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Laptop Thieves Outfoxed by Savvy Apple User

Victim runs Back to My Mac and photo apps to catch thief

A pair of thieves apparently messed with the wrong victim when they recently stole flat-screen televisions, iPods, DVDs, computer games, liquor, and two laptops from a shared apartment in White Plains, N.Y. The owner of one of the stolen laptops helped identify the bad guys by remotely accessing her stolen laptop, according to a report in The New York Times.

Kait Duplaga used Apple’s Back to My Mac application to access her missing laptop from another Leopard-based machine. She was then able to run her Apple PhotoBooth software installed on the stolen laptop to photograph one of the thieves while he was using her machine.

She got the idea after a friend sent her a text message last Tuesday congratulating her on getting her laptop back after “seeing” her machine back online. But it wasn’t Duplaga online. So Duplaga, who works at an Apple store, ran the Back to My Mac application, and found that someone was shopping online with her laptop. She turned on her laptop’s built-in camera remotely and took the thief’s picture. One of her roommates later recognized the thief as someone who had a attended a recent party at their apartment, and authorities arrested the two suspects after finding the stolen goods in their homes.

“It doesn’t get much better than their bringing us a picture of the guy actually using the stolen property,” said Daniel Jackson, deputy commissioner of public safety in White Plains, in The New York Times article. “It certainly made our job easier. The fact that they knew who these guys were certainly added solvability.”

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

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