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Worker Returns Money Stolen 23 Years Ago

December 10, 2003

IOWA FALLS, Iowa (AP) _ The former restaurant owners knew someone had been stealing from them years ago, but they say the thefts had been long forgotten. That is, until this week when they received a letter, containing five $100 bills.

Dave and Sharon McCaulley received the letter written on lined paper torn from a spiral notebook last week. It was postmarked Omaha, Neb.

``I’m a former employee that worked for you at the Villager Restaurant when I was a kid many years ago,″ it read. ``I used to steal money from you. Never very much at a time, but I know it all adds up. I figure that the money, plus interest, might add up to $500, so that is what I have sent. Merry Christmas.″

The letter is signed ``former employee.″

The McCaulleys have been out of the restaurant business since 1981.

Today, Dave McCaulley is a 64-year-old territory salesman for Iowa Veterinary Supply, and Sharon McCaulley, 63, works part time at the company’s office in Iowa Falls.

The letter gave few clues about the identity of the former employee. It simply listed ``F.E.″ as the return address, which they believe stands for ``former employee.″

Dave and Sharon McCaulley say they could use the money as much as anybody, but they’re considering donating it to a charity.

Dave McCaulley has told his friends about the letter, and some of them say the former employee probably stole even more than he admitted.

McCaulley said he’s not so sure. Besides, he said that’s not the point.

``I’m not angry,″ McCaulley said. ``I really feel touched by this. With all the news in the world that’s dark and gloomy, here’s something good that happens.

``It’s just kind of neat, that after 23 years, somebody cared enough to do something like that.″

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