VACAVILLE -- Vacaville police were able to solve a crime before it was even reported. During a routine traffic stop, and officer noticed something out of place.
It is not often you can call the victims of theft "lucky." However, husband and wife pastors Rosetta and Ben Porter don't believe it was luck.
“We know that was God that helped us,” Ben Porter said.
The Jackson, Missouri, couple was visiting Vacaville for a conference at Mission Church. Afterward, they decided to get dinner at Tahoe Joe's with some friends they had met earlier that day.
“When we came out, we noticed as we were getting in the car, the back passenger side window was broken and my laptop bag that was in the car was gone," said Rosetta Porter.
That's when the couple suddenly remembered what they had learned from Pastor Bill Johnson, the speaker at that conference they were attending.
“That minister earlier that day said 'claim your stuff back.' They had five or six different situations where people have claimed the stuff that they lost and it’s magically come back to them," Ben Porter said.
So the Porters prayed for their laptop bag back -- a prayer which was answered.
“One of our officers was on patrol when he noticed an older model Mercedes-Benz that had paper plates on it,” said Mark Donaldson with the Vacaville Police Department.
Paper plates but no vehicle identification led the Vacaville police to pull the car over. The driver, 43-year-old Rodrick Williams from Sacramento was on parole. He gave officers permission to look in his car.
"When the officer searched, he found property inside belonging to a Ben and Rosetta Porter out of Missouri,” Donaldson said.
A quick call to dispatch let the officers know the laptop had just been reported stolen.
"Seventeen minutes after she called they, they called and said they found your bag. I said 'Are you kidding me?' As big as California is? We don’t know when this guy came and took it, we don’t know which direction he went in, how in the world?! That’s a needle in a haystack," Ben Porter said.
Only after Rosetta got her bag back did she realize there was something much more important inside it than just the laptop.
“My ring was there, my wedding rings of 26 years. I was like 'Oh my gosh!' I was so thrilled," Rosetta Porter said.
Williams was arrested and charged with burglary, possession of stolen property and parole violation -- he's been convicted of similar charges in Sacramento and San Francisco counties in the past.
But as much pain as he caused the Porters, albeit temporary, both of them hold no ill will toward Williams.
“He’s trying to make a living somehow. He just chose the wrong path. And it broke our hearts because you know even though that stuff was on the laptop, it was not worth this man’s freedom," Ben Porter said.