note-apology NJ.com

Earlier this month we wrote about a phone thief that ending up incurring the wrath of an MMA fighter during an attempted robbery. Unfortunately, phone robberies are a pretty common occurrence, so it’s no surprise to hear that another phone theft incident has made the news. This time, it wasn’t an MMA fighter that stepped in to save the day – it was (technicaly) the phone thief.

Last thursday, a man stole a phone from the owner of a Trenton, NJ welding shop. From the sounds of it, the man saw it lying on a desk or counter, and simply took it. A police report was filed, and footage of the incident was actually released to the web. Shortly after this, the phone was found on the other side of the shop’s fence, alongside an apology letter from the thief.

“I’m the one who took your phone,” the note said, “I’m in a desperate situation.” The letter went on to explain the man was out of work and had thoughtlessly nabbed the phone only thinking about the money he would have got from selling it. “I’m sorry I hurt you,” the note continues, “I’m not that type but a situation can lead some to do dumb things. I beg you with all my hear not to take this further, please. I am getting right with God again.”

On one hand, it’s great the thief returned the phone and formally apologized through the note. On the other hand, the cynic in me says he probably wouldn’t have returned it if not for the incriminating footage that was released to the public.

The owner of the shop has since said that they are no longer interested in seeing the robber punished for the crime. “We’re just glad that maybe this did change him,” said the owner and his daughter. “We’re hoping it’s a lesson learned.” Too bad for the thief, the police don’t see things the same way. “If he really would like to do the right thing, he should turn himself in to police,” said Police spokesman Lt. Stephen Varn. The search for the thief is still on, though it’s unclear what will happen to the man, as the owner appears to be dropping charges.

On one hand, it’s great the thief returned the phone and formally apologized through the note. On the other hand, the cynic in me says he probably wouldn’t have returned it if not for the incriminating footage that was released to the public. Especially, since the owner’s daughter received an anonymous call saying the thief had seen the footage and was embarrassed by it. We understand life can be difficult sometimes, but stealing another one’s property is never the answer.

What do you think? Does the thief deserve full prosecution in this situation? Had he returned it without potentially being coerced by the video footage’s existence, would he deserve more leniency? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.