(Scroll to the bottom of the story for updates)
One thief has apparently had a change of heart –- a decade and a half after stealing a couple's wedding rings.
The note, which has gone viral, is below:
While some commenters on Reddit suggested the letter is fake, user WhoBeKnow, who reportedly went to school with the couple’s daughters, chimed in with a backstory:
The rings are the mother's wedding ring, a ring the father gave the mother when their first child was born, and one set of grandparents' wedding bands that had been intended for the children when they reached adulthood. These were stolen during a party that one of their (now adult) children threw during high school, about 15 years ago.
WhoBeKnow explained that the Riphagens' daughter first shared the image of the letter on Facebook among her friends, as a "thank you" to the anonymous sender. From there, it continued to circulate the site until it made its way to Reddit.
"The family doesn't really care who sent it, certainly doesn't want to seek out who did it, and is just grateful to have these things back," WhoBeKnow posted. "They're a lovely family and I'm so happy to see these sentimental things returned to them."
In the Reddit thread, oboemargot identified herself as the daughter and confirmed she threw the party and recently received the apology note.
This isn't the first time stolen items have been returned by repentant thieves.
In August, a thief returned a stolen Xbox and digital camera to a family in Ontario with a heartfelt letter calling the theft "the worst mistake in my life." Fifty dollars was included to cover damages to the screen door from the break-in.
Others aren't quite as elaborate. Two years ago, another person in southeastern Pennsylvania returned a stolen truck with a note that said, "Sorry, my bad."
UPDATE: Margot Riphagen contacted The Huffington Post Monday night and confirmed the story. The Portland, Ore., resident said her mother was the one who received the letter and the rings, sent in a plastic bag to her office.
"She was shocked," said Riphagen, who threw the party at age 16. Now 31, she too was surprised at their return:
I happened to be home visiting my parents. I was nosing around in their stuff on the counter while I was drinking my morning coffee and stumbled upon it. My mother said "You had better sit down." And I opened it and was shocked, especially because I didn't know the rings earmarked for me and my sister even existed.