A burglar in the small Ontario city of Guelph has had a change of heart and has returned all the loot along with a letter of apology and $50 to repair a door broken in the heist.
The National Post says a Guelph couple discovered their digital camera and Xbox console in a plastic bag on their front porch along with a letter from the thief addressed to the "family I have wronged." The burglar says “I compromised your feelings of safety in your own home.” “I’ve been having a very tough time financially lately and I made the worst mistake of my life.” The thief had included $50 to repair the back door window screen used to get inside the home and even promised to do 15 hours of community service to "partially atone for what I've done." .
Guelph Police Sgt. Douglas Plug says, “They were surprised.”“They didn’t know their home had been violated.” He says police are still looking for the culprit but can't say whether the suspect would face criminal charges. The thief says it was the first and last time they ever did anything like this but Sgt. Pflug says “Even though they say this is the first time they’ve committed a crime, how do you know?” “But everything was returned, and that in itself is exceptional.”
The letter ends by saying, "Please find it in your hearts to forgive the stranger who harmed you."
Judy Eaton, a psychology professor at Wilfrid Laurier University tells the Vancouver Sun, the thief clearly takes responsibility and makes amends. "I think the timing is important, too. The fact that he did this the morning after committing the crime makes it appear more sincere than if he waited until it appeared that he might get caught."
Almost one year ago to the day, Guelph police found a similar note attached to items taken in a rash of car thefts. The apology was signed by “Two stupid kids” and told police the addresses of the robberies so the items could be returned.
The National Post reports that Statistics Canada recently declared Guelph, the safest city in Canada.
Full unedited text of the type-written letter:
"Dear Family I Have Wronged,
I’m the one who committed the serious crime against your family, and I want to apologize from the bottom of my heart.
I comprimised your feelings of safety in your own home and privacey and that is unforgivable. I want to promise you it was nothing person, and I didn’t go through any of your personal belongings. I’ve been having a very tough time financially and I made the worst mistake of my life.
I regretted it immediatly afterwards… I can’t put into words how sorry I am.
Please accept everything I took plus $50 for repairing the screen. I will also commit to at least 15 hours of community service to help partially atone for what I’ve done. This is the first and last time I will ever commit a crime.
If I could do more for you I would but I can’t reveal myself since getting caught would ruin my life.. Just another reason I’m so ashamed of what I’ve done.
I’ve jeopordized your peace of mind as well as my own.
Please find it in your hearts to forgive the stranger who harmed you."