Chastened thief, caught red-handed, has change of heart, returns the stolen AC unit

Thief returned air-conditioner after owner caught him red-handed.

So it turns out that sometimes shouting the time-worn cliché “Stop! Thief!” in a moment of crisis actually works!

At least it did for Jason Cline, a Des Moines, Iowa man who watched from an upstairs window while an alleged burglar pulled up to Cline’s house on a bike, walked up to the porch and took the Cline’s air-conditioner (A.C.).

Surveillance video shows the still-unidentified burglary suspect wearing a red t-shirt and hat as he grabs the air conditioning unit and heads back to his bike.

Suddenly, an angry voice spilled forth from a second-floor window, where Cline was leaning and demanding that the thief return the A.C. to the family’s porch.

Inexplicably, the thief who stole an air-conditioner stopped, turned around, and returned the unit back to its owner's porch after being caught red-handed.

The surveillance camera shows a man wearing red T-shirt and a hat got off his bike and walked into porch of a home in Des Doines, Iowa. He took the air-conditioner off a bench in front of the porch and walked back with the air-conditioner toward his bike parked on the site of the street.

“Put it back right now. I’m calling the police,” Cline could be heard shouting to the thief from his window.

“Put it back,” Cline yelled.

Cline said he was surprised to the thief reaction to his shouting.

“He kept yelling ‘I thought it was junk’,” Cline told ABC News.

Cline got his air-conditioner back.

“Honestly, I thought he'd probably just take off with it. I was kind of shocked when he did what I told him to do, but I think he was in shock. He got caught so it probably threw him off a bit,” Cline told ABC News.

The camera shows the thief carrying the air-conditioner toward his bike on the street, returned and place it back at the same place after the shouting from its owner.

“Once he returned the unit he rode off pretty quickly,” Cline said.

Sergeant Paul Parizek with Des Moines Police told WOI-DT that the encounter is rare.

"That video and him responding the way he did is surprising," Parizek told WOI-DT. "Not everybody is going to come across such a passive criminal."

Sergeant Parizek told WOI-DT this kinds of crimes happen a lot and surveillance cameras have important role to stop and sometimes help law enforcements solve crimes.

"What we are seeing now is this new technology is much more affordable than it was maybe 10 years ago so we see it more and more often. And I think that's going to have a huge impact down the road on these types of property crimes,” Parizek said.