Lost+Found: Case 3K2O – United States of America

  • Location: A major US city.
  • Date Stolen: April 28, 2012
  • Date Recovered: April 29, 2012
  • Theft: From an unattended vehicle.
  • Missing items: MacBook
  • Police reaction: I filed a police report and waited. After I started getting Prey’s reports, I called 911, cops didn’t come, so I flagged an officer on the street who was surprised, and interested as I showed him the reports on my smartphone but didn’t know what to do..
    Since the reports pinged 2 locations, a few miles from each other which meant it was impossible as nothing can move that quickly, and one of the locations was clearly wrong.. the first report showed one
    location, the 2nd showed another about 5 miles away, and the reports flip flopped back and forth. Police detective said, ‘what am I supposed to do without an address, a general vicinity is not enough’
    but with my insistence, we went to the precinct to speak to the detective. Later, using information from the user’s actions, (and the IP address) they were able to determine which location it was. I was not given too many details though as to what or how they got it back.
  • Time it took for first report to arrive: 2.5 hours.
  • Once received, time it took for police to recover it: As soon as I walked into the precinct with the reports on my phone.
  • Final thoughts: Amazing. I felt it should work and it could, but then
    as it happened it was really surreal to be watching what was happening in real time.

Full story below:

Some thoughts:

Setup on installation:
Assuming thief is not tech savvy means they will probably use as soon as they get it. To facilitate this, leave a guest account open and free and lock your main account with a password. Remove admin access
and any shortcuts to your documents on the guest account, this way thief(s) can use the computer without necessarily poking around for your documents. Don’t name your user name with your real name, as even
without logging in they know who you are.

After theft:
Login asap, enable everything, make sure to enable camera snapshots, geolocation AND desktop snapshots as soon as it gets stolen and lower the frequency as low as possible. I did 10 minutes. Those 3 are
critical. With a photo, police are likely to pursue it as it’s great evidence. They were pretty amazed at how this system works.

Go down to your precinct, speak to the detective, show your first report, and they will likely pursue it if the value of the stolen goods make it a grand larceny. Login to PreyProject.com at the station, so the detective can keep an
eye on it freely, and it would probably be a good idea to upgrade at that point to the paid version so you don’t overwrite your reports. Any one of them may have evidence that you don’t want to lose when reports
begin to recycle.

Lastly, formatting your computer once you get it back is a nice idea too (if you’re lucky as I am) – you never know what was done to it.