MEXICO – A burglar who stole nearly $1,600 worth of equipment from the Region 9 School of Applied Technology returned the goods the next day with a message.

The crook with a conscience returned the items Thursday morning with an “I.O.U.” note written in red on a cardboard box.

Police Chief James Theriault said Region 9 staff reported the theft of a laptop computer and a new set of wrenches from the automotive lab and instructor’s office at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The next morning, a custodian discovered the box at the main entrance to the school, according to Region 9 Director Brenda Gammon.

Red ink from the note had dripped onto the laptop because of the recent snow but the computer appeared to be working, Gammon said. The wrenches were also returned.

The repentant burglar apparently had some computing to do because Gammon said the thief appeared to have used the computer before returning it. It was not known whether the wrenches were used.

Theriault said the burglar smashed the interior window doors to the automotive lab and the office to gain entry. He pointed out that the thief was likely already in the vocational school when the burglaries occurred because no evidence of forced entry was found.

The school spent more than $200 the next day to repair the windows.

Wednesday’s theft was the third in as many months at the Region 9 school. Previously, thieves stole a laptop, computer tower and two memory cards. Those items have not been recovered.

Gammon said she met with students and staff on Thursday to get help in solving the rash of thefts. Police have suspects, Theriault said.

The vocational school board has awarded a nearly $25,000 contract for the installation of three outside security cameras, 18 interior cameras, and buzzing systems for the exterior entrances to Kaulback Communications of Rumford.

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