Student pleads for PhD laptop

00:00, Feb 15 2011

A Zimbabwean student is pleading with the thieves who stole a year's worth of his PhD studies to return it to his Palmerston North home.

Massey University chemistry student Saymore Mutsamwira, 30, discovered his Russell St flat had been burgled when he returned from a friend's house on Saturday.

The thieves forced open a window overnight on Friday or Saturday, and stole his laptop, three external hard drives, a video camera, clothes, and shoes.

"They were seemingly looking for smaller things, the easier to carry things," he said.

"But they may have been disturbed because they disconnected the TV."

Mr Mutsamwira's biggest concern was the theft of the laptop and one of the hard drives, which held all the work he did on his PhD last year.

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The information he lost included research, reports, and experiment results from the first year of his PhD, and the thesis from a Masters degree he obtained in Zimbabwe.

Mr Mutsamwira stored the gear out of sight in different rooms but that failed to stop the thieves from rifling through drawers and cupboards to find it.

"The laptop and hard drive are irreplaceable because the other things can be bought.

"I'd be willing to drop the charges if I can just get the information that's on the laptop."

Mr Mutsamwira hoped the thieves would "find it in their hearts" to return the laptop to his home by putting it on the front step or in the letterbox.

He was happy for it to be dropped off at the Palmerston North police station but said he understood the thieves might think it was a trap.

Neighbours were unaware of the burglary, but police have taken forensic samples from the house, he said.

Mr Mutsamwira was unsure what impact the lost information would have on his PhD, which will take three to four years to complete, as he had not yet contacted his academic supervisor.

He is offering a monetary reward for anyone who has information about the whereabouts of the gear or can return his laptop and hard drive.

Please call Palmerston North police if you can help (06) 351 3760.

Manawatu Standard