Arts Desk

Philippa Hughes Gets an Apology

Philippa Hughes relates a note that will warm the heart of even the most frozen winter commuter out there.

Back in October, Arts Desk reported that the D.C. art patron was the victim of an attempted purse-snatching. Hughes chased away her attacker, and a plains-clothes police officer grabbed him.

The would-be mugger appears to have had a change of heart during his incarceration. He wrote an apology letter to Hughes, which appears below:

I am writing this letter to let you know that I apologize for what I did. I am truly sorry, I can imagine the pain and trauma I have caused in your life. You have every reason to have negative feelings towards me and to want to see me incarcerated. I am not the type of person that does stuff like that; I am a very likable and unique person with a good heart. I was at a down point in my life when I made the mistake of mugging you but that is still no excuse. I have made myself look like something I’m not. I am very disappointed in myself and embarrassed. While I was incarcerated I thought about what I did every day and that is something I have to live with for the rest of my life. I have suffered a lot while I was in jail and I changed a lot. I know you don’t want to even hear from me but I hope you can take me into consideration and hopefully one day you can find it in your heart to forgive me. And I thank you for taking time out of your day to read this letter. God bless you.

Hughes says she received the letter through the prosecutor's office. She isn't naming her attacker, who signed his letter. Hughes says she is considering writing back.

When Hughes was mugged last fall, Corcoran College of Art + Design professor Lucy Hogg overheard the incident from inside her house. Today, commenting on a Facebook post in which Hughes recounted receiving the letter, Hogg said that she, too, received an apology from a thief. Her purse had been stolen but it resurfaced months later on a beach with an apology note tucked inside. Hogg and Hughes have the makings of an art-crime support group.

Hughes says that she did feel traumatized after the incident but that she welcomed the letter anyway. "I think it's such a nice completion to the story," she says. "That doesn't happen very often."

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