• Sweden's news in English

Swedish professor rejoices over laptop thief's memory stick miracle

The Local · 15 Oct 2010, 12:18

Published: 15 Oct 2010 12:18 GMT+02:00

"I am very happy," the unnamed professor told the local Västerbottens-Kuriren newspaper.

"This story makes me feel hope for humanity."

The professor, who wished to remain anonymous, is one of the most successful in his field, according to the newspaper.

Having recently had surgery, the professor could not be bothered to drop off his backpack in his apartment before first going to the laundry room.

He instead left the bag behind a door in the stairwell, thinking it would be safe for a few minutes.

But when he returned a short time later, the bag was missing, along with the computer, keys, calendar and other documents inside.

The professor was most upset by the loss of his calendar.

"It is my life. I have documented everything in it that has happened in the last 10 years and beyond," he told the newspaper.

He then called the police to report the incident and blocked the credit cards which were also in the bag.

But when he went down to the stairwell a short time later, he couldn't believe his eyes.

"The backpack was there again. With all the papers, calendar and credit cards. It was just the computer that was missing," he explained.

"Unfortunately, I have been bad at backing up my computer."

Resigned to having lost his computer, the professor was nevertheless happy to have the rest of his belongings back.

But the considerate thief had yet one more surprise in store.

About a week after the theft, the professor returned home to find an envelope containing a USB memory stick which had been taken along with the computer.

The professor was shocked to discover the thief had copied all the documents and personal files from his laptop to the memory storage device, a process which likely took hours.

All things considered, the professor is delighted at the outcome, despite the loss of his computer. He hopes, however, that other thieves can learn to be as compassionate.

"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 told the newspaper.

Besides the computer, the only other item that has not yet been returned is the professor's library card.

"Perhaps the thief needs to improve him or herself," the professor joked.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

13:10 October 15, 2010 by joshr
I left a camera on a bus once in the Czech Republic. A few months later, I received a few CDs in the mail with all of the photos on it.

Even criminals have hearts sometimes... :)
13:38 October 15, 2010 by Sam1
Hahaha...Lovely stories...Funny and weird...Joshr bad things happen to good people but always end up superficial like money or stuff...But i know your pictures are more dear than money...

Might be the same theif : P was in czech tourism...and took your camera...How did he know your address??

One theif in America went into a house he heard a baby crying he took the milk warmed and fed the baby...then ran away...Hehe
14:07 October 15, 2010 by Frobobbles
The thief is of course one of the professors neighbours.
15:22 October 15, 2010 by fridayz
@Frobobbles or students!
17:08 October 15, 2010 by spo10
the thief is a computer guy! he understood the contents and backed it up for the professor. maybe he's a neighbor thief? techno thief ftw! haha
17:17 October 15, 2010 by ngecenk
hahaha to be honest this is a very generous thief.
18:01 October 15, 2010 by joshr
My address was in the bag.
19:28 October 15, 2010 by tuerd1982
Wow, interesting. Lucky professor.
22:24 October 15, 2010 by wxman
Awww, a good criminal. Let's all rejoice! Thank you so very much for not effing me up too much! I'm truly grateful.
00:35 October 16, 2010 by Potrero
I hope he scanned the memory stick for viruses.
01:15 October 16, 2010 by mojofat
He didn't have a backup of his data? What? Come on dude...back up drives are cheeeeap. Especially if you're carrying around a laptop there's no reason to not have your data backed up.
02:41 October 16, 2010 by laters
He must have had a really crappy password.
10:21 October 16, 2010 by Pacey
The thief most probably is someone who is doing research in the professor's discipline so now he has got all this treasure trove of information. It wont be too difficult to catch him as the professor says the library card hasnt been returned. Maybe the thief used the Prof's lib card to login from somewhere so that can be traced I reckon
20:18 October 16, 2010 by Sam1
Neighbour theif or not!!! In sweden most neighbours dont know each other for years :-) so he is just a theif...

a Neighbour in Kiruna is same as any one in Malmö...because you dont see him hardly, and no visits or any kind of friendly relations...So he is as good as a person in China :P
06:39 October 17, 2010 by Andersonville
*Thief * ....remember this rule: "I before E except after C"

A great story!
20:30 October 17, 2010 by Hedley
Stockholm Syndrome?
05:53 October 18, 2010 by tommygun77
three years hard work fits on a usb drive? What kind of hard work is this?? Typical academic 'hard work'.
02:01 October 19, 2010 by word
@tommygun77 - the original source TT clearly states that the professor got more than one USB drives in the mail: "USB-minnen" one USB memory stick would be "ett USB-minne".
02:05 October 19, 2010 by Jack1a
Larry Niven foretold of something very similar in his short stories regarding "flatlanders". A culture where, because of very high population density decriminalizes non-violent theft of goods from individuals: "pickpocketing". His pilfered wallet is returned, in person, almost immediately because it doesn't identify him in an earth format.

It's the decent thing to do.
Today's headlines
300 Swedes have left to fight in Middle East
Isis fighters in the Anbar province, Iraq. Photo: Ritsaiph/Wikicommon

300 Swedes have left to fight in Middle East

2 hours ago

According to Säpo, the Swedish security service, 300 Swedes have joined extremist terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq over the last three years.

Swedish politician attacked by ‘cute’ weasel
A weasel unconnected to the incident. Photo: TT

Swedish politician attacked by ‘cute’ weasel

4 hours ago

Moderate Party councillor, Annika Tännström, was out jogging on Friday just outside Kungälv, north of Gothenburg, when she was attacked by a weasel.

Clinton keen to see Kravitz's Swedish split
Lenny Kravitz onstage. Photo: TT

Clinton keen to see Kravitz's Swedish split

1 day ago

When Lenny Kravitz's leather trousers split onstage in Stockholm in August to reveal his manhood, few might have imagined that the incident would eventually impinge on the US presidential campaign.

Refugee crisis
More refugee protests at Sweden-Finland border
Finnish anti-refugee protesters. Photo: Robert Nyholm/TT

More refugee protests at Sweden-Finland border

1 day ago

Two demonstrations passed off peacefully just across the Swedish border in the Finnish town of Tornio on Saturday as 100 people marched in favour of open borders while 300 protested against more refugees being allowed into Finland.

Refugee crisis
Swedish taxi drivers 'ripping off refugees'
Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Swedish taxi drivers 'ripping off refugees'

1 day ago

An investigation by Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet has discovered that many Swedish taxi drivers are charging refugees up to 15 times more than the standard fare for some journeys.

The Local List
Ten phrases you'll only hear at work in Sweden
Sweden has strong gender equality in the workplace. Photo: Cecilia Larsson/Image Bank Sweden

Ten phrases you'll only hear at work in Sweden

February 18, 2015

Sweden's global reputation as a hub for gender equality, efficiency and work-life balance can also result in some baffling conversations for those new to doing business with Swedes. Here's The Local's guide to the ten catchphrases all foreign workers need to know.

Warning of heavy wind and snow in Sweden
Snow in northern Sweden last month. Photo: Malin Hagberg

Warning of heavy wind and snow in Sweden

2 days ago

Swedes were warned to seek shelter as heavy winds and snow moved in across northern parts of the country on Friday. But further south summer was set to stick around over the weekend.

Refugee crisis
Funding questioned as refugee numbers rocket
Refugees at central station in Malmö. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Funding questioned as refugee numbers rocket

2 days ago

Sweden's government has promised to boost funding for refugees in its next budget, but with its forecast for new arrival numbers in 2015 set to be reached this month, official calculations are being called into question.

The Local investigates
Swedes bite into online McDonald's bookings
The Maestro Classic burger. Photo: The Local

Swedes bite into online McDonald's bookings

2 days ago

Tech-savvy Swedes have rushed to book evening meal slots at McDonald's branches around the country, as the global fast food giant tests the idea for the first time.

Swedish study: higher cancer risk for tall people
Swedes are among the tallest people in the world. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Swedish study: higher cancer risk for tall people

2 days ago

Being as tall as people in the Nordics is linked to a higher risk of cancer, especially for women, according to fresh research drawn from physical and health data for five million people in Sweden.

Sponsored Article
How to help expat students feel at home
Meet the winners of Sweden's 'alternative Nobel' prize
Sponsored Article
Swedes 'know more about sex' than Brits
WHAT'S ON: Sweden's top networking events this week
The secret to more travel for less
Blog updates

2 October

Editor’s blog, October 2nd (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi everyone, If you have been reading about Sweden in the international media this week, you would..." READ »


24 September

Checklist for your Swedish writing (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej hej! I thought I should share a checklist that I have made for my students. Enjoy! Spelling Did..." READ »

Rise in wolf attacks on animals in central Swedish town
Sponsored Article
11 reasons students pick Stockholm University
People-watching: September 30th
Sponsored Article
#LifeChangingOptions: Change lives with birth control
IN PICTURES: Sweden's new notes
How much do you know about Sweden's Cinnamon Bun Day?
DEBATE: Is joining a Swedish startup always worth the risk?
Why Sweden has launched sex books for disabled teens
Refugee protestors clash at Sweden's Lapland border
Property of the week: Mellby, Simrishamn
Sweden top for cancer survival rates
DEBATE: Can moving to Sweden make you more feminist?
IN PICTURES: What the supermoon looked like in Sweden
People-watching: September 25th-27th
Should empty jails be used to house refugees in Sweden?
Swedish man sues after being blamed for elk attack on wife
Sponsored Article
Rugby in Scandinavia: an expat love story
Seven autumn perks in Sweden
What does the Swedish king do when his morning paper doesn't arrive?
Why is it harder to make friends in Sweden than in other expat hubs?
People-watching: September 23rd
Berlin scouts Stockholm tech talent
Why is Charlie Hebdo being published in Swedish?
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at: