Several years ago, my dad had his Mercedes stolen.
On the day it was stolen, as part of the process for getting his money from the insurance company he was required to place an advertisement in the Greek Newspaper of his choice announcing the loss and asking people if they found it. This is a pro-forma task, that is usually followed by a modest insurance payout.
Surprisingly, the thief called and said on the phone:
Prof. Roussos, I am a serious business man, a respected man of society. Stealing your car is an inconvenience to us both. I have to take it to Albania to get it cut into little pieces to resell the parts, you have to buy a new car. How about we arrive at an understanding? You pay a modest fee and I’ll return the car.
My dad agreed on condition that he see the car first.
So my dad was taken along with a bodyguard to see the car. Upon inspecting the car he discovered that the car had some scratches and was dirty.
When the thief called later, my dad complained about the defects. The thief replied:
Damn! I’ve told my employees not to damage the customers merchandise. I’ll make sure it’s fixed before you get the car.
Several days later the exchange was done. There was an aura of cloak & dagger about it. The money was placed near a phone booth in Athens, and then in another part of Athens the Merc was returned.
But the story does not end here.
Several months later, my dad got a phone call:
Journalist: Are you Professor Roussos?
Journalist: I am a journalist for a ****.
Dad: Careful. What do you want?
Journalist: Did you have your car stolen and then returned for a ransom fee?
Journalist: Apparently the same crook stole all of my belongings and my car. He offered to return everything for a modest fee. When I started to doubt his honour, he suggested I call you up. That you would act as a reference for him. That he is an honourable man who will return my stuff.
So my dad told him that he was an honourable thief. And who ever said there is no honour among thives.