The retired teacher whose Lower Lake home was robbed in February while she accompanied her dying husband to the hospital got a measure of closure when the suspected thieves were arrested this week by Lake County sheriff's deputies.
"My faith in humanity has been restored a bit," said Naomi Richmond, 63. "I wasn't sure for a while there."
Richmond's Lower Lake home was burglarized Feb. 16 after she left to follow an ambulance that was driving her husband to the hospital. David Richmond, 65, had suffered a massive heart attack.
On Tuesday, Lake County sheriff's deputies arrested Patrick William Mullen, 50, and Randy Hopper, 26, both of Lower Lake, on suspicion of burglary. They were booked into the Lake County jail, with bail set at $50,000 each, sheriff's officials said in a news release.
The men are suspected of kicking in Richmond's front door and stealing jewelry, laptop computers, guns, knives and other items, some of which belonged to David Richmond.
Naomi Richmond, 63, a longtime eighth-grade teacher in the area, sent a letter to a Lake County newspaper the day after the break-in, sarcastically thanking whoever broke into her home.
The letter was widely shared on social media and garnered sympathetic messages of support from as far away as New Zealand and France. Total strangers offered to replace her stolen items, and she received more than $5,000 in donations to help pay for her husband's funeral.
Naomi Richmond said that last week, while she shopped at a local store, she heard two people talking about potential suspects in the break-in.
She said she then posted a second letter on her Facebook page and called the Sheriff's Office. She said deputies told her they might be close to arresting suspects and that at least one suspect had bragged to a neighbor about committing the crime.
Richmond said two items had been returned her — her husband's ring from Vietnam and a mesh bracelet he had given her for their fifth wedding anniversary. She said detectives told her there still was some hope of recovering more of her possessions.
"It really made me believe in our sheriff's department," she said, adding she thought her husband would be proud of her for standing up for herself.
"David's up there and he's saying, 'You did it, you stuck with it, you took care of business.'"
You can reach Staff Writer ElizabethM. Cosin at 521-5276 or firstname.lastname@example.org.