On Friday, September 24, the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum’s gift shop received an unusual package with no return address, and a tracking number that originated in Fruitland, Maryland.
Inside, Museum Administrator Josh Nonnenmocher was surprised to find a small box of gift shop coins, a $50 dollar bill, and a letter of apology from a clearly regretful and reformed thief.
This is not the first time that items have been taken from the Hatteras village’s museum gift shop, but it is the first time that the items made their way back to the museum via the postal service.
“We have had plenty of parents who have walked their kids back in and returned items that they took from the gift shop,” said Nonnenmocher, who has been the museum’s administrator for nearly four years. “But this is the first time that we received something in the mail, returning the items.”
Nonnenmocher says that early last week, gift shop manager Linda Moul noticed a few kids milling around the shop’s souvenir section. When they left, she noticed that a $29.99 telescope had been taken out of its wooden box, and although the telescope was still on the shelf, the box was missing, as well as a few toy coins which ranged in price from $1.50 to $1.99.
A week and a half later, all of the items were returned with a $50 bill that more than covered the cost, (as well as an extra $4.85 in shipping), and a letter in what appeared to be in childish handwriting that read the following:
“Dear Sir or Madame,
In the following package are items that were stolen from the gift shop of this museum. I would like to return them. I apologize for the inconvenience. I have included payment for said items.
“It looks like they may have been crying when they wrote it,” said Nonnenmocher, referring to a small smudge at the bottom of the letter.
The package was sent anonymously, with no name or return address, but Nonnenmocher says that they are grateful for the gesture, and that the young thief is definitely forgiven.
“We are glad that they decided to do the right thing,” said Nonnenmocher. “We hope they learned their lesson, and we really appreciate them returning the item and paying for it.”