently voted the safest city in Canada.

5. Stealing from the (credit) rich, and giving to the (gas) poor
In December 2011, a thrifty Texas man allegedly pilfered a credit card from the back of a car near Fort Worth. The suspect took the card to a neighboring Sam's Club and purchased gas for as many as 30 people, some of whom appeared to be friends, according to surveillance tapes. The young Texan continued on to Walgreens and Walmart, where he kept his purchases practical, buying only mouthwash, allergy medicine, socks, and underwear.

6. Sending a thank-you note
In 2011, Stephanie Marisca, of Narragansett, R.I., had her credit card stolen and nearly $2,500 charged to her account. A few weeks after the account was closed by the bank, Marisca received a surprising, if unwelcome gift — a bouquet of flowers and a hand-written note that read, "thnx for ur money."

7. Paying back your victim — and then some
In 2010, 26-year-old Simone Crewe allegedly posed as a window cleaner to gain easy access to an 85-year-old woman's home. The young Brit reportedly made off with the woman's purse and about $250. But in the end, wracked with guilt, Crewe not only returned the retiree's cash, but also added a $60 bonus and a letter of apology that contained his name and phone number, which inevitably led to his arrest. 

8. Running the victim's errands
Considerate thieves aren't an entirely new phenomenon. All the way back in 1957, after a Los Angeles man had his camera and some letters stolen out of his car, he realized one important, time-sensitive check was missing: A $14 payment for a tax assessment. When he called the city treasurer's office to notify them that his payment would be delayed, he found out that his stolen check had already arrived in the mail — presumably courtesy of a thoughtful thief.

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week