A Calgary man is desperate to get his stolen laptop, with years of work on it, back.

It was stolen from the trunk of his car while he went for a run in Edworthy Park Wednesday night.

John Boldt is pleading for the return of his hard drive, which contains research and notes for the thesis he was writing for his master's degree in history. He only had three chapters left to write before his paper was complete.

Unless he gets it back, Boldt will have to abandon his dream and quit at the University of Calgary.

"It's so many years of my life just thrown away," he says.

Some clothes, cash and credit cards were also stolen. Boldt doesn't care if he gets any of that back, he just wants his computer and hopes the thief does the right thing.

"The computer can be replaced. It's what's on it that can't. Even if they want to save everything on a hard drive and give me that, that's fantastic," he adds.

Police say they're sympathetic to Boldt's plight, but he says determined thieves will find what they're after.

Boldt says if he doesn't get the data back, he won't be able to return to the U of C when classes start next week.

He's offering a cash reward for the return of the laptop, or even just the hard drive.