A woman used text messages to convince a thief to give her back her stolen van.
"I'm just happy to have my van. I mean who does this, I can't believe this, it is my life, this is real," Megan Bratten said.
When Bratten walked out of the Kmart store near U.S. Highway 24 and Missouri Highway 291, her van was gone.
"An older gentlemen was like, ‘Are you OK?' and I said ‘No, I think my car just got stolen,'" she said.
It was her work van. The van Bratten uses for her business to provide for her five children.
"I just got angry and then I remembered that phone was in there and I thought ‘Let me text them a message' and I did," Bratten said.
Bratten sent a text to the cell phone that she knew was inside her van. The first text, understandably so, wasn't so nice.
"I used some pretty explicit words and I said ‘Hey, you just stole a single mother of five's work van. You are ruining my life here,'" she said.
Three hours went by and Bratten kept texting. Then, on her final text, she desperately pleaded.
"OMG car thief people can you just give me my van back!," she wrote. "It would be epic, the miracle I need right now."
"And then he texted me back and gave me step-by-step directions where to find the van and I went there with my mom, and my dog and the van was there," Bratten said.
The thief sent the single mother a final text which read:
"I do feel bad...my kids needed a meal on the table so that's what their dad did got them food. I know its wrong but it's been so hard since I lost my job."
Bratten said she didn't have the heart to follow-up with police.
"I can really relate on the human level of the struggle of feeling desperate and making poor choices. I can understand how people act out of fear making poor choices. What matters in the end, he really did the right thing," she said.
Police say it was very risky for Bratten to return to pick up her van without calling them. They would have gone with her.
Bratten even said in one of her text she tried to tell the thieves how bad the van was - that it leaked transmission fluid. When she got the van, there was an empty bottle of transmission fluid in the van that had been used to fill it up.
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