STEUBEN, Maine — The last $4,000 worth of tools stolen last month from a family that moved to Maine from Florida this winter have been replaced with the help of a good Samaritan.
Sam Farmer, his wife, Monique, and their 2-year-old son, Shaemus, moved here from Florida shortly before Christmas. They have been living in a condo in Winter Harbor while working on a fixer-upper house they bought in Steuben, where they plan to settle.
But sometime overnight Jan. 10-11, someone broke into a trailer on the Steuben property and stole almost all of Sam Farmer’s carpentry tools — between $8,000 and $10,000 worth that he had been amassing since he was 14.
State police are continuing to investigate, but so far no arrests have been made.
When word got out about the theft, however, many people came forward to help the Farmers, restoring their faith in the community and reinforcing their decision to move to Maine.
Home Depot in Ellsworth donated $750 worth of free tools. Ellsworth Building Supply in Ellsworth and Kennedy Marine in Steuben each gave the Farmers $50 gift cards. Letters and cash donations came pouring in, helping him to replace about half of the stolen items, according to Sam Farmer.
Then, on Jan. 31, the couple received a call from a woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, asking if they would meet her at Home Depot in Ellsworth the following day. She wanted to buy all the remaining tools the family needed.
“She literally said she’d come into money she felt wasn’t hers,” Monique Farmer said this week.
“She felt like it was God’s money,” Sam Farmer said. “She disperses it as she feels called or compelled to.”
The Farmers were shocked by her gesture.
“We got off the phone and stared at each other,” said Monique Farmer. “We didn’t know what to say.”
Sam Farmer said the woman told him to go to Home Depot and pick out everything he needed, a process that took an hour and a half to two hours. She even offered to special order anything they couldn’t find in the store.
The woman, who they described as “nice” and “humble,” met them at the checkout.
The tools filled two carts and the bill came to about $4,000, they said.
The Farmers, who had received $1,200 in donations from the community and only spent $300 on tools so far, insisted on contributing the remaining $900 to the bill.
The woman didn’t want to accept their contribution at first, but Sam Farmer said he convinced her by explaining that this is what the donations were meant for.
Monique Farmer said it was all she could do not to cry as they checked out with two carts full of tools.
Then, as Sam Farmer took one cart, and with Shaemus “acting like a 2-year-old,” Monique Farmer said the woman offered to take the second cart out, so she could tend to her son.
“She said, ‘Oh, you take care of Shaemus. I got this,’” Monique Farmer said. “I started crying right in the middle of the store.”
The woman was not the only good Samaritan to step forward and offer to replace the remaining tools.
State Rep. Karl Ward, R-Dedham, who is also president and CEO of Nickerson & O’Day Inc. Constructors, had contacted Sam Farmer earlier in January and obtained a list of needed tools. Then on Feb. 4, he called and left a message saying he had purchased them all and wanted to deliver them on Feb. 6.
Sam Farmer called Ward back Feb. 5, explained about the woman’s generosity just a few days earlier, and said that he did not feel right accepting another tool donation.
“We’ve been extra blessed and the community reached out and we have everything,” Sam Farmer recalled telling Ward.
Ward was gracious about the situation, Sam Farmer said.
“The important thing is … the whole community came together,” Ward said when contacted by the BDN on Feb. 5.
Ward said he plans to return the tools he purchased. If any aren’t returnable, he will “try to find some way to use them,” he said.
He was happy to learn that more than one person in Maine was willing to come to the Farmers’ aid.
“I’m privileged to live in a state where I’m not the only one to do that,” Ward said.