Thief gets guilt trip over cell phone from stolen car's owner

Posted: Sunday, April 11, 2004

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) A distraught woman used cell phone text messages to persuade a thief to return her car.

Lee Alaban, 34, of Port Macquarie had her Holden Commodore sedan stolen while she was at work March 30.

Her 13-year-old son's cell phone was in the car, so Alaban sent text messages to the thief. She explained that the car was a gift from her father shortly before he died and that presents for her son's birthday, which was on the following day, were in its trunk.

''We exchanged a number of text messages,'' Alaban told the newspaper. ''He started apologizing and I felt I was getting through. Next thing, I got this text saying he will return the car.''

The thief wrote another text message telling her where to find the car, which he abandoned in a parking lot but not before stealing the cell phone and the birthday presents.

Alaban was so pleased to get her car back, she even sent a final tongue-in-cheek text.

''If I ever lock myself out of my car, I'll send you a message,'' she wrote.

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