- Location: Nosara, Costa Rica.
- Date Stolen: February 20, 2012
- Date Recovered: March 22, 2012
- Theft: House Broken into.
- Missing items: MacBook Pro
- Police reaction: They didn’t speak english, “fill out the form”.
- Time it took for first report to arrive: 2 weeks.
- Once received, time it took for police to recover it: Once they had the information, 2 days.
- Final thoughts: I felt it was a lost cause, until i saw the info start to roll in once they started using the computer, their Facebook and gmail accounts!
Full story below:
Here I am a DJ and producer (VITAMINDEVO) sitting in the middle of the jungle in Costa Rica working hard on new music, learning to Surf relaxing away from the busy world of San Francisco. At this point in our 2 month stay in CR we had 1 break in already, with my dads laptop (didnt have prey on it), both our iPhones (didn’t have prey) and my wacom tablet stolen while we slept. A 2nd robbery attempt a few days later, saw the thieves thwarted off in the middle of the day with machetes, neighbors on quads and police on dirt bikes. In the end we never caught them and we figured they would be crazy to come back, after a barrage of people chasing them into the woods. Well crazy they were, while we were at dinner a few days later, we came back to find the place completely broken into, all the rest of what we had Both our DSLR camera’s, Lenses, Cash and MY Laptop STOLEN!
At this point I immediately snagged a neighbors computer and went to the Prey Project site and initiated the tracking process on my machine. In a way i felt like it was a lost cause, here we are in the middle of the jungle, in a foreign country, with an hour+ radius of only dirt roads surrounding us. No way ill ever see my stuff again.
When the tourist police showed up, they were clueless, barely spoke english, somewhat were laughing the whole time, like it was all some big joke that roughly 10k of gear had simply been taken from us over the course of about 2 weeks. Basic detective work was out the window, there were finger prints everywhere and shoe prints in the ground, but did the cops do anything? nope they just laughed, had me fill out the most worthless document ever and rode away on their dirt bikes into the night leaving a cloud of dust only visible by a later passing car.
I knew the only way I was going to see any of my stuff again was if someone used the laptop… and over time, they did.
Fast forward 2+ weeks, I’m back in the US attempting to get my life back in order when I get a blip on the radar. The first of the images is being updated from my stolen machine! “Someone’s using it mwuahaha!” i stood up and cheered! Now to do something about it. I sent all the data from Prey Project i could to my contact in Costa
Rica, who then contacted the OIJ, which is basically the Costa Rican version of the FBI. Within a day they went on the hunt, the Laptop had shown up about 4+ hours away from where it had been stolen in Nosara.
I then got a Skype call from one of the agents who started chatting with me about how he could see a girl in her house using a mac laptop! I couldn’t believe it, they were giving me a play by play, No police or FBI would ever do that in the US, never. Especially over a laptop. For some reason I guess it was my lucky day, they swiftly snagged the
laptop form the woman’s house, Of course barely even questioning her. No action was ever taken on her apparently, I can only assume she said she bought it from a store.
Regardless the OIJ brought it back to the headquarters about 2hours from where my contact lived. She picked up the laptop and then yet again, we hit another snag. UPS and Fedex shipping won’t allow you to ship Used electronics into
the US from Costa Rica for protection against bomb threats and theft. I had to wait several weeks for a friend to come back from Costa Rica and ship it from Boston to SF.
Days after, it arrived completely intact! They had deleted my username, added new ones, changed it all to spanish, and yet somehow i was able to still track it down and recover!!!! With some backup software I was able to go thru the hard drive and snag deleted Data as well! In the end I got my machine back and its in solid working order.
From SF to Costa Rica to Boston to SF. this machine had a vacation all on its own, and I got to have it back safe and sound. All due to Prey!