Magnanimous Byron mechanic offers to buy back stolen machine

That’s according to Wayne Howie, who has every reason to be angry since the garage he owns, Byron Automotive, was broken into overnight Wednesday, and one of the pieces of equipment the thief or thieves ran away with is a diagnostic tool worth as much as $10,000.

“I’m not going to get angry about it,” Howie said Thursday afternoon. “This is extremely trivial compared to the grand scheme of things.”

Another person wouldn’t be as philosophical about the robbery. In a Facebook post, Howie offered to buy back the machine— for the same amount the diagnostic interface would fetch at a pawn shop. Even more astonishing, Howie offered to help the robber if they have addiction issues.

“The diagnostic equipment is very vital to the operation of my shop and it’s very expensive,” he said in the post. “I will seriously purchase the equipment back at whatever you will get at a pawn shop to feed whatever addictions or family crisis you have and try to help you.”

“I’d pay for it back,” the magnanimous mechanic said. He figures the smash-and-grab— the thieves broke a window in one of two garage doors to get inside the shop— is part of a larger trend, namely the ripple effect of the unstable economy and the current opioid crisis. “I think this is just part of what’s going on,” Howie said.

“I’m part of my community. And those people are part of my community, too,” he said of the people who ripped him off.

“Please message me privately and I will keep it anonymous,” he added in his post on the popular social-media utility. Howie said a recent death in his family has given him a new perspective.

“Forgiveness is a much better path than malice,” he said emphatically.

Derek Silva is a criminology professor at King’s University College. He said more victims than we would think respond to crimes as Howie has done, with a big heart.

“I would not say it’s a common thing (to forgive), but it certainly does happen,” Silva said. “There’s a field of victimology that studies this.”

And does offering to buy back stolen goods ever work? Silva isn’t sure. He thinks most thieves have a cynical attitude toward human nature, and would respond to an offer like the one Howie has posted on Facebook with suspicion.

“I would say no, because there’s too much of a risk (to the thief),” Silva explained. “Maybe that person put it out as bait.”

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