But she was apprehended. A smart teller recognized that something was amiss. That teller went through the images recorded by the security cameras at the bank. She was able to provide police with photos of the thief. The bank asked me to sign an affidavit regarding the theft.
In addition to the $2380 the thief stole from my bank, I lost a great deal of time in dealing with this mess. I spent more than 25 hours trying to get things straightened out. Ugh.
The whole situation became much more personal yesterday when I received this letter:
Even though I had willingly signed the affidavit and sworn that I would assist Florida authorities in prosecuting the criminal, I wasn't quite prepared for the effect of seeing a letter describing the crimes committed against me. The charges include criminal use of personal identification and grand theft. Grand theft is a felony. If convicted, a person can face significant jail time and fines for this crime.
How do I feel about all of this? It was easy to be angry at first. This crime was highly organized and carefully orchestrated, carried out by someone who clearly understood the banking system. The thief was successful in stealing $2380 and was attempting to steal more when a sharp teller became suspicious of her actions. Who knows how much she would have stolen if she hadn't been caught?
I do feel a firm determination that the laws of the land be enforced. People must not be allowed to steal. If they do steal, they must be punished. It is not good for this woman or for anyone else to think harming another person is the way to get what she needs or wants. The hope is that the punishment will dissuade her from ever stealing again and serve as a warning against stealing for others who might be contemplating it.
But I think that God wants from me more than a determination that laws be enforced. I now have a very clear, black-and-white, no-doubts demonstration of the way this woman sinned against me. I could simply feel a righteous indignation about this situation. Or I could feel terrified and fearful that a person capable of grand theft has my name and personal information.
The truth is that my feelings are mixed. I was in fact the innocent victim of this crime. But deep down I know I'm not an innocent person. Oh, I don't break the laws of the land. But I know I've broken God's laws. I am guilty of so many things. My heart breaks at the thought of my sins and weeps with relief and gratitude at the thought of my Savior--the one who taught me to pray:
Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
I know that the laws of the land need to be observed and upheld; the laws are for the good of all, including both me and the woman who stole from me. I don't wish to be stolen from again, and I certainly don't want another person to be the victim of theft. But I can't hold onto anger at this woman. I can't let my mind and heart be occupied by indignation at the crime she committed against me.
I think perhaps the best thing to do here is to pray for her. After all, I have her name. I have the number of case against her. I know the date of her arraignment. So I can pray that she will be blessed. I can pray that God will provide what she needs. That starts with her learning an important lesson about stealing. But surely it must include more than that.
What do you think? What would be your prayer for someone who had committed a crime against you?