It’s rare to read a burglary story and applaud the robbers, but this tale of remorse and redemption is one that will maybe brighten your day just a little bit.
A story that starts with the robbery of the San Bernardino Sexual Assault Services building in San Bernardino, California doesn’t sound like one with a reasonably happy ending.
Here’s how it went down. Candy Stallings, the center’s head, received a call from police in San Bernardino on July 31 that alarms in the building had been tripped after hours.
The San Bernardino Sexual Assault Services building has no identifying signs, due to the nature of client it services and potential issues of safety for victims. Stallings says that when police arrived, they discovered that six PCs and other valuables — items the center could ill afford to replace — had been lifted.
Hours later, she received another call — that the building had again been broken into. Had the thieves returned?
Yes, and in their wake, a shopping cart with all the purloined goods had been returned to the organization, with a note. It read, spelling intact:
“We had no idea what we’re takeing. Here your stuff back. We hope that you guys can continue to make a difference in people’s lives. God bless.”
The gravity of the decision wasn’t lost on Stallings, who says:
“We were all pretty shocked. You’ve got to be kidding me. I was in disbelief. I got chills. I got very emotional.”
She later added:
“We’re still in shock. I know they committed a crime, but the compassion that they showed is really overwhelming.”
Stallings credits transient residents outside the building for advocating for the organization and prompting the sexual assault center’s robbers to return the stolen and much needed goods.
While the robbery wasn’t without cost to the center — around $1,000 in damage was done — Stallings and staff were still moved by the events. And the San Bernardino Sexual Assault Services center now has their own note, displayed in the window of the building: “thank you for caring.”