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Crime-Free Island Rocked by Burglary

The tiny island town of Colonsay, Scotland (population 130), is home to a smattering of small businesses. The lone school has eleven students. There is one doctor and two churches, but no resident minister. But most important of all, there are no policemen. That is because the town of Colonsay has been crime-free for as long as anyone can remember. Residents never lock the doors of their homes and often leave their keys inside the ignition of their parked cars.

But in the fall of 2006, something changed. James Harvie, a visiting construction worker, snuck into an elderly resident's home and stole 60 pounds (about $113 US). When the resident became aware of the theft, Harvie was automatically the first suspect because of his status as an outsider. The islanders kept him under a watchful eye before shipping him out on the next ferry back to Scotland, where he was promptly arrested and fired by his employer.

"There are only three boats a week, so there's not exactly a quick getaway," said the shopkeeper at Colonsay's only general store, who gave his name as Mike. But Mike does not believe that this microcosm of the Fall will affect Colonsay as much as Adam and Eve's sin affected all of us. "We'll just carry on as before on the island," he said. "We have a great faith in human nature, which remains."

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