Using a data backup program helps recover lost data but can also help get a stolen laptop back--if you're lucky.
A Berkeley, Calif., man recently recovered his stolen laptop after seeing photos the thief took of himself with the built-in camera via his Internet-based data backup program.
That's according to a police officer's article in an e-mail newsletter from Berkeley City Councilmember Susan Wengraf that was posted to the Web by open-source advocate Bruce Perens.
It all started on May 5, when the victim left his laptop in the back seat of his car (tsk tsk). Two hours later, the thief smashed the car window and grabbed the computer. It's not clear what else was done with the laptop, but the big break in the case came when the laptop owner later spotted the self-portrait photos of the thief on the storage service Web site.
Detectives working the case were shown the photos and recognized the man, who had been released from jail earlier in the year. They noticed that in the photos he appeared to be in a motel room and began trying to track down the IP address used by the laptop hoping that it would lead to the motel.
Before that could be accomplished, however, the detectives spotted the man getting into a car in a motel parking lot in Oakland and arrested him. In his car and the motel room they found the laptop along with stolen property from other auto burglaries.