Thumbs up: To the person who returned priceless photos to a grieving mother. You're still a thief, but at least you're not heartless.
Patricia Harris forgot her purse in her car April 30 while getting her four young children situated in their York City home. By the time she realized it and went to retrieve the purse, it was gone — along with her cell phone.
On the phone's memory card were more than 500 photos of her son, Cole Brady Fogle, who was born Dec. 10 but died Feb. 22 of sudden infant death syndrome.
"I was lost," she said. "I cried a lot."
After reporting the crime to police, Harris and her fiance, Michael Fogle, put up fliers about the baby pictures on Richland Avenue, Princess and King streets, areas near her home, hoping someone would help them get the photos back.
She decided to leave her car doors open in case the purse thief opted to return to the memory card.
On June 2, Fogle found the memory card in Harris' car, tucked in her also-stolen Comcast work badge that had been left hanging on the rearview mirror.
"I guess the thief has a portion of a heart," she said. "You just take things and you don't know what you're stealing from someone and what it means for that person or their family."
Thumbs up: Here's another crime story with a happy ending.
Chanceford Township resident Douglas Downs' disability might have made him an attractive target for burglars because of his limited mobility. His home was burglarized twice in 2008, then again in 2009 and again in October 2012.
After the 2009 case, one of the four people convicted payed a sizable court-ordered restitution to the York County Clerk of Courts, which forwards such payments to crime victims. For some still unknown reason, Downs never received the checks.
The amount was large enough that Brenda Branum, a clerk in the courthouse office, noticed the returned checks. She started to research the case, hoping to locate Downs before his money was sent to the Pennsylvania Treasury as unclaimed property.
It turns out Downs was hoping for a miracle.
Unaware of the money he was due, Downs was facing a tax sale of his home and also needed to pay some medical expenses.
Branum tracked him down just in time.
"I called the victim and the victim was so emotional," she said. "Then I got emotional. They said they were going to lose their house, and it couldn't have come at a better time for them."