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Compassionate criminality

This is one of those stories that leaves you wondering if it’s really true. If it turns out to be an urban legend, I’ll update.

It takes place in Sweden, with an account from The Local, a website that posts Swedish news in English.

Professor at a university in northern Sweden comes home, tired from a long day. He dumps his backpack containing all his stuff (wallet, keys, laptop computer) in a stairwell and goes to the building’s laundry room.

A few minutes later, he comes back and the backpack is missing. He wails and goes the cops for help. Shortly thereafter, he returns to the stairwell, only to find the backpack is back.

Except for his laptop, which is gone. He admitted to a local Swedish paper that he was bad at backing up the computer. All his research was tØast.

Fast forward a week. A mysterious envelope arrives in the mail, containing a USB memory stick that had been taken with the computer. On it, the thief had copied all the professor’s personal files and documents.

“I am very happy,” he told the newspaper. “This story makes me feel hope for humanity.”

Call it compassionate criminality. Ah, a thief with a heart of gold. You can practicality hear the screenplay being written on this one as we speak.

Things must be different in Sweden. In 1990, my house was broken into and the thief stole my camera holding film containing once-in-a-lifetime snaps of my children with their grandfather. I’m sad to say I never got one of those mysterious envelopes.

One comment

  1. Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode “The Alternate Side”, where Seinfeld calls the cell phone in his stolen car, speaks to the car thief, Kramer asks the car thief for his gloves in the glove box, and the car thief returns Kramer’s gloves.

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