WASHINGTON — Megan Bratten, a single mother of five, had just returned to the parking lot after shopping at the local K-Mart in Independence, Mo. She was shocked to see her family van had been stolen. Vanished.
But she remembered that her cell phone was left in the car. So, in a desperate attempt to get her car back, she fired off a series of text messages, imploring the thief to come clean.
“I used some explicit words and I said, ‘hey you just stole a single mother of five’s work van,” she told the media this week. She sent more, explaining that she just wanted the vehicle back and wouldn’t press charges. “Then he texted me back and gave me step-by-step directions of where to find my van.”
The thief texted her, and said he had just lost his job and was struggling to put food on the table to feed his own kids.
“I can really relate on a human level to the struggle, feeling desperate and making poor choices,” she said. “What matters in the end is he did the right thing.”
In one of her texts, she told the thief that the car was leaking transmission fluid. When she recovered the van without incident, she found an empty bottle of transmission fluid in the car. He had apparently topped it off.