The renowned English hospitality was nowhere to be found for one Vineyard man recently, when the laptop computer he was using to store research for a book he is writing about his family history was stolen from a parked car outside his family’s U.K. home.
William Pinney, 62, of Edgartown, was staying with relatives in Burrington, England, when his IBM laptop was stolen from a Renault Modus parked outside the family home on the evening of June 19. Mr. Pinney had been using the computer to store data for a book he has been working on for 16 years about his family genealogy. Mr. Pinney had been doing research at the British Museum and the Somerset records office; he was looking into his family’s ancestry with a focus on the period between 1066 and 1300.
The disturbing theft of the laptop, however, was countered nicely by the civil response from the British police department in Avon and Somerset, which issued a press release on the incident that was published on the police Web site. Quite different from those that might be generated from any local police department in this country, the press release reads more like a news article with a lead paragraph (who, what, where and when) and several quotes from the victim.
In the release, Mr. Pinney said he is offering a reward of 2,500 pounds sterling (US$5,000) for the return of the data on the computer and 300 pounds (US$600) for the return of the laptop. “I would shake the thief by the hand, buy him a pint and think he was the greatest guy in the world if he would just return it to me,” Mr. Pinney concluded in the press release.