Evil geniuses want your valuables

Stressed undergraduates studying for their exams take retreat in the quiet, safe enclave of their favourite library.

But today historians’ ill-founded trust in the walls of the Seeley Library was smashed by one of Cambridge’s greatest criminal masterminds.

A year after laptops were stolen from the Radzinowicz Criminology Library, and a recent spate of library thefts, cunning thieves have again struck the Sidgwick site.

The library ought to be safe, for it resembles a panopticon: a type of prison where all cells can be viewed from the central watch point, in this case the Seeley’s reception desk.

The omnipresence of the librarians' gaze

The omnipresence of the librarians’ gaze

But this was no simple phone theft.

Dr Linda Washington, the Seeley’s librarian, revealed the thief’s tricks in an email to undergraduates. She said the thief “put down some papers over the phone while he distracted the owner’s attention by starting a conversation.”

Following this, he “picked up the phone with the papers and left the library.” The incident was then reported to security and the police.

I smell bacon

The smell of bacon

The cold-hearted, remorseless tactic has sparked outrage from historians across Cambridge.

Third year historian at Pembroke Joseph Spencer could hardly hold back his fury, telling the Tab: “Appalling, could happen to anyone, I hope the scoundrel is caught.”

Over at Trinity, first year Nicholas Wong responded with a similar sense of trauma. “The thought that a stranger could slip in next to me and steal my belongings makes me shocked. And slightly aroused.”

The obvious, but unobserved, mantra that we ought not to leave our valuables out in the open goes without saying.

When will we learn?