Sexual Assault Center Ransacked — Then Mysteriously Repaid

Last week, burglars broke into the San Bernardino County Sexual Assault Services office and stole the nonprofit's computers. The next day, everything that had been taken was returned in a shopping cart with a curious note. Melissa Block and Audie Cornish have more.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


Last week under cover of night, burglars broke into an office building in San Bernardino, California.

CANDY STALLINGS: It was about 10:30 on July 31st, and I received a call from my alarm company.

BLOCK: That's Candy Stallings. She's executive director of San Bernardino County Sexual Assault Services. The office of her nonprofit organization was a wreck - desks smashed; papers and files all over the floor; and six desktop computers and one laptop were gone. The very next morning, Stallings received another call, this time from the police.

STALLINGS: Candy, can you come out? We've had some suspicious activity happening. And I want you to see this.

BLOCK: Stallings drove back to the office, preparing for the worst, thinking...

STALLINGS: This is crazy, we're never going to be able - you know, they came back in, took the rest of everything else we might have had. But I just felt like so down. I was just like I'm done, this is just too much.

BLOCK: But when she got there, she learned that all seven computers had been returned in a shopping cart by the door.

STALLINGS: And then one of the officers opened up the computer laptop, and inside was a handwritten note of apology.

BLOCK: And here's what the letter said:

STALLINGS: We had no idea what we were taking. Here, your stuff back. We hope that you guys can continue to make a difference in people's lives. God bless.

BLOCK: Candy Stallings was shocked by the gesture. She says it was an emotional roller coaster. Just a few hours earlier, she thought the nonprofit had lost everything.

STALLINGS: But somebody that really needed that stuff and robbed our building brought it back.

BLOCK: Stallings was unable to keep the original note of apology, law enforcement collected it as evidence. But she says she plans to frame a copy of the letter and hang it in her office.



This is NPR News.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.