A Christmas Miracle: Reformed Thief Returns Stolen Camera

As we near the Christmas holiday, it seems appropriate to take a break from our regular discussion of DUI, fraud, assault, and other criminal defense news and to report on something a little more nice list-appropriate. Earlier this week, a Missouri woman received an unexpected gift: the camera that had been stolen out of her car three years earlier, with the photos of a special trip still on the memory card. Grateful for the return of her camera and, more importantly, her photographs, the woman has promised to protect the identities of the likely thieves, who seemingly forgot to delete a few pictures of their own before returning the camera.

In 2007, Mary Sudekum and her mother had just returned from an eight-day trip through Europe, visiting London, Paris and Brussels, with a group of students from Maryville University where Mary was a nursing student. Two days after their return, and with 300 photos on her digital camera, someone broke into Mary’s car, which was on her parents’ Frontenac driveway, and stole her camera.

Mary was, of course, upset about the theft of the camera, but she says she was most saddened about the loss of the photos of her trip with her mother. Three years went by, and on Wednesday morning, Mary received a telephone call from her father. “Remember that camera stolen from your car?” he asked. “Well, we have it.”

The alleged thief had placed the camera in Mary’s parents’ mailbox, along with a note apologizing for the crime. “This was taken a while ago when I was hanging out with the wrong people,” the note said. “I am truly sorry.” As Mary flipped through the photos of her trip, which were miraculously still on the camera’s memory card, she saw a few photos that she did not recognize. Mary believes that the photos are of the thieves or their friends, and although they are clear enough for identification, she does not intend to show them to the police.

“I don’t want to penalize somebody for doing the wrong thing. They were kids and they grew up a little and realized what they’d done. A lot of people wouldn’t have returned it,” she said. “I’m in shock to have these pictures back. It’s a perfect Christmas present.”

You may not be so lucky. Contact these experienced Orlando criminal defense lawyers for a free case evaluation.

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