When a burglar stole Joshua Kaufman’s laptop, the police wouldn’t help him find it – so he turned to the Internet.
“I came home late on a Monday night in March, and someone had broken into my apartment through my window,” Kaufman, an Oakland, Calif. resident, told the Daily News. The thief made off with his MacBook, his Kindle, and a few pieces of jewelry, stuffed into a computer bag.
Kaufman called the police who filed a report on the incident, but they quickly shelved the case as a low priority. Luckily, he also remembered he had installed a security program on his computer called “Hidden,” which works to track a stolen device by triangulating its location and taking photographs with the computer’s camera.
He didn’t see anything for a few days after activating the program, but then he hit the jackpot.”The following Thursday I started getting images and location information,” he said. “I was amazed. I was like, this thing actually works!”
“Hidden” captured a series of images of a man using the stolen computer – snapping him riding in a car, browsing Middle Eastern YouTube music videos, changing the device’s administrative profile, and even typing in his work email address to access a Facebook account.
Using this information, Kaufman was able to tie the man to a cab company affiliated with the email address he entered, and pinpoint his location to within just a few blocks. “I was excited, honestly,” Kaufman said, thinking he’d cracked the case and police would be able to “nail him.” But they brushed the evidence off, explaining they didn’t have the manpower to pursue it despite the leads.
Frustrated, Kaufman posted the pictures online to a Tumblr blog called “This Guy Has My Macbook,” which quickly drew thousands of fans and Twitter followers. “It feels like the power of the Internet is on my side,” he said.
Soon he was flooded with requests from media outlets who also contacted the police, forcing them to take a second look. “They said, we’re really sorry you fell through the cracks,” Kaufman said Tuesday night, after he was finally contacted by Officer Holly Joshi, the Oakland police department’s director of public relations…
After two months of ignoring Kaufman’s information, Oakland police kicked the search into high gear on Tuesday night and were able to nab the man caught on camera.
The police department’s excuse is the same everywhere. Mostly crap.
The information provided was sufficient for an arrest. There was nothing additional needed when they finally got round to grabbing this punk.