Perhaps one of the worst parts of misplacing a phone or having it stolen is struggling to recover lost data and phone contacts. A case of pickpocketing went viral in China after the phone thief returned the stolen phone's SIM card to the owner along with all the contacts handwritten on several pages.
The unusual story was picked up on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, after the owner of the stolen phone, Zou Bin, went to local media. Zou said the pickpocketing took place after she shared a cab with the thief. Upon realizing his phone had been taken, he took it upon himself to try and appeal to the thief. “Send me back the phone to the address below if you are sensible,” Zou said he wrote in a text message. According to a report by the Telegraph, Zou works in the beverages industry, and a lot of his contacts are high-ranking, well-connected industry leaders. “Look through the contact numbers in my mobile and you will know what trade I am in,” Zou added in the text message, hoping the thief would realize that he was potentially involving himself in something larger than just petty theft.
Days later, Zou told local media that he received a package in the mail with the internal data SIM card as well as 11 pages of carefully handwritten contacts and corresponding numbers that had been saved to the phone. “It would take a while to [just] write [the numbers] from one to 1,000, let alone named and a whole string of digits,” Zou said, astonished that his texts worked. While Zou says he cared mostly about the phone’s information more than the phone itself, and was able to get back the stolen information, he thinks a small bit of justice was likely served: “I suppose [the thief’s] hand has swollen.”
Online, people are calling the mysterious compassionate pickpocket the “conscience of the [robbery] industry,” jokingly comparing him to Lei Feng, a historic figure in the People’s Liberation Army who is widely regarded as a selfless model citizen.
Oddly enough, a separate thief made local Chinese news after a female break-in victim found a handwritten note by her robber. A 22-year-old woman in central Anhui Province was awoken in the middle of the night when her bank called her over some mysterious charges. The woman, only identified as Yu, then realized her credit cards, as well as her laptop and cash, had been stolen. When searching the apartment, police were shocked to find that the thief had left a remorseful apology note to the victim.
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“Please lock your door and windows well before you sleep,” the note said, according to state-run news source Global Times. “Girl, you slept like a rock … life isn’t easy for a single man, and I had to do this to support myself. Please forgive me.”