Police: Thief returns stolen goods to Richmond music store, leaves note of apology


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A thief apparently had a change of tune after police say he returned what he stole from a Richmond music store.

Police shared surveillance video on Tuesday of the man stealing a cellphone from the store’s front desk. He also stole a clarinet before ending his criminal performance, police said.

On Wednesday, the thief apparently left a bag that contained the stolen phone and clarinet outside the music store, along with a note of apology, police said.

“Thank you to all who joined the chorus and shared this story,” Richmond Police said on social media.

The apology letter — which can be found below — was eventually shared with 8News.

“It’s a little scary because you don’t think something like that could be happening so close to you,” said Bill Hargis, owner of The Music Tree.

Bill Hargis

Hargis came face-to-face with the alleged thief Monday morning when he walked in to buy a tambourine. When Hargis turned his back to check the price, the unidentified man made sure no one was looking, reached over the counter and swiped Hargis’ personal cell phone.

Then the man purposefully moves the clarinet near the door when Hargis turns his back. After a few moments, the thief picks up the clarinet and walks out of the store.

Hargis viewed the tape and told 8News “it just felt very uncomfortable watching it.”

When it was going on, I had no clue, I was oblivious to what was going on.”

The clarinet was in the shop for repairs. The musical instrument was not only expensive but a sentimental gift to the man it belonged to.

“Come to find out that the clarinet was a gift from his grandmother when he was 16 years old, 22 years ago,” Hargis said.

A day after video of the theft hit the internet, the accused thief returned the stolen items, all with a note that asked the owner for forgiveness.

“I’m just happy that he did the right thing,” Hargis said, “and realized the errors of his ways and brought it back.”


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