Thief Steals Computer... Then Sends Its Owner USB Stick With All His Lost Data

from the how-nice dept

Losing a computer can be quite traumatic, especially if you're not good about backing up your data. So, imagine the surprise from a professor who had his laptop stolen (without having backed up his data), only to find a week later that the thief had (quite considerately) copied all of the professor's personal files to a USB device (stolen with the computer) and sent the USB stick with the data back to the professor's home. It appears the thief tried to be as considerate as possible, in that while he had originally stolen the professors full backpack, including wallet, credit cards, keys and more, he later returned it all, except for the computer (and somewhat inexplicably, the professor's library card). As the professor noted, this certainly seems like an awful lot of effort to go through. None of this, of course, excuses the thief for stealing the laptop in the first place, but it's quite a story. Of course, the professor remains unnamed, so there's a part of me that wonders how true the whole story is in the first place...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 18th, 2010 @ 11:27am

    Why...

    ...is it that the stories we hear about common criminals make them sound twice as nice as the stories we hear about collection societies that confiscate people's property?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    TPBer, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 11:51am

    Well...

    This guy will never make it to the second level at "Pirate School", what was he thinking.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Tor (profile), Oct 18th, 2010 @ 11:51am

    I searched for the story and found it covered in what I would regard as a trustworthy local newspaper (article is in Swedish), so even though it seems unlikely with so considerate thieves my best guess is that the story is true. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the newspaper.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 11:53am

    Re: Why...

    Double negative infinity?!?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Oct 18th, 2010 @ 12:02pm

    You just never know

    Many years ago (almost 40) I was hitchhiking in Mexico back to the US. I got a ride with a shirt salesman for several hundred miles. When I got out, I had left my wallet (with passport, money, driver's license, etc) in his car. As a result I had to sneak across the border back into the US (between Texas and New Mexico), and then hitchhiked back home in Colorado - it took me two weeks since I detoured through California to visit family and friends. When I got home, my wallet was waiting for me, with everything intact, including the money that was in different denominations than when I lost it! :-)

    So, maybe the thief REALLY needed a laptop and had no $$ to get it. As a result, he steals from someone who can afford (hopefully) to replace it, but knowing that data is usually more valuable than its container, was considerate enough to return that to the owner. The professor got back what he really needed (the data) and the thief (who will hopefully pay back society when able) got what he needed. As for the library card, he probably needed to check out a book on computer programming... :-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 12:11pm

    I'm waiting for the record execs to trumpet this post as "see Mike glorifies theft!" ... in 3. 2

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Oct 18th, 2010 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Why...

    Criminals don't have law degrees :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Why...

    Because we're all royally screwed?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Unknowledgable Geek, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 12:27pm

    Stolen

    I had a backup stolen once and all the artwork was returned. Everything else was stolen, but that is all replaceable items. The artwork that was not replaceable was all returned. Well, found by the cops on the roadside.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 12:27pm

    Re: Why...

    Because you don't expect "real" thieves to be that nice whereas most people aren't surprised that there are collection societies that have found or paid for legal methods of confiscating other people's property.

    You don't get rich by being nice to people.

    I've heard stories of petty criminals being nice. A guy told me he got robbed and asked the robber if the robber would just take the cash since it was a pain to have to get a new license and cancel credit cards and the thief took the cash and gave him back the wallet. Of course it's second hand, so I don't know if it's true, but it's at least believable.

    I've never heard stories of collective societies being nice, even to their own members. In fact, quite the contrary.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    nunya_bidness, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 12:28pm

    free_laptop

    good one prof

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    ZANE, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 1:05pm

    apparently 2 wrongs make a left

    LOL ROFLMAO!!! this is sooooooo fucking "irony." remember kids 2 wrongs don't make a right they make a left.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 1:25pm

    reminds me of a story that was popular in Montreal in the 90s:

    some guy gets his brand new Cadillac STS stolen, then a couple of days later its returned, and he finds an envelope from the supposedly thief, apologizing to borrowing the car and offering him a full tank of gaz and opera tickets.

    when the man returns from the opera he finds his house was robbed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    V (profile), Oct 18th, 2010 @ 1:27pm

    Re: apparently 2 wrongs make a left

    and when running from cops, it is better to make lefts then rights. I had a cop tell me that most people make right turns when they lost sight of the cop.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Kitt, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 1:31pm

    So did he happen to put his return address on the package?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    MarksAngel (profile), Oct 18th, 2010 @ 1:33pm

    I once accidentally left my cigarette case at a bus stop down town. There was a a full pack of Marlboro's in it along with my $20.00 zippo and my identification card and $30.00 in it. 2-3 weeks later I received it in the mail, everything was inside it and there was no return address.

    I know it's not the same as having something stolen, but this story reminded me of that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Oct 18th, 2010 @ 2:25pm

    Eh, I've had my wallet stolen out of my truck before and the thief was considerate enough to mail everything that wasn't spendable back to me. Of course by then I'd already stood in lines for most of a day and had everything replaced but whatever. Apparently there are degrees of assholitude.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    interval, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 2:25pm

    Re: Re: Why...

    Thieves aren't nice. Just rats. And some are bigger than others (Bernie Madoff)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Gwiz, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 2:26pm

    Re: apparently 2 wrongs make a left

    ... and two lefts make a U-turn

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Mojo, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 2:28pm

    MarksAngel: I find it interesting that you felt the need to say "Marlboros" and "zippo" as opposed to simply saying it was full of cigarettes and a $20 lighter.

    Brand names important to you? As if the fact that they were Marlboros and a Zippo made it more valuable?

    I actually like this story, it's the way thieves should be. If I was stealing a laptop *because I needed a laptop,* I would def do the same.

    Same with stealing a wallet - 99% of them do it for the cash, so why not send back the rest? Would make getting robbed a whole lot less of a pain in the ass and on a karmic scale, probably helps :-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 2:51pm

    Re: Assholitude Scale

    You should trademark the "Assholitude Scale". Probably a good thing to use going forward.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    PandaMarketer (profile), Oct 18th, 2010 @ 3:46pm

    Re: apparently 2 wrongs make a left

    ...but 3 lefts make a right.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), Oct 18th, 2010 @ 4:23pm

    Re: Why...

    Thieves at least have the decency to steal from you behind your back.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 4:53pm

    Re: apparently 2 wrongs make a left

    two wongs make a family buffet

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 4:54pm

    Re: apparently 2 wrongs make a left

    two wrights make an airplane

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    MarksAngel (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 12:37am

    Re:

    No it's not the name brand that's important it's the cost of those particular brands I was alluding too. Which let's face it are more expensive than generic smokes and a bic lighter. The fact is somebody found them and didn't think "Oh well she can obviously afford more" and decide to keep it. They were kind enough to send them back regardless.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    rebrad (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 5:07am

    Very Polite

    I think it was very polite of the thieve to at least provide the owner his data. Sort of reminds me of a holiday in southern France where some gypsies broke into my car and stole my CD/Radio. They broke the smallest window in the car and carefully removed the CD/Radio with no cut wires or ripped dash. They even removed the CD, I guess because it wasn't their kind of music.

    You have to hand it to them for being true professionals. It could have been worse. They could have plastered all the data all over the internet. Count your blessings.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    ComputerAddict (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 8:51am

    Not a Thief

    Okay Here's My guess,

    Student of said professor overslept missed his final paper deadline and the professor refused to take it late. The student then steals the professor's backpack, inserts his final paper into the "Personal Files" and then returns all the files back to the professor. He keeps the laptop as not to raise suspicion when everything was returned. And the Library card was merely a decoy to draw attention away from the professor's personal files.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This