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The police had been looking for the snatch thief for the past two weeks. Rupert was the snatch thief. (This is a question which tests students on synthesis of sentences.)

Where I live, the second sentence refers to the fact that Rupert was the snatch thief. I wonder whether native speakers interpret it that way.

I have joined above underlined sentences as follows and wonder which sentence is correctly joined? If neither, how should the sentences be joined? Thanks.

Rupert was the snatch thief, whom the police had been looking for the past two weeks.

Rupert, whom the police had been looking for for the past two weeks, was the snatch thief.

Last edited by Lionel Koh; 11/13/13 08:15 AM.
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Could somebody please help?

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The police had been looking for the snatch thief for the past two weeks. Then Rupert was found to be the snatch thief.

But remember, Lionel.
Rupert is innocent until proven guilty by a jury of his peers.
Is not your world the same?

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Rupert is PRESUMED innocent till found guilty.

I'd go with:

Rupert was the snatch thief that the police had been looking for the past two weeks.

No comma and that instead of whom. This is a good old fashioned restrictive clause. Presumably there are other snatch thieves out there that the police were either not looking for or who they had not been looking for for the past two weeks.

The other version assumes the police already knew Rupert was the snatch thief or that he was being sought by the police for some other matter. I'm assuming that the police were looking for the snatch thief and that all you are saying is that that snatch thief was, in fact, Rupert. And if you want to go all high-register I would pied-pipe that whom up front and say:

Rupert, for whom the police had been looking for the past two weeks, was the snatch thief.

If you want good old colloquial English, who is just fine in this context:

Rupert, who the police had been looking for for the past two weeks, was the snatch thief.

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while we're about this, what's the origin of "snatch thief"? it certainly isn't an idiom you hear in American English.

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Google ngrams doesn't find it in British English, either.

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[quote=tsuwm]while we're about this, what's the origin of "snatch thief"? it certainly isn't an idiom you hear in American English. (This link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snatch_theft)defines "snatch thief".)

Last edited by Lionel Koh; 11/17/13 06:59 PM.
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>a criminal act, common in Southeast Asia and South America

yes, I gathered this much, but those are rather geographically separate areas, and this doesn't really address my question as to the origin of the term.

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I, for one, don't see a problem with the phrase snatch thief. It's not used in American, or apparently British, English but it is immediately obvious what it means.

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I don't have a problem with it either, I was just wondering about the origin (he said for the third time).

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