Calling herself "a dumb kid who finally wants to right a wrong," a remorseful and apologetic thief stunned the Riphagen family of suburban Chicago when she returned four gold rings snatched during a teen party — 15 years ago.
Along with the rings was a heartfelt note that read, in part, "I am writing to you to apologize for being in possession of something I am sure you truly value and miss. I was at a party in your home many years ago and regretfully, stupidly took something that I should not have."
She asked forgiveness for the pain and heartache she caused the family, and ended the note with this mature observation: "As an adult I realize how sentimental items like this can be."
The rehabilitated thief was right on the mark. What she took were four cherished keepsakes of the Riphagen family: The mother's wedding ring, a ring the father gave the mother when their first child was born, and a set of grandparents' wedding bands that had been intended for the children when they reached adulthood.
One of the grandparents' wedding bands was intended for Margot Riphagen, 31, who was only 16 years old when she hosted a party that got a bit out of hand. She told ABCNews.com, "I invited a few friends over and then all of a sudden there were all these people there I didn't know. We immediately noticed stuff was missing."
The anonymous note, along with the jewelry, was sent to Riphagen's mother at her place of work. "She was shocked," Riphagen told The Huffington Post when asked about her mother's reaction to the unexpected return of her sentimental treasures.
"We never thought we would get any of the stuff back," said Riphagen. "It's completely amazing and wonderful, and we're all thrilled about it. It's a super-positive thing and a great way to start the New Year."