Thief with a conscience returns files after stealing laptop

A Swedish professor says his faith in humanity has been partly restored after the thief that stole his laptop returned all his files on a USB stick. The professor from Umea University in northern Sweden said he was “very happy” that, despite having his computer taken, all its contents were returned to him the following week on his own portable memory stick.

The professor, who asked to remain anonymous but is one of the most successful academics in his field – according to local newspaper Vasterbottens-Kuriren – said, “This story makes me feel hope for humanity.”

In an interview with the newspaper, the professor said that having recently undergone surgery, he left his laptop bag, containing his computer, keys, credit cards, a dairy and other documents, behind a door in the stairwell of his building while quickly collecting his washing from the laundry room. When he returned a few minutes later, however, the bag was gone.

Expecting never to see his belongings again, the university lecturer said he was most upset by the loss of his personal diary. “It is my life. I have documented everything in it that has happened in the last 10 years and beyond,” he said.

After calling the police and cancelling his cards, the man was amazed to find his bag had been placed back in the stairwell a short time later. “The backpack was there again, with all the papers, calendar and credit cards. It was just the computer that was missing,” he explained.

After such an extraordinary act of ‘generosity’ on behalf of the thief, the professor only wished he had backed up the files on his computer. But just a week later, his prayers were answered when an envelope dropped through the door containing his own USB stick which had been loaded with all his digital documents.

Speaking about his bizarre experience as a victim of crime, the professor said he hopes more thieves will learn to be considerate. “Often when people lose their computers and cameras, it is understandably not the gadget itself that is the most important. The content is often irreplaceable,” he said.

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