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Sexual Assault Center Ransacked — Then Mysteriously Repaid

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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