Laptop thief gets nabbed by tracking software

Note to any would-be laptop thieves: make sure you don’t nick expensive computer gear from savvy users because the odds are, you are going to get caught.

That is exactly what happened to a teen who decided broke into a flat during the London riots to lift a laptop belonging to an IT expert.

When self-described information security evangelist Greg Martin discovered his laptop had been stolen from his West Kensington flat, he activated tracking software he had installed on the device.

Martin, who says he has previously worked for the FBI, describes on his blog how he monitored the thief surfing the internet, and was able to get a positive ID when the thief logged into his Facebook account.

This was the “treasure trove of information”, wrote Martin, yielding up details including his name, school and address.

Martin was also able to supply police with images of the thief from his laptop webcam and Facebook profile. “Now that all the details were collected, London Metro police could make their move,” he wrote in a blog post.

According to the Metro Police, an 18-year-old has been charged with handling stolen goods and is due to appear before West London Magistrates’ Court.