Burglars return stolen computers to nonprofit -- with apology

Burglars who stole computers from an office building returned the items – along with a letter of apology – after apparently realizing they had ransacked a nonprofit that helps victims of sexual violence.

The thieves broke into the San Bernardino County Sexual Assault Services office on the night of July 31, police said. They apparently came in through the ceiling about 10 p.m. and hurriedly took several computer towers and monitors, along with a laptop.

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Police arrived and summoned the nonprofit's executive director, Candy Stallings.

"One of the officers had talked to some transients around the street about what was going on. He was telling them about what we do," Stallings said.

The following morning about 4:30 a.m., Stallings said she got another call from police about suspicious activity taking place at her office.

This time when Stallings arrived, she was astonished by what she found.

"All my stuff was in front of the door," Stallings said. "There was a shopping cart, and there were the PCs that were taken, there was the laptop - everything was there."

An investigator who was about to dust the laptop for fingerprints opened it and found a note tucked inside.

"We had no idea what we were takeing. Here your stuff back we hope that you guys can continue to make a difference in peoples live. God bless," said the note with misspellings.

"We were all pretty shocked," Stallings said. "You've got to be kidding me. I was in disbelief, I got chills, I got very emotional."

Some of the officers were surprised, too.

"This is the first time in my career I have seen the return of stolen items," said San Bernardino Police Lt. Paul Williams. "It appears the guilt of taking the property caused the return of the items."

Stallings said the note was taken as evidence. She said she made a photo copy of it and plans to frame it.