1The thief who returned stolen laptop contents on USB stick
The professor had left his bag containing the laptop hidden behind a door in his apartment stairwell while he went into the building's laundry room. When he emerged a short time later, the bag had gone. It was returned shortly after, without the laptop. However, a week after the theft, the professor received a USB stick containing all the documents - which would have taken several hours to download again. (Source)
2The robber who beat retreat after children offered savings
Police did not release the ages of the children in order to protect them from being identified, but did say they were both younger than seven. (Source)
3The thief who turned in cell after finding child porn
Ballarat, Australia, magistrate Michelle Hodgson was blown away by the thief's willingness to face charges, so that he could help bring down the man who had child pornography on his phone. She wanted the Good Samaritan thief to be publicly recognized for his deed.
The man was given one month in jail and a fine for his crimes, but his assistance led to bringing down a man who had committed a much greater crime. (Source)
4The robber who returned stolen car to chastise parent after finding baby inside
A Houston woman, 22, and her boyfriend took the child fishing with them where a rock pier juts into the Gulf of Mexico. After taking all their equipment to the fishing spot, the woman decided the weather was too cold for her 2-year-old boy. She went back to the car, seated the child inside and left the heater going, and then went to help her boyfriend with the fishing equipment. The woman planned to leave the child in the car only long enough to retrieve the fishing equipment.
Police suspect a homeless man was watching the couple and saw an opportunity to take the car. The man got in the car and drove off. After a few blocks, he turned around and came back. When the man got out of the gray Mitsubishi Eclipse, the woman asked, “What the hell are you doing?” That's when the burglar decided to reprimand her for leaving her kid unattended in the car. The woman called the police but the suspect had fled, escaping capture. (Source)
5The thief who returned terminally ill woman's camera
Then something remarkable happened. A few days after the story aired, WFAA reporter Jim Douglas got a call from a man who told him to look behind a red car in the station's parking lot. The caller didn't leave his name; he said only that he felt bad about the incident and wanted to return the camera. (Source | Via)
6The Santa-stealing thief who returned decoration with apology note
7The thief who returned stolen jewelry after 10 years
“The thief left a letter in the bag saying he was sorry and asking the man to forgive him,” Sabq News said in a report from the western town of Taif. “He also said that he was in need when he stole the jewelry but decided to return them because he no longer needs money after his financial position improved…he said he considered the gold as a trust returning to its owner.” The paper said the thief returned all the jewelry and “this means the man will make a big profit since gold prices have largely risen in 10 years.” (Source)
8The compassionate thief who returned stolen car after receiving a call from owner
The butcher from Mauá in São Paulo called his own cell phone number after his car was stolen with his cell phone still inside. The thief answered and listened to the emotional man on the other side of the line. The butcher pleaded with him to return the $2250 car.
Not only did he pick up the phone, but he heard the owner's emotional plea. The owner explained he was having financial problems and that the car was the only thing he had. The soft-hearted robber got emotional too and told him to go to a parking lot to get his car back. (Source)
9The thieves who hand back a £2.75 million painting after failing to sell it on black market
But two years later, they contacted art expert, Janpiet Callens, to hand back the piece that depicts the artist's wife Georgette, which no one would buy. (Source | Via)
10The robber who returned stolen urn that held husband's ashes
A local pastor said she saw a box, when she went into her office in the Salvation Army. Inside it, there was a wallet with the victim's ID, a purse, some old jewelry, a white cane and at the bottom was the puck-shaped silver urn. When the widow received it, she was overjoyed. (Source)