The petty crook confessed his actions and regret in writing after finding the wallet with a crisp 50-crown note and running off with it in the all those years ago.
He admitted to being drunk and broke at the time. “I have bitterly regretted what I did and the problem was that I forgot where I had put it,” he wrote.
After finding it by accident he decided it was time to clear his conscience.
The wallet was intact with the original owner’s driving licence inside. The 50-kronor ($7) note had been replaced with 1,000 kronor ($142) to compensate the thief’s actions.
The police were surprised by the admission. “It’s unbelievable and we’ve never come across anything like this before,” said Vansbro police chief Lars Johansson to newspaper Dala Demokraten.
Officers went straight to work in an attempt to trace the owner.
“Unfortunately he is now deceased but we will pass on the wallet and money to his relatives,” Johansson added.