Stealing is morally wrong, and even more so against the law. Yet, sometimes unfortunate circumstances cause people to take what doesn’t belong to them.
In a story that has left a Virginia deputy officer looking for a teenage girl who stole his bike, he’s also looking for answers. Pulaski County Sheriff Deputy Josh Bowden found a remorseful letter detailing why his bike was stolen.
The 19-year-old thief returned the bicycle and along with it, she apologized for “taking it without permission.” It was Superbowl night, and the young lady didn’t have any other way to get home, which she mentioned was 16 miles away.
“I had to walk from Radford to Blacksburg at 2am [sic]because of drunk boys, a dead phone, and no money/rides in Radford,” the note read. “Regardless, I had every intent to return it to you. I saw the sheriff car and hoped you would understand a 19 year old girls [sic] rationale.”
The teenager’s note, anonymously signed by “M,” said that the bike really helped her make it back to her side of town. “I’m genuinely sorry and hope you can forgive me for returning it so late,” she sincerely wrote towards the end of the letter.
Bowden wrote a letter of his own in response to “M.” Instead, he posted his note to Facebook in hopes that the helpless thief would see it and contact him.
As a father of a girl a few years younger than “M,” Bowden explained in his response how he’s more concerned about the 19-year-old’s safety, rather than the choice she made to steal his bike that night. He advised “M” to know her surroundings, because a lot of teenage girls have gone missing in similar situations.
“There are unfortunately a lot of really bad people out there waiting for an easy target such as a young girl out early in the morning by herself,” he said in his post. “Carry some sort of means to protect yourself and learn how to do so.”
Bowden also suggested that “M” choose her friends wisely. He told her she needs to have someone to rely on when going out late at night.
“If you are going to go out and party make sure you have reliable friends and plenty of people you can call to come get you should something go wrong,” he wrote.
The deputy ended his Facebook post expressing how he never wants to be called out on a search team to find a missing child. Bowden only asked that the next time she’s placed in a similar situation, she would seek help first, even if that means she has to knock on a stranger’s door.
Bowden ended his note, “I’m sure you have a family that loves you very much and people who value your existence. In the future please don’t put yourself in such a precarious position, but if you ever do, have a backup plan. Should that fail, please bypass my bicycle and come knock on my door. That is all. God bless.”
In a video clip by Inside Edition, Bowden said he hasn’t had any luck locating the teenager: “I haven’t spoken to her yet. I’m still hoping that would happen.”
Bowden hopes “M” sees his message on Facebook soon, but if not, his response may very well encourage someone else to “reconsider their options” when faced with the same situation.