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* {{Inverted|Trope}} in ''VideoGame/CaveStory''. You get your first weapon, the Polar Star, by stealing it from the hermit gunsmith. If you return to him later in the game, he angrily takes the Polar Star back--but calms down when he notices how much wear and tear is on the gun now. Genuinely impressed that you put his weapon to such good use, he upgrades the Polar Star into the Spur and gives it back to you.

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* {{Inverted|Trope}} in ''VideoGame/CaveStory''. You get your first weapon, the Polar Star, by stealing it from the hermit gunsmith. If you return to him later in the game, he angrily takes the Polar Star back--but calms down when he notices how much wear and tear is on the gun now. Genuinely impressed that you put his weapon to such good use, he upgrades the Polar Star into the Spur and gives it back to you. If you traded it away in exchange for the Machine Gun or the Snake and talk to the gunsmith, he laments that someone stole a gun from him and it wasn't even complete yet, hinting at the possiblity of being able to get it upgraded later if you keep it with you.

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[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* The [[spoiler:first]] victim of Case 5 of ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorneySpiritOfJustice'', Archie Buff, was an AdventurerArchaeologist-cum-PhantomThief who stole many valuable historical artifacts. However, he was motivated purely by academic interest, and would return them once his studies were complete, often having restored them in the process.
[[/folder]]

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* In the ''Literature/SixteenThirtyTwo'' novels, Mike Stearns used to steal cars for joyriding, and everyone in the area knew it. But nobody ever officially filed a complaint, because he always washed the cars and refilled the gas tanks before returning them.
* In ''Discworld/ThiefOfTime'', Lobsang steals a witches' broom to get to Ankh-Morpork in time to do something about the Glass Clock. At the end of the book he uses the time-altering powers of the Time Monks to make the broom newer than it was before returning it.

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* In ''Literature/EarthquakeWeather'', fugitive Cody steals a car, picking one that's a few decades old because it's easier to hotwire. She does some work on it while it's in her hands, so when the owner eventually gets it back it's in better condition than it was when she stole it.


* PlayedForLaughs in a ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' movie. Bender swaps Leela's engagement ring with a fake, but after examining the stolen ring, he realizes that the replacement he made is actually more valuable. He shrugs it off, considering it his gift to Leela.
** And again when [[ItMakesSenseInContext Fry gets his hands back from the Robot Devil]].
--->'''Fry:''' And what did you do to my ''nails''?
--->'''Robot Devil:''' I ''cleaned'' them.

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* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'':
** In "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings", Fry switches hands with the Robot Devil, but is eventually forced to switch them back.
--->'''Fry:''' And what did you do to my ''nails''?\\
'''Robot Devil:''' I ''cleaned'' them.
**
PlayedForLaughs in a ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' movie. ''Bender's Big Score'': Bender swaps Leela's engagement ring with a fake, but after examining the stolen ring, he realizes that the replacement he made is actually more valuable. He shrugs it off, considering it his gift to Leela.
** And again when [[ItMakesSenseInContext Fry gets his hands back from the Robot Devil]].
--->'''Fry:''' And what did you do to my ''nails''?
--->'''Robot Devil:''' I ''cleaned'' them.
Leela.


* At the end of ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'', the Citadel's automated Confiscating Field takes and disintegrated all of Gordon's weapons...just to accidentally power up the Gravity Gun when it tries to destroy it, turning it into the [[EleventhHourSuperpower weapon Gordon cleans up the entier Citadel with]].

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* At the end of ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'', the Citadel's automated Confiscating Field takes and disintegrated all of Gordon's weapons...just to accidentally power up the Gravity Gun when it tries to destroy it, turning it into the [[EleventhHourSuperpower weapon Gordon cleans up the entier entire Citadel with]].


* Michael and the rest of his TrueCompanions from ''Series/BurnNotice'' often have to steal cars as part of their various plans to help their [[VictimOfTheWeek Client of the week]]. While those cars aren't always improved by the crew using them, it is revealed several seasons into the show that they've been having Michael's mother Madeline "find" all these missing cars and report their location to the police in order to make sure they get returned to their owners, usually no more than a day or two after taking them.

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* Michael and the rest of his TrueCompanions from ''Series/BurnNotice'' often have to steal cars as part of their various plans to help their [[VictimOfTheWeek Client of the week]]. While those cars aren't always improved by the crew using them, it is revealed several seasons into the show that they've been having Michael's mother Madeline "find" all these missing cars and report their location to the police in order to make sure they get returned to their owners, usually no more than a day or two after taking them. She eventually wins an award.


* In ''VideoGame/RhythmThiefAndTheEmperorsTreasure'', the elusive [[PhantomThief Phantom R]] is infamously known for stealing from famous art galleries (usually the Louvre), but the biggest mystery rivalling his true identity is why he bothers to return an art piece he recently stole. [[spoiler:It's later revealed that as Raphael, he came up with the Phantom R persona after finding out that his missing father had a secret vault in their apartment which is full of famous artwork. The reason for this was because Raphael's father was an expert in forgery who made perfect replications of said artwork which he would later steal and swap for sale on the black market to pay for Raphael's medical bills. As Phantom R years later, Raphael planned to steal back the forgeries and return the true articles in their place.]]



* In ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'', the Hive takes over the Titans' (filthy) Tower. By the time the Titans retake it, the Hive have cleaned it up and alphabetized their [=CDs=]. Beast Boy and Cyborg are appalled, since now they can't find anything, and they were saving [[ItCameFromTheFridge that blue mold]].

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* In ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'', the Hive takes over the Titans' (filthy) Tower. By the time the Titans retake it, the Hive have cleaned it up and alphabetized their [=CDs=]. Beast Boy and Cyborg are appalled, appalled since now they can't find anything, and they were saving [[ItCameFromTheFridge that blue mold]].

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* ''Anime/DigimonFrontier'': In episode 15, the Digidestined's D-tectors are stolen by Toucanmon. Two episodes later, they find them in the hands of a Datamon on the Autumn Leaf Fair. Tommy/Tomoki is able to win them back from the Datamon by winning a game for him, and upon doing so learns that Datamon added the Beast Spirit of Ice to his D-Tector.

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* In [[https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/940lya/reddit_whats_the_most_chaotic_good_thing_youve/e3idq6b/ this]] Reddit anecdote, when the user was in grade-school, a bully stole his Game Boy Color with his copy of ''Pokémon Red,'' then gave it back with a Mew added to it through a cheating device.

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* In the ''Literature/JudyMoody'' book ''Judy Moody Gets Famous,'' Judy steals all the broken and damaged dolls from a hospital waiting room/playroom, fixes them up using her personal collection of doll parts, and returns them dressed in miniature hospital gowns and wearing casts. An article is later published in the newspaper that features the hospital thanking the "Phantom Doll Doctor" for their help.

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* {{Inverted|Trope}} in ''VideoGame/CaveStory''. You get your first weapon, the Polar Star, by stealing it from the hermit gunsmith. If you return to him later in the game, he angrily takes the Polar Star back--but calms down when he notices how much wear and tear is on the gun now. Genuinely impressed that you put his weapon to such good use, he upgrades the Polar Star into the Spur and gives it back to you.


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* ''WesternAnimation/DanVs:'' In [[Recap/DanVsS1E18DanVsDan "Dan vs. Dan"]], when Dan finally gets his life and apartment back from the imposter, he's thankful that the Fake Dan cleaned up the place. A quick cut to ten minutes later, [[TrashOfTheTitans and the apartment is somehow just as messy as before.]]

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** When Michael's family leaves, Jimmy takes his car and some of his cash. Much later in the game, Jimmy returns the car with a few modifications.

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* Feedle in ''The Goblins of Film/{{Labyrinth}}'' makes sure to have Gurdy the Burnisher polish up the goods he steals, and returns them to their owner with a poetic little note. Even if he murdered their owner in cold blood.


--> "Tomorrow, though? You'll be the captain of the ship where then thousand dead people came back to life."

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--> "Tomorrow, though? You'll [[spoiler:You'll be the captain of the ship where then ten thousand dead people came back to life."]]"

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