1The thief who returned stolen laptop contents on USB stick
A thief stole a university professor's laptop, and then returned the contents on a USB memory stick. The professor, who teaches at Umeå University in northern Sweden, was devastated when his laptop, containing ten years of work, was stolen.
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.
2The robber who beat retreat after children offered savings
An armed robber who held up a babysitter at gunpoint in Lower Saxony was shamed into leaving empty-handed by the two young children of the house, who offered him their pocket money. The man had rung the doorbell of the house in the northern town of Schwanewede near Bremen, Germany, and forced his way in. Wearing a balaclava and a long black coat, the man was holding the terrified babysitter at gunpoint, when the children she was looking after came downstairs. When they offered him their savings, he was obviously overcome with shame and left the house without a word – or a cent.
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.
3The thief who turned in cell after finding child porn
Back in October 2011, a crook saw that a car window wasn't rolled all the way up in a supermarket parking lot. The thief did what thieves do, stole two mobile phones and a wallet out of the vehicle. When he powered one of the phones on, he found child pornography images on it. The images disgusted him so much that he turned himself in to assist authorities with investigating the individual that he stole the items from. The investigation led to the arrest of a 46-year-old man.
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.
4The robber who returned stolen car to chastise parent after finding baby inside
A man who stole a car left idling on the seawall, returned and chastised the owners after realizing a child was 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.
5The thief who returned terminally ill woman's camera
Jami McElrath got her camera stolen when a thief broke into her car. When the thief found out that Jami was terminally ill, he had a change of heart and returned the camera. McElrath, who has inoperable cancer, was collecting photos to place in a scrapbook for her children so they could remember her after she was gone. The camera had belonged to her father, who had died of a heart attack two years before. The woman told her heart-wrenching story to Dallas-area news station WFAA TV, appealing to the burglar to return the 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.
6The Santa-stealing thief who returned decoration with apology note
An Indiana thief must have been worried he'd end up on the naughty list. He had stolen an inflatable Santa Claus and two inflatable penguins from James McClaren's yard in Unionville, IN. With no way to track him or her, McClaren was out a Santa. But a couple of days later, the 16-foot-tall St. Nick was returned with a written apology. The note read, "Returning your property is the right thing to do." The thief also left $100 for more decorations.
7The thief who returned stolen jewelry after 10 years
An unknown thief returned jewelry to its owner nearly 10 years after stealing the items from a house in Saudi Arabia, saying in a letter he feels sorry for the theft and asking the owner to forgive him. The owner said he found the returned jewelry in a bag placed near the door which he opened in response to urgent knocking late night. He informed the police about the unknown bag, adding that when police opened the bag, he quickly recognized the jewelry as his.
“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.”
8The compassionate thief who returned stolen car after receiving a call from owner
A thief in Brazil who stole a car, returned it after the owner rang him up in the car and told the thief he was going through some financial difficulties.
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.
9The thieves who hand back a £2.75 million painting after failing to sell it on black market
A valuable painting that was stolen at gunpoint from a Brussels museum in 2009, was handed back after the thieves failed to sell it on the black market. A daring daylight raid on Belgian surrealist René Magritte's former terraced house saw armed robbers put a gun to the concierge's head. They threatened staff and visitors, before making off with the £2.75 million nude portrait of Olympia.
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.
10The robber who returned stolen urn that held husband's ashes
A thief who had stolen the urn containing the ashes of Carol Lalonde's husband, decided to return it. The container went missing on Christmas Eve 2011, when her home was burglarized of the TV, a computer, jewelry and the puck-shaped container with her husband's ashes in it. He had been an army veteran and life-long hockey fan. They had been married 58 years. Carol, who is legally blind, made a public plea for the thief to return her husband's ashes, no questions asked.
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.