The driver’s license, purse, screen door and other items can be replaced, but Silver Diner owner Carol Richardson’s feelings of safety and charity cannot.

“I feel so violated,” Richardson said Thursday, the day after the restaurant was burglarized in broad daylight. “It’s just been unreal.”

Between 9:45 a.m. and 11 a.m. Thursday, someone entered the back door of the Water Street diner while business as usual continued around the corner, Richardson said.

“They cut the screen on the screen door in the back and crawled through,” Richardson said. “There were four of us within 20 feet of the back door.”

A small fanny pack the diner uses as a delivery bag for change was just inside the door. Richardson’s purse was also within reach of the burglar, she said.

“The purse was a jackpot for the thief as it contained both diner and personal bank deposits ready to go to the bank that would pay workers and medical bills,” Richardson said in a written statement. “Since (me) and (my) husband, Don, both had birthdays last week, (our) gift cards and cash are now gone too.”

Richardson said even more valuable than the cash were personal items such as her driver’s license, vehicle registration, insurance cards, credit cards, checkbooks, keys, family pictures and her permit to carry a concealed weapon that are now gone. Pain medication needed after her recent back surgery was also in the purse.

“It took all day just to notify everyone plus close accounts and change locks,” Richardson said, “not to mention the cost of replacing everything.”

Richmond Police Sgt. Willard Reardon said Cpl. Jake Adkins is investigating the case. After spending several hours searching the area around the diner, Reardon said the delivery bag was recovered, but it was empty. Richardson’s purse has not been found.

“We’re looking into all aspects of the burglary,” Reardon said. “There’s an ongoing investigation.”

Though she is hurt by the crime, Richardson said she can’t help but feel sorry for the burglar.

“I can only imagine how desperate this person must have been to do this,” she said. “During our four years at the diner, we have tried to continue the ‘giving spirit’ that Ms. Cain had before us and feed those that were down on their luck or just needed to know someone cared about them. But this is too much giving, or should I say, taking.”

Richardson believes she knows who committed the crime. If her purse and contents were returned to her willingly, she said she would do her best to forgive and forget. Reardon said there is a person of interest in the case that will be considered as the investigation continues.

The purse is described as a black, cloth bag with four different zipper compartments on the outside. Richardson said the key ring has at least 20 keys on it with a large, pink key chain attached that reads “clogger.” Richardson is offering a reward for information into the recovery of her purse and contents.

Those with information should call the Richmond Police Department at 623-8911 or the Silver Diner at 626-5165.

Kelly Foreman can be reached at kforeman@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.

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