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Stolen Mac helps nab burglary suspects

A .Mac remote-desktop access feature called Back to My Mac is being credited with leading police to two suspects in the burglary of an apartment in New York.

A remote-desktop access feature found in some Macintoshes is being credited with leading police to two suspects in the burglary of an apartment in New York.

In addition to flat-screen TVs, iPods, and DVDs, the thieves made off with two laptops, one of which belonged to Kait Duplaga, an Apple store employee, according to a report in The New York Times on Saturday.

While police in White Plains, N.Y., were coming up empty with their investigation, Duplaga learned that her computer was being used on the Internet, and she turned on the Back to My Mac feature installed on her Mac from another Mac, according to the report.

The feature allowed Duplaga to see immediately how the computer was being used at the time, as well as operate it remotely. Recalling that she had a camera installed on the computer, the fast-thinking Duplaga snapped images of one of the burglary suspects before he realized what was happening, according to the Times. Duplaga showed the image to friends, who recognized the suspect as someone who attended a party at the apartment.

The photo led police to arrest two suspects on Wednesday and recover nearly all the stolen property.

"It doesn't get much better than their bringing us a picture of the guy actually using the stolen property," Daniel Jackson, the deputy commissioner of public safety in White Plains, told the newspaper. "It certainly made our job easier."

The Back to My Mac feature, which runs on Leopard-based Macintoshes, requires a $99 subscription to the .Mac online service.