What could be worse than getting a phone call from the police at night? Two phone calls. That’s what happened to Cindy Stallings, executive director of San Bernardino Sexual Assault Services, a California agency that assists victims of sexual violence. And—except for having her sleep interrupted—she’s happy about what happened.
On July 31, police called Stallings to say that burglars had broken into the nonprofit agency. When she arrived, she saw that burglars had taken six computer towers, a laptop, computer speakers, children’s books, and 100 bags of candy. They had also cut the building’s telephone wires.
When the police were finished at 2 AM, Stallings wearily returned home—only to be awakened at 4 AM by another phone call from the police. Her heart sank when she picked up the phone. “This is too much,” she thought. “We are not going to recover from this.”
But this time the news was good: All the stolen items had been returned. Police found them piled into a shopping cart in front of the building, along with an ungrammatical but heartfelt note:
“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.”
No one knows what caused the change of heart. Police say that news may have spread while they were questioning potential witnesses.
Stallings is happy and grateful. “I got chills when I saw the note,” she said. “I was teary eyed, and I had so many mixed emotions.”
Police said they are continuing to investigate the burglary, and the perpetrators would still face charges if they are caught.
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Jean Reynolds, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus of English at Polk State College, where she taught report writing and communication skills in the criminal justice program. She is the author of nine books, including Police Talk (Pearson), and she publishes a Police Writer Newsletter. Visit her website at www.YourPoliceWrite.com for free report writing resources. Go to www.Amazon.com for a free preview of her book The Criminal Justice Report Writing Guide for Officers. Dr. Reynolds is the police report writing expert for Law Enforcement Today.