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'This city is a haven for theft'
AN AMERICAN has said Oxford is a “haven” for theft after his laptop was snatched in a coffee shop.
Entrepreneur and former lawyer John Moore was in the Blackwell’s Bookshop cafe when he turned his back on his new £1,000 computer.
But when he looked back ten seconds later, the laptop had gone.
Now the businessman – who moved here three years ago – has appealed directly to the thief to give it back.
“I have now got to keep looking over my shoulder,” he said.
“When somebody steals from you, they steal more than just personal property. They take from you your trust in humanity.”
He says people should think twice about sending their children to the city to study.
And he said the laptop that was stolen contained details of a business scheme that could have helped hundreds of thousands of people needing help with paying their fuel bills.
He said: “Be careful, because there are a bunch of guys looking to steal from you.
“I didn’t realise Oxford is such a haven for theft.”
Mr Moore, who has lived in Los Angeles, added: “If I was a parent, I would think twice about sending my child to Oxford.”
The grandfather-of-three said he was moving to a better seat in the cafe when the thief struck last Wednesday at about 2.30pm.
He said: “Obviously somebody had been watching me.”
The laptop contained Mr Moore’s business plan to help those living in fuel poverty pay for heating oil. He said 1.8m people in Britain could benefit from the scheme.
The dad-of-one said: “I felt violated. In that laptop was a lot of work I have done to try to help people.”
And in a message to the thief, he said: “What you are doing is more than stealing somebody’s property – you are stealing their self-worth.
“You are violating their space, because what you are creating is a climate of mistrust.”
The American has been living in the city for three years now while his partner completes a doctorate at the University of Oxford.
He said last year he saw a robber push a young woman off her bike and steal it in Broad Street.
He said: “In a place like Oxford you don’t expect to send your children here and have them mugged in broad daylight.
“As long as there are people out there like the guy who stole my laptop, you have to be diligent.”
Thames Valley Police spokesman Rhianne Pope yesterday said the crime was being investigated, but no arrests had been made.
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