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Thief returns stolen hammer to store with apology decades after theft

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An anonymous thief sent an envelope of cash to a family-owned supply store in western Pennsylvania to pay for a hammer stolen decades ago.

The cash arrived at Central Contractors Supply Co. in Johnstown, with a handwritten note saying the hammer was stolen 25 to 30 years ago, said Lynne Gramling, who owns the store with her father.

“I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway. Enclosed is $45 to cover the hammer plus a little extra for interest,” said the unsigned letter. “I’m sorry I stole it, but have changed my ways.”

While plenty of merchandise has disappeared since the family bought the store some 50 years ago, this is the first time anyone has paid for a stolen item, Lynne said.

She took the money to a nearby shopping mall, where her father was volunteering as a Salvation Army bell ringer. “I went up and dropped the money in his kettle,” she said, adding that the money was “really a lot more than a hammer would cost. He was very generous.”

Thanks to Reuters.com for this story