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Stolen wagon returned to Appleton man

Posted at 9:20 AM, Jul 14, 2020

APPLETON, Wis (NBC 26) -- For nearly a week, a 92-year-old Appleton man was struggling trying to figure out what would compel someone to steal his little red wagon from his front yard. Well, the wagon has since been returned.

It was just last week when Armin Barth was wrapping up some yard work when his wife called him in for dinner. Barth says, he left his little old red wagon near the curb in his yard and went inside to sit down with his wife. What he left behind when sitting down at the dinner table though was a piece of equipment he's been utilizing around the yard, for 60-years.

"I would say (it was) about 1960 is when I got the wagon. At that time maybe wagons like this were maybe 19-20 dollars," says Armin Barth.

After dinner, Armin says he planned on finishing up in the yard but his old reliable helper was nowhere to be found.

"I had a rough time all week with what he was going through. (He) Woke me up all hours of the night," says Armin's wife, Lois Barth jokingly.

All Armin says he knew about the person who took the wagon at the time, is that they drove a red truck thanks to the neighbor's surveillance systems.

"So we had a picture of a red truck from both sides but we didn't have nothing for a license number," says Armin.

Thankfully though, a manhunt wasn't necessary because nearly 130-thousand people saw Armin's story online. A story that expressed his frustration with losing his longtime handy tool. But unexpectedly, one of those people watching the video was apparently the man who took the wagon and a man who was compelled to bring it back.

"I went out and grabbed my wagon and put it on our ground and he came up and said he was very sorry. He didn't know what he was thinking and why he picked it up," says Armin.

And once the homecoming of sorts wrapped up Armin says he noticed that his wagon had been cleaned up. bringing some of its 60-year-old charms back to the surface again. It was a gesture that made it really difficult for Armin to even consider pressing charges.

"Well I said just slap his fingers, don't do nothing more," says Armin jokingly describing his interactions with police when reporting the wagon was returned.

All in all, this was a lesson learned for the Barths, a lesson about not leaving anything of value in your yard. But there was also an opportunity for the Barths to practice forgiveness.

"This man he felt pretty bad when he had to come back to where he picked up the wagon. And he felt very sorrowful," says Armin describing the man's remorse.