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Goochland Drive-In owner uses Facebook to out poster thief

Posted at 11:35 AM, May 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-17 11:35:49-04

GOOCHLAND COUNTY, Va. — Three days after the owner of the Goochland Drive-In Theater threatened to use Facebook to expose the person who stole from the theater, the stolen item has been returned.

When he was checking bathrooms Friday night/Saturday morning, theater owner John Heidel said he noticed his “When Harry Met Sally” movie poster was missing from the bathroom wall where it hung. Upset over the theft, Heidel took to Facebook.

“Make you a deal,” he posted. “Return it asap in the condition it was in and we don’t hand over the security camera footage of you to the police.”

Heidel’s post quickly went viral among fans of the Goochland Drive-In Theater Facebook page where it was shared nearly 1,000 times.

“Well done to be so generous to give them a chance to do the right thing,” Becky Gill commented. “Maybe this gesture will be what turns their life around.”

Other fans were less supportive of Heidel’s generosity.

“Post the person’s picture,” Robert Steven O’Neal urged, “The public shaming will go a long way.”

Later that night, Heidel received an anonymous email about the poster.

“You clearly didn’t find my little prank funny and that poster obviously means much more to you than I assumed at the time,” the email read. “As it wasn’t my intention to royally piss anyone off, don’t fret, you will be receiving a FedEx on Monday returning the poster.”

When Harry Met Sally

Heidel confirmed the poster was returned Tuesday. He said the frame was broken, but otherwise the poster was fine.

While this story had a happy ending, Heidel said he might not be as generous the next time something disappears from the theater.

As for the anonymous person who walked away with the “When Harry Met Sally” movie poster, Heidel has just one thing to say.

“Don’t ever visit here again.”