Manuscripts Stolen from Writers' Grotto

By Matt Baume
|  Monday, Nov 1, 2010  |  Updated 11:15 AM PDT
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Manuscripts Stolen from Writers' Grotto

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Dramatic re-enactment.

It sounds like something out of a spy novel: a grotto infiltrated, laptops stolen, documents purloined, a folder left behind as a clue.

But it's all true: someone broke into The Writers' Grotto, a haven for San Francisco wordsmiths, and made off with two laptops containing a variety of projects.

The theft has most observers baffled, since the stolen laptops were pretty old. Neither owner was working on anything particularly fraught that would make them a target. Most likely, it was just one of those random urban crimes.

So far, the only clue is a manila folder left behind. Inside: a printout of a job opening for a forklift operator.

Fortunately, most of the work was backed up, so America has been spared the loss of its next great literary masterpiece. The Grotto dates back about 15 years, when three writers established a co-working space. After surviving the dot-com boom and bust, they settled into a building near South Park and turned it into a cozy nook, with each tenant getting their own office.

A friendly, laid-back vibe dominates, with about 45 writers in residence. Hopefully this unexpected intrusion won't damage the pleasant atmosphere. Police issued several recommendations for avoiding burglary: control access to keys, fence-in your perimeter, install bright lights, and keep doors and windows in good repair.

The mysterious theft comes at a busy time for local law enforcement. The SFPD recently apprehended two burglars who struck affluent areas. Five truckloads of incriminating evidence were recovered, including entertainment systems, electronic devices, power tools, fishing poles and jewelry, and drug paraphernalia.

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