Laptop Thief Caught Thanks To Spy Program, Twitter, And Eventually, The Oakland PD

After Joshua Kaufman’s Macbook was stolen from his apartment in Oakland, he notified the police. Due to budget cutbacks, Oakland PD don’t respond to many non-violent crimes anymore like burglary, grand theft, and car wrecks, so initially they couldn’t help him. Then Josh activated a tracking program on it called Hidden. Like other similar programs, it gave him real-time remote access to his computer, letting him take pictures using its webcam and capture screenshots. He set up a Tumblr to post them, his story went viral, he gave the tracking info to the police, and they ended up trapping the thief and getting the laptop back to Josh.

After his story got a lot of pickup, the Oakland PD PR director noticed and reached out to Josh. To get an idea of how rare that is, consider that Josh told papers that the PR director told him that the force has 2400 reports of theft a month and is only able to conduct 3 investigations.

He then worked with them and handed over data the laptop had gathered. Josh tweeted, “The police used my evidence (email which pointed to a cab service) that he was a driver and tricked him into picking them up. Nice work OPD!”

One hour after that, Josh tweeted, “This just in: MacBook acquired by the OPD! The officer was so kind on the phone: “It’s these kinds of partnerships that make things happen.”

ThisGuyHasMyMacbook [Official Site]
Burglary victim remotely controls his stolen laptop to photograph thief – and then hands image to police who arrest him [Daily Mail]
California man Joshua Kaufman helps catch laptop thief with computer spy program, Tumblr blog posts [New York Daily News]

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