updated 1/17/2008 10:26:51 PM ET 2008-01-18T03:26:51

Boomerangs really do come back — even after 25 years. Officials in an Australian Outback town were surprised when a boomerang — an angled throwing stick traditionally used by Aborigines as a hunting weapon — arrived in the mail.

Along with it was a note from a guilt-ridden American who said he stole it years earlier from a museum in the mining town of Mount Isa and now felt rotten about it.

"I removed this back in 1983 when I was younger and dumber," said the note, according to Mount Isa Mayor Ron McCullough. "It was the wrong thing to do, I'm sorry, and I'm going to send it back," said the note.

The boomerang was stolen from the now-closed Frank Aston Underground Museum, which once displayed old mining equipment and Aboriginal artifacts.

McCullough on Thursday named the contrite thief as Peter from Vermont but said it would be unfair to release his full identity.

McCullough said the parcel was sent to the location of the old museum, now a paper manufacturing plant and community center, and was then handed to the Mount Isa council. He declined to reveal the value of the donation.

McCullough said the boomerang would be returned to its rightful owner, if he could be found.

Boomerangs come in returning and non-returning varieties. A typical returning boomerang, when thrown properly, can travel 25 to 50 yards in the air before returning to the thrower.

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