FARMINGTON, MO (KFVS) - On Halloween, someone stole the prized-possession of a 16-year-old boy who has autism, leaving the boy devastated.
"What I tell people, is there is a difference between what is just and what is right." explained Farmington Police officer Ryan Miller on Sunday, "Justice would be if I tracked down the thief, recovered the property and sent him to court to be sentenced. The right thing, is just to be kind."
Evan Robinson has been mowing lawns all year long, saving up for an Inflatable Halloween Decoration.
"It's his obsession, his hobby, whatever you want to call it." Said father Paul Robinson "When he bought that thing with money he earned, it was probably one of the more proud moments of his life."
Sometime Halloween evening, the Robinsons reported the inflatable stolen out of their front yard.
Miller was the officer who responded.
"Some people may think 'so what, it's a decoration,' but to him it was his world. I could tell." Miller explained. "He cared about it like he would a pet, and he'd take very good care of it."
Police say there weren't any promising leads, and an arrest of any kind seemed unlikely, let alone the return of the stolen property.
"Several hours later, a box showed up with a note on it about kindness and paying it forward… from officer Miller" Evan's father explained, "[Miller] went and bought another inflatable for Evan."
"I love my inflatable so much…" Evan said on Sunday, "and I really thank officer Miller for buying me a new one."
A Facebook post made by the police department on Halloween was quickly shared to an audience of thousands, and around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, the original inflatable was anonymously returned on the Robinsons' front porch
In the time that I've been a police officer," Miller said, "someone returning something they stole out of their own volition… I've never seen it… never seen it."
"I saw them on my porch when they came back, and I almost gave them a piece of my mind." Evan's father said, "But when I saw what they were doing… They were trying to make things right. I respect that."
Evan delivered a hand written thank-you card to officer Miller on Sunday.