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International Rules: The `stolen' laptop, the panic, the police and the taxi driver ...

From a distraught Cahair O'Kane in Perth agonising on how to explain to The Irish News that their laptop was, er, stolen....

THERE is possibly no more lost feeling than standing outside Target in the middle of Perth on your own, thinking you’d left your laptop and half your worldly possessions sitting in the street for some opportunist to swipe.

If I asked in one shop “have you CCTV?” I asked in 20.

The answers came back negative. But the cameras that sat overhead had to belong to someone.

The man on the desk in Perth police station looked through the glass with a mixture of pity and wonder.

How exactly did you leave that sitting? Can you retrace your steps?

Walked away from the seats we’d been sitting on. Hopped in a taxi. Got back to the apartment in Northbridge and just as we’re opening the front door, it dawns on us.

A dash straight back into town. Every red light in the place against us. Eight, maybe nine minutes. No bag. No witnesses. No chance.

All’s left to do is lodge it with the police and leave it, then start to work out how to file 2,000 words for the day off an iPhone. How to explain to The Irish News that their laptop was, er, stolen.

In my head it was like Fr Ted’s fabrication about how Benson’s whistle came to be in Dougal’s coat pocket.

And then Fr Lennon rings. Or rather, this strange +61 number. On the wife’s phone. Who in Australia has her number?

“Hello. You left your bag in my taxi, your laptop and all.”

We were 50 feet from the police station on our way to buy a new one when the phone rang.

I popped in to save them the hassle but pulled out a few half truths. Someone had miraculously found the bag. It’s not a lie, strictly speaking.

It was a better feeling of relief than getting off the bus at Kelly’s back in the day with a half bottle in you on a Wednesday night and realising there’s no queue at the door, so you don’t have to go in the car park.

The taxi man had not only found the bag in his boot, but had gone to a bit of trouble to find us. In it he found a receipt for Northbridge Medical Centre after we’d taken our daughter Anna there yesterday (she’s ok) and called them, explained the situation and asked for a contact number.

A $90, hour-long round trip in a different taxi to Canning Vale and back was worth every penny. I’ll never slag a taxi driver again.

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