When I tell people I love my Kindle, I’m being only slightly metaphorical; I really do love the thing. Or at the very least, I really, really like it. Heck, there times when it almost feels like an extension of my very body—an extra limb or digit, if you will.

But I know where to draw the line. An e-reader is a replaceable inanimate object, after all. Which is why for me—and, I would suspect, for the rest of you—that line begins and ends with the word “homicide.” But try telling that to the Maryland man mentioned in reporter Mike Rosenwald’s Washington Post column on October 9: After two teenagers—at least one of them armed—yanked the man’s Kindle out of his hands while he was reading it on the street, the guy actually chased after them. The teens fired two shots as they hustled to their getaway car, with the Kindle owner in hot pursuit. And if that’s not unbelievable enough for you, get this: Our hero was actually hit and run over by the teens’ vehicle as they sped off into the sunset.

A reporter for The Maryland Gazette seems to have been responsible for breaking the story of the Kindle-napping. As for whether the Kindle crooks were ever nabbed, or whether the device was ever recovered and returned: We have no idea.

If any of you Washingtonians out there happen to know how this story ended, we’d love to hear about it.

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  1. I like my Kindle, but I am quite sure that my insurance would cover the cost of a replacement. Also, since the books would not technically be lost to me, it wouldn’t be terribly inconvenient to get them on a new device.

  2. I worked one summer doing window air conditioning installation and repair–ten hour days for six days a week in hot, humid Myrtle Beach, SC. We had a rule that if one of those heavy units started to fall, we didn’t worry about it. We just got out of the way. It wasn’t worth a week in the hospital or a permanently damaged back.

    The same, I believe, is a good rule for all our digital gadgets. No Kindle, no iPad, no iPhone is worth getting shot and ending up in a wheelchair for life.

    That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do something. There a lots of things we can do to make theft less likely, including where you read that Kindle and how you hold it. Petty thieves almost always go for the easiest target. Make yourself a hard target. It’s better to look mean and tough before you’re robbed than act tough (but foolish) after you’re robbed.

  3. It isn’t just the physical Kindle that was stolen.

    There would probably be some inconvenience involved, in that the Kindle owner must now cancel his Amazon account and open a new one. Otherwise the thieves could buy tons of books on his Kindle. With enough hacking skills, they could probably extract the account information and then buy physical objects on Amazon.com.

    And explaining all this to Amazon would be a chore, and even if they believed and decided to help him by moving all his purchased books to the new account, it would take time.

    I still wouldn’t risk my life, but I’d be more depressed and worried about it than if they just stole my iPod or something.

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