They never thought they’d see it again, but 42 years after their Bible was stolen in 1971, Holy Trinity Church in Hastings, England, received an intriguing letter in the mail. The anonymous note was sent to church treasurer Simon Scott and read, “You won’t believe receiving this letter and you certainly won’t believe receiving a bible in the post shortly,” according to the BBC.
To the surprise of the church administration, a huge box containing a large leather-bound version of The Holy Bible, complete with brass clasps, later arrived in the mail, just as promised.
The letter from the 1971 thief explained the he and his wife had moved to England from Germany, and hoped to improve his language skills by enrolling in an English class. However, the class was very expensive and fell short of his expectations, so he took it upon himself to study outside of the course.
Some lessons took place inside the Hastings church, and he said he, “saw these bibles just sitting there, unused he felt.” He decided to take one home in order to read it and improve his English through self-study. However, he “never got round to doing it,” and felt the twinges of a guilty conscience whenever he saw the book for years after the incident.
The thief said that his wife was “pretty angry” with him for taking the beautiful Bible. “I’ve never managed to pluck up the courage to come and hand it back personally,” he added. “But now that I’ve retired, I’ve definitely decided to get on the right side of things.”
Scott told the BBC that he didn’t think the Bible was worth very much, but seemed pleased with the story’s conclusion, commenting, “We’ve got ours back.”