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After robbing a business, one thief came to a realization, and his victims learned an important lesson.

If you have ever been unlucky enough to have been robbed, you know that the experience can leave you feeling like you lost more than just a material object. We’re often left feeling violated, with the impression that what has been taken from us is irreplaceable.

Oftentimes, the things that are stolen hold sentimental value. One man in Virginia who was a victim of theft had this experience but was shocked when the attacker delivered a special message.

How One Thief Posed as a Customer to Steal From a Music Store

music store interior
Photo by kevin laminto on Unsplash

Bill Hargis is the owner of a music store, the Music Tree, in Richmond. He has been running his store for many years and has had relationships with some of his patrons for decades. One Monday, Bill made a sale to a new customer for an $8 tambourine. When he turned his back during the transaction, the customer reached over the counter and pocketed Bill’s cell phone.

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Later, when Bill once again had his back to the customer, the man swiped a clarinet that was sitting in near the cash. The thief acted stealthily and Bill did not notice that anything was missing until he checked camera footage. 

It turns out that the clarinet that was stolen had belonged to a customer of Bill’s for over 20 years. The clarinet was very special to the customer, whose grandfather had gifted the instrument decades earlier.

The Reason a Thief Stole Items From a Store – Then Returned It

The customer was heartbroken over the stolen item, and Bill vowed to do whatever it took to get the clarinet back.

However, it turned out that Bill wouldn’t have to go very far to recover the beloved item. The police shared footage of the theft with the media, and implored the public to provide any information they had about the incident. The very next day, their pleas were answered. When Bill arrived at his store, he found that the thief had returned both the clarinet and his cellphone, along with a note.

“Please forgive … I have been victimized myself,” the note read. “My bills are piling up … my wife’s mobility is close to nothing … I’m struggling but this doesn’t give me the right to victimize anyone.”

I’m sorry … I wouldn’t want it to happen to me … shamefully I am to my grave.

The thief’s message

How a Business Owner Proved the Importance of Second Chances

the word "compassion" written on a stone bench
Photo by Dave Lowe on Unsplash

Bill Hargis was happy to have the situation resolved, but felt sad that the mysterious thief was so desperate he had turned to crime. The thief’s feelings of guilt indicated that he was just going through a hard time and was not necessarily a bad person.

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In fact, along with his note to Bill, he had left another quote trying to get his feelings across: “I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

We can all take a lesson from this story -– no matter what you do or how big the mistakes you make are, you can always repent and try to do better. 

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“We all make mistakes, everybody should be given a second chance.” – Lailah Gifty Akita