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Burglar wearing electronic tag steals laptop

In what may have been an attempt at seeing hope triumph over intelligence, a serial burglar in the U.K. discovers that electronic tags really do record your movements.

An example of the sort of tags used in the UK. Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

We are all driven by compulsions.

They circumvent our normal thinking systems. They propel us toward the objects of our desire. They force us, at times, to pay a terrible price.

Please, therefore, offer sympathy to Richard Almaraoui, a 35-year-old man from Norfolk, U.K., who appears to be driven to steal other people's things.

So much so that after a previous offense he was ordered by a court to wear an electronic tag.

These things tend to monitor your whereabouts in a fairly accurate way. Perhaps, then, it's best not to burgle a stranger's home, as your tag might give away the fact that you've been inside that home.

And yet, as the Daily Mail reports, Almaraoui couldn't help himself.

His compulsive need to, well, help himself to other people's things, drove him to allegedly enter someone else's apartment and steal a laptop.

Not only did the electronic tag reveal that he had been in this apartment, but police also found the laptop in Almaraoui's home. Which all seemed to leave his defense lawyer with a troubling task.

The court heard that the influence of drugs may have played a role in Almaraoui's unfortunate occurrences and recurrences.

The judge, though, explained to him: "You continually break in to people's homes, causing a large amount of distress and fear."

It is worth remembering, however, that tagging and GPS do tend to work and that it's best to wait for an electronic tag to be removed before re-offending.

Some people's luck, though, can be infinitely bad. And technology's reach is infinitely excessive.

So even the more aware burglar might be unfortunate enough that a Google Street View car meanders down the street, just at the moment he's breaking into a house.