Stolen coins returned to museum gift shop with an apology from regretful thief

By on September 24, 2021

By Joy Crist | Island Free Press

(Photo by Josh Nonnenmocher)

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 Madam,

In the following package are items that were stolen from the gift shop of the museum. I apologize for the inconvenience. I have included payment for said items.

I’m sorry”

“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 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.”

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  • Rhonda M Runkles

    I’m glad the parents noticed the theft and taught their child a lesson. It would have been better had they included a return address and a name. I just feel like then the kid would have really owned the crime and paid it back. Without a return address or a name he/she is still kinda hiding from the fact they committed a crime. At least they had to sit down and write the note and return the items. Hope its been a lesson learned to the child.

    Friday, Sep 24 @ 4:06 pm
  • Rolling Eyes

    Rhonda M Runkles… one of those people that nothing is ever good enough for? The kid was made to do enough, most likely they’ve learned their lesson and hopefully will never steal again.

    Based on the handwriting we’re talking about a 6-8 year old most likely… I guess with an address you’d suggest they be incarcerated too right?

    Friday, Sep 24 @ 7:49 pm
  • Liz

    Rhonda M. Runkles: I imagine the parent was trying to strike a balance between teaching the kid a lesson and being overly harsh. That balance can be hard to find. At least the parent didn’t just blow it off, as some would.

    When the coins were discovered, there had to have been a scene with questions and crying. Then, the note – from the looks of it, just sitting down and writing it was memorable and difficult. Plus, if the parent enclosed their own $50 bill. I bet the kid will have to pay it back. Pretty good lesson all round.

    Saturday, Sep 25 @ 11:02 am
  • ElGuapo

    That’s refreshing to read. Nowadays, the parents show up, blame the museum, and demand an public apology. Afterwards they post the clerks address and demand he be fired.

    Sunday, Sep 26 @ 8:49 am
  • Steve

    Kudo’s parent’s… zero chance I’d publish the kids name or return address… social media’s judgemental, deprecating trolls would turn this into the Scope’s trial.
    I’m confident that parent’s with this type of tough love will continue to mentor the child and have shown the rest of us a great lesson in parenting..

    Monday, Sep 27 @ 8:09 am