It wasn’t all that long ago that when an electronic device was stolen, we took the report and filed it away under the “never to be solved” file. The victim did not have a serial number and you did not have a suspect. Well, that is changing.
Take, for example, this case. According to the writer at This Guy Has My MacBook, his Apple laptop was stolen on March 21. The victim was able to remotely access the computer and collect enough evidence for officers to arrest a suspect on May 31. What kind of evidence was the victim able to collect? Things like the suspect’s photo and screenshots of the suspect logging into his Google account.
But, this is not the only incident of the victim turning the tables on an electronics thief. In this incident, two men took an iPhone during a robbery. Using the GPS in the iPhone, a Houston PD helicopter was able to locate the men in a pickup truck, and direct patrol officers to the suspects. The suspects’ truck wrecking and catching fire is not believed to be a special feature from the iPhone App Store.
So, when investigating a case where an electronics item was taken, consider what avenues of investigation you may have open to you. Most phones have a GPS device in them, and could possibly be tracked by the victim or by the cell company. Also, many phones and laptops have front facing cameras in them, which means you may be able to get a photo of the suspect if you can access the device remotely.
If you’ve had any success using the victim’s property against the suspect like these cases, let us know in the comments what you did.