NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It was a surprising twist in a case of stolen Christmas presents.
Surveillance cameras caught the thief in action and his change of heart. As CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reports, those same cameras recorded his return.
Mike Valloney’s home security cameras were rolling when a seemingly greedy Grinch stole presents delivered to his Staten Island front porch.
“I noticed that this package, this package and this package were missing,” Valloney said, pointing things out on the video. “And all I saw was this one.”
Surveillance video shows a stocky man parking a shopping cart in front of Valloney’s home in broad daylight.
“I guess he was doing his holiday shopping and he stopped in front of the house. I could see him come up the walkway again, come back with the packages and then placed them in his shopping cart,” Valloney said.
Valloney, a retired NYPD detective, rushed the video to his neighborhood police precinct in an effort to solve the holiday heist.
“I wanted something to show the police in case they recognized him from the area,” Valloney said.
The thief clearly had no idea surveillance cameras were rolling on his every move. Valloney said he’s convinced the man saw the surveillance video on a local TV news channel, and it may have sparked a change of heart.
That’s because two days later security cameras recorded the thief returning to the home with a bag filled with Valloney’s presents and a cardboard note.
“The note said, ‘this is all I took. I’m so sorry and Happy New Year. I just want to do right for this New Year,’” Valloney said.
“To me I kind of felt, wow, this person does have some redeeming qualities.”
Valloney said he has more than forgiven the thief. In fact, he said he’d like to meet him.
“I would probably ask him why he did it and find out what his situation was and if there was anything I could do to help him or mentor him, I definitely would,” Valloney said.
For now, the thief has not been caught. Valloney said he has no plans to press charges.
The packages contained expensive clothing. Valloney said the suspect did not return one of the three packages he took.