Stolen Macbook recovered via tweets, photos of thief

Laptop theft victim supplies cops with the evidence necessary to nab the thief and recover the hardware

Another stolen laptop has been recovered with the one-two punch of laptop recovery software -- which took covertly took photos of the thief, a blog on Tumblr, and Twitter.

Joshua Kaufman, a software programmer, got his laptop back after setting up the terrifically named This Guy Has My MacBook tumblelog. Kaufman had reported the MacBook stolen to the police on March 21, but two months later still hadn't heard anything about the case.

It was a good thing Kaufman had previously installed Hidden, laptop tracking software for Mac. With the software he was able to remotely gather evidence about the thief, including location information and photos -- some with screenshots of the thief logging into his Google account.

It was only after Kaufman started tweeting about the blog and the case on Twitter, however, that things started moving along. The Twitter community re-tweeted his message thousands of times, apparently, and Good Morning America picked up the story. Finally the Oakland Police Department contacted Kaufman about following up on his case, and the laptop thief was arrested that evening. Kaufman got his MacBook back the next morning.

Several stories have emerged lately of people using Twitter and software to catch laptop thieves (and even publicaly shame them). A college student earlier this year recovered his laptop using online backup software BackBlaze, and last month another person recovered his MacBook using the free Prey software and help from Twitter users.

If you haven't already, it's a great time to install laptop recovery software and perhaps start building a Twitter following.

Follow Melanie Pinola (@melaniepinola) and Today@PCWorld on Twitter.

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Melanie Pinola

PC World (US online)
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