Watches, crucifixes stolen 25 years ago from convent returned

Published: July 14, 2006 | 4482nd good news item since 2003

It took a quarter-century, but his conscience finally got the best of a thief.

Several crucifixes, pocket watches and a wristwatch were stolen from Maria Convent in Newton in 1981. Just last week, the Rev. Joseph Keil at Our Lady’s Help of Christians parish received a package shipped from San Jose, Calif., containing the stolen items, and a letter.

“The note said the person who took them was sorry, that the jewelry was taken many years ago and if it could be returned to the owner, that would be great,” Keil told the MetroWest Daily News of Framingham.

The Maria Convent is not affiliated with Our Lady Help of Christians. The convent is run by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston. Sister Joanne Gallagher, a spokeswoman for the order, said it’s still unknown whether the returned items were actually stolen from the Maria Convent.

“All I know it was 25 years ago and we really don’t have any accurate information right now,” she said.

Newton police Lt. Bruce Apotheker said a person has been interviewed who remembered the convent being burglarized over Labor Day weekend in 1981, but could not remember what was stolen.

The letter, dated July 2, 2006, seemed to be written by someone close to the thief instead of the actual culprit, Keil said.

“Please help return these items to the Sisters that they were stolen from, if possible,” the anonymous letter reads in part. “The person who stole them asks for their forgiveness, as he has asked for God’s forgiveness, and is extremely sorry for the pain that their theft caused.”

Published in Found, Honesty, Justice, Values
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