(Scroll to the bottom of the story for updates)
One thief has apparently had a change of heart –- a decade and a half after stealing a couple's wedding rings.
The note, which has gone viral, is below:
While some commenters on Reddit suggested the letter is fake, user WhoBeKnow, who reportedly went to school with the couple’s daughters, chimed in with a backstory:
The rings are the mother's wedding ring, a ring the father gave the mother when their first child was born, and one set of grandparents' wedding bands that had been intended for the children when they reached adulthood. These were stolen during a party that one of their (now adult) children threw during high school, about 15 years ago.
WhoBeKnow explained that the Riphagens' daughter first shared the image of the letter on Facebook among her friends, as a "thank you" to the anonymous sender. From there, it continued to circulate the site until it made its way to Reddit.
"The family doesn't really care who sent it, certainly doesn't want to seek out who did it, and is just grateful to have these things back," WhoBeKnow posted. "They're a lovely family and I'm so happy to see these sentimental things returned to them."
In the Reddit thread, oboemargot identified herself as the daughter and confirmed she threw the party and recently received the apology note.
This isn't the first time stolen items have been returned by repentant thieves.
In August, a thief returned a stolen Xbox and digital camera to a family in Ontario with a heartfelt letter calling the theft "the worst mistake in my life." Fifty dollars was included to cover damages to the screen door from the break-in.
Others aren't quite as elaborate. Two years ago, another person in southeastern Pennsylvania returned a stolen truck with a note that said, "Sorry, my bad."
UPDATE: Margot Riphagen contacted The Huffington Post Monday night and confirmed the story. The Portland, Ore., resident said her mother was the one who received the letter and the rings, sent in a plastic bag to her office.
"She was shocked," said Riphagen, who threw the party at age 16. Now 31, she too was surprised at their return:
I happened to be home visiting my parents. I was nosing around in their stuff on the counter while I was drinking my morning coffee and stumbled upon it. My mother said "You had better sit down." And I opened it and was shocked, especially because I didn't know the rings earmarked for me and my sister even existed.
Also on HuffPost:
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rings_n_1828857.html">Gaddist, a New York City parks worker </a>was hailed as a hero after he helped Danielle Carroll find her lost wedding ring. Carroll was teaching an outdoor painting class when she accidentally threw away her ring. When she returned to the park in the middle of the night to look for the ring, the trash cans had already been emptied. Carroll, however, stuck a note to the window of the garbage truck, alerting the driver that she believed her wedding ring to be among the trash. When Gaddist took the truck to Randalls Island to empty it, he decided to take a shot and search through the trash for the wedding ring. Gaddist returned the ring the next morning. "The first thing I did was give him a big hug and gush, Thank you, thank you so much," <a href="http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/nyc-parks-worker-finds-lost-wedding-ring-trash-192438979--abc-news-topstories.html">she said</a>. "Then I grabbed him again and gave him another hug and a kiss on the cheek. He knew how happy I was."
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/20/honest-tea-honest-cities_n_904493.html">On July 19, the Honest Tea company conducted an Honest Cities social experiment</a>—it placed unmanned beverage kiosks in 12 American cities. There was a box for people to slip a dollar in, but there were no consequences if they did not pay. Chicago was the most honest city, with 99 percent of people still paying a dollar. New York was the least honest city—only 86 percent coughed up the buck. Honest Tea is donating all of the money collected, nearly $5,000, to Share Our Strength, City Year and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/08/leo-guarente-junk-depot-returns-bonds_n_1947875.html?utm_hp_ref=good-news&ir=Good%20News">Guarente, owner of Junk Depot in Medford, Mass., </a>found a 21 class E United States savings bond from 1972 worth $1,000 each at the time, when he removed a hope chest a home he was ordered to clear. Guarente did the right thing and returned the bonds to Marie Veloso, the daughter of the deceased homeowner. “I was nervous. I knew I was going to change this woman’s life for the better,” <a href="http://boston.cbslocal.com/2012/10/06/junk-dealer-surprises-medford-woman-after-finding-114k-in-savings-bonds/">Guarente told CBS Boston</a>. “It warms my heart to know that I helped someone.”
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/09/ben-affleck-hits-parked-_n_1951911.html?utm_hp_ref=good-news">Ben Affleck side-swiped a parked car in Santa Monica, Calif.</a>, while out shopping with his two daughters. But rather than run from the scene of the crime, Affleck dutifully exited the car and left a sweet note along with his contact information on the windshield of the damaged vehicle. Here's <a href="http://www.justjared.com/2012/10/06/ben-affleck-hits-parked-car-leaves-apology-note/">what the note said</a>, according to Just Jared: 'Hi, I knocked off your mirror! Very sorry! Will cover everything. - Ben.
On September 2, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/09/adam-woldemarim-las-vegas_n_1951677.html">Adam Woldemarim was cleaning out his Las Vegas cab</a> when he discovered a black laptop case filled with $221,510 in cash. Woldermarim immediately took the cash to security at Frias Transportation Management, which owns his company, Virgin Valley Cab. An hour later, security called Woldermarim back to the office -- the owner of the cash had come to security to reclaim his winnings. The unidentified young man was extremely grateful to have his money back; he hugged Woldermarin and then rewarded him for his honesty, by tipping him $2,000.
<em>Not potty trained. Not trying.</em> This<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/19/honest-toddler-churros-are-breadsticks-tweets-twitter_n_1875286.html#slide=1496303"> hilarious twitter feed </a>features the musings of a very honest child on everything from celery to "the big bed."
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/19/don-williams_n_1437431.html">Carlos Palma dropped an envelope full of money at the Dallas airport's security checkpoint</a>. Unaware of his loss, Palma rushed on to catch his flight home to Iowa. Thankfully for him, TSA officer Don Williams was nearby and spotted the envelope. He returned the $9500 in cash. <a href="http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/TSA-Turns-in-Envelope-With-9500-in-Cash-148028055.html">Officer Williams said</a> that he lives by a simple childhood lesson. "Always do the right thing and that way you can live with yourself," he told NBC News.
In a recent interview with CNN, comedian and host of Showtime's "The Green Room," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/05/comedians-more-trustworthy-than-journalists_n_890555.html">Paul Provenza spoke about the fact that so many people get their news from comedic sources as opposed to actual news outlets</a>: "<a href="http://www.cnn.com/blog-archive-placeholder/">I actually think that’s a good sign</a> that people trust comedians more than journalists. At least with comedians, you know they are editorializing and opinionating - unlike ‘news’ outlets who do the same damned thing in the guise of reportage. Even in jest, comedians are inherently more honest than the opportunistic, corporate-controlled so-called news."
This Street Begger
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/doug-lansky/most-honest-street-beggin_b_1759642.html">Homelessness may be a serious issue, but this gentleman has clearly decided to work the humor angle.</a>
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/06/abbie-jacobson-maine-girl_n_1861162.html">Jacobson was walking into a Sam's Club in Scarborough, Maine,</a> when she spotted a green silk purse on the ground. She opened it up and found $4,202 in rolled-up bills, jewelry, a debit card with the name "Ra Rim" and some Cambodian currency. The next day a panicking Ra Rim received a call from the bank and recovered her money. Ra called Abbie to set up a thank-you lunch with her family, and gave the kid a big hug The 8-year-old will get to see her idol Justin Bieber in a concert this fall -- all expenses paid
Women in Finance
A recent study by LearnVest asked financial services professionals whether they'd consider insider trading if they stood to make $10 million and had no risk of getting arrested. 45% indicated that there was at least some chance they'd do it! <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/learnvest/women-more-honest-than-men-finance_b_1688937.html">Among those who said they'd do it, 19% of male financial services professionals were willing to engage in insider trading under those circumstances, compared to 10% of females. </a> Does that mean women are more honest?
This Potential Dog Walker
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/28/craigslist-dog-walker_n_841325.html">The Daily What uncovered something wonderful from Craigslist.</a> Here's the potential dog walker's credentials: "I went to Princeton University, I got a 1600 on my SATs, and now for 15 bucks an hour, your precious little dog can be my f*cking master."
These Kids In New York
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/29/kids-discuss-2012-election-parenting-magazine-video_n_1925471.html">Parenting.com visited a block party in Brooklyn, N.Y., to ask a group of children some questions about the November ballot. </a> "Do you know who the president of the United States is?" asked the Parenting reporter. "Um... Broccoli Yama," responded one adorable youngster. Most did not get excited about the chance to live in the White House -- "I think my house is special," said one little girl -- and thought that belonging to one party meant having to miss the party thrown by the other. None had dreams of becoming president one day, although they were OK with Wonder Woman or SpongeBob SquarePants taking the job.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/11/ny-man-finds-8k-along-roa_n_1665647.html">Nick Optis, of Mendon, N.Y., came across a money bag in Bloomfield</a>. After finding the cash and checks made out to nearby White's Farm Market, he brought the bag to the farm stand. The employee realized at the bank the money was gone and raced back to the farm stand. Optis had already dropped it off.
The Hosts of This New Year's Eve Party
The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/29/literal-new-years-eve-party-invite_n_1175259.html">Tumblr Cthulucore</a> called out those artificial expectations for what they are, by putting together<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/29/literal-new-years-eve-party-invite_n_1175259.html"> the most literal and realistic New Year's Eve invitation we've ever seen. </a>
This Good Samaritan in Laguna Beach
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/06/wallet-with-10000-left-in_n_1408318.html">A restauranteur from Newport, Fla., accidentally left his wallet and the $10,000 in it on a bench in Laguna Beach.</a> Thankfully for him, a Good Samaritan found the wallet and turned it in -- with no money missing -- to lifeguards.