Bar Owner Watches Security Footage for 3 Hrs To Catch Thief, Leads Him to Homeless Child


Jimmy Gilleece, the owner of a bar called Jimmy’s in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, knows that owning a business is about more than just making money.

Last month, the bar owner went to great lengths for a customer whose wallet with her diamond ring inside had been lost at the establishment.

“She was frantic, really upset about it, so it just became my mission,” he explained.

Jimmy began scanning through the bar’s security footage for answers. After searching through 3 hours of video from six different cameras, he finally spotted the wallet on a bench outside the bar.

Soon, he noticed a “shady character” approach the bench, grab the wallet, and take off.

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But Jimmy wasn’t going to stop there. He posted the video online asking for help to catch the thief. Soon enough, the thief himself came forward to confess.

The thief admitted he stole the money before he threw the wallet into the nearby marina.

And even though he’d discovered what became of the woman’s wallet, Jimmy wanted to make sure it was fully returned to her.

“After I invested all that time, I’m gonna find the ring,” he said. “So I hired divers to come out the next day.”

The divers ultimately located the wallet and the woman had her priceless ring back in her hands.

Still, it wasn’t enough for Jimmy to return back to life as normal. His next mission was helping the very thief who’d caused the trouble to begin with.

When Jimmy spoke to Rivers about stealing the wallet, Rivers explained that he hadn’t eaten in two days and was only looking to buy some food.

“You know I still kinda didn’t believe his story,” Jimmy said. “His story was that he took the cash out because he hadn’t eaten in two days and he saw the ring in the wallet and he threw it off the public docks into the water.”

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But the bar owner knew in his heart that the teen wasn’t a criminal — he just needed a little help.

“When I found out there was a wedding ring in there I wanted to get it back to the person, ’cause a wedding ring is a special thing that really no one should have to worry about losing,” Rivers said.

“He was homeless sleeping out by the park,” Jimmy explained. “And I felt bad for him I didn’t want him to get arrested. Like a said he was just a boy. So I said ‘are you 100% sure that ring was in there?’ He said ‘yeah.’ So I said ‘well I’m going to hire some divers.’”

When Rivers’ story turned out to be true, Jimmy knew exactly what he wanted to do to help the teen get back on his feet.

JImmy gave Rivers a job and invited him to stay in his home with his fiancée and children.

“I couldn’t have been luckier,” the teen said. “Most other people would have just gave the footage to police, and he chose to help me. He’s made me part of his family.”

“I think it happened for a reason,” Rivers said. “My life would definitely be a lot different. You know, I’d probably still be sleeping outside right now if it weren’t for Jimmy.”

“He gave himself a second chance too,” Jimmy said. “Just, you know, stepping up. Admitting he did wrong, and basically fixing the problem.”

Thanks to the kindness and compassion of a stranger-turned-family, Rivers’ future is looking bright.

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Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
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