Holiday car break-in leads to ‘Christmas miracle’

Published 5:29 pm Friday, January 5, 2018

When Anna Findley and husband Robert found their car had been broken into they felt, as most would, violated.

“It’s been rough canceling cards, contacting people and having to replace it all,” said Findley.

Still, credit cards and driver’s licenses can be replaced.

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In Findley’s wallet, however, among the cards, was something that could not.

In 2016, tow truck operator Gene Schofield- Anna Findley’s brother- was killed when a driver, ignoring Alabama’s “Move Over” laws, struck him.

She later spoke at his funeral, and kept the handwritten eulogy in her wallet to “read as a pick me up on ‘those kinds of days’.”

The note, as valueless to a thief as valuable to her, was gone.

“Maybe I shouldn’t [have had] it in my wallet but the day of his funeral-my two-year wedding anniversary-  the note went in my wallet and [never moved] …it was a way to keep my big brother with me every day,” Findley explained.

After speaking with police, Findley posted a plea to Facebook explaining the significance of the note in hopes the thieves, or someone with knowledge of the crime, might see and feel pangs of sympathy.

The robbery happened on December 26th, and the Findleys had already taken to calling it “the Christmas we will never forget.”

But the very next night, a small miracle happened when, around 10 p.m., Greenville Police Department officers knocked on the Findleys’ door holding a purse with the handwritten speech still inside.

Though the paper was wet and wrinkled, the writing was still legible and intact.

Greenville Police Department chief Justin Lovvorn said that the recovery of the note was thanks in large part to the efforts of a good Samaritan.

“A citizen that was walking noticed some items on the side of the road and contacted the police department,” Lovvorn said.

“Upon arrival, the officers did find a purse with the personal belongings.  A brief investigation revealed the identity of the purse’s owner, and officers promptly returned the items.”

Findley expressed forgiveness towards the thieves and graciousness for the diligence of the police officers.

“As violated as my husband and I felt, we are not mad at the person who broke into our vehicles and thought it would be okay to take our belongings,” said Findley.

She also extended thanks for the thoughts and prayers of all that read about her plight on Facebook and to the police officers that found her belongings.

“Seeing [the officers] standing at my front door holding my purse at 10:00 at night meant the world to me. I’m so thankful for them helping us in our time of need,” Findley said. 

Though it may still be “the Christmas we will never forget,” the reasons are drastically different: “We consider this ‘our Christmas miracle’… losing such a close family member so unexpectedly is always hard, especially around the holidays, but I love knowing he is always with me,” said Findley.

The theft of property remains under investigation.