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.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags securityGoogletwittermac laptophardware security components

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Melanie Pinola

PC World (US online)
Show Comments



Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?