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Author Topic: Slashdot Question: How to Recover Stolen Laptop if you Know Thief's IP Address?  (Read 6119 times)

mouser

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Today on slashdot is a great question.  It's from someone who had a laptop stolen, and was able to catch the thief's "IP ADDRESS" (the network address which shows what internet access point they are connecting from).  But he's now in a quandary about how to get someone to track down the ip to a specific person so that the thief can be caught.  I've wondered the same thing..

Quote
I even contacted the local FBI office and they said they're 'not interested' in the case despite it now crossing state lines. Am I chasing my own tail here? How can I get someone to pay attention to the fact that all the police need to do is file some RIAA-style paperwork to find the name associated with this IP address and knock on the right door to nab a criminal and recover my property? How can I get my laptop back — and more importantly — stop this criminal in his tracks?


rxantos

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I really doubt the police will do anything about it. Is interstate, thus the jurisdiction is of the FBI. And since its worth less than $50k, the FBI would not likely do anything.

mwb1100

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He should let the authorities know that it's a stolen next-gen prototype Apple "iLapPhone".  That should get some doors knocked down.

Quote from:  the Dude
do you guys have any promising leads?
Quote from: cop
Leads? Yeah sure, I'll just check with the boys down at the crime lab. They've got four more detectives working on the case...
« Last Edit: July 13, 2010, 01:51:02 PM by mwb1100 »

JavaJones

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They've got us working in shifts...

- Oshyan

parkint

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This article got me to thinking.
So, now, my laptop has a simple batch file that runs in the Startup group.  It displays a message that reads: "Your location and identity has been identified and the proper authorities are on their way to capture you and recover this stolen property!"

{This came to me as I recalled an incident that occurred with a good friend (whom the world lost to Leukemia).  In the days before 2001 he exercised his geeky sense of humor by installing a batch file, that ran at startup, that performed a countdown; with some message about an ignition or an explosion.  It was his personal machine and he got a little laugh out of it in business meetings.  When required to fly on business he thoughtlessly handed the laptop over to the airport security (this was before the days of the DHS), who dutifully turned it on.  My friend had a lot of explaining to do to a far-less-than-tech-savvy security person!! }

simakuutio

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Let those authorities know, that laptop contains a) childporn b) highly confidential material about government etc... and voila, that laptop is being recovered in no time at all...

Of course, if everyone keeps saying those things, effect will be diluted...:)

Deozaan

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Let those authorities know, that laptop contains a) childporn b) highly confidential material about government etc... and voila, that laptop is being recovered in no time at all...

Not really. If you admit that your own laptop has illegal information (especially of that caliber) on it, they probably don't need the laptop as proof. Your own admission of guilt should be enough for them to arrest you.


Target

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Let those authorities know, that laptop contains a) childporn b) highly confidential material about government etc... and voila, that laptop is being recovered in no time at all...

Not really. If you admit that your own laptop has illegal information (especially of that caliber) on it, they probably don't need the laptop as proof. Your own admission of guilt should be enough for them to arrest you.

actually you could turn this around and use it - you probably won't get your laptop back but you might put a serious crimp in the thief's activities

instead of reporting that you're laptop contains questionable material, let the relevant (anti-terrorist) authorities know you ran across some questionable activities and traced it to that IP...

clay

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Give this a try it might help.
http://www.ip-adress.com/reverse_ip/


 

40hz

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Let those authorities know, that laptop contains a) childporn b) highly confidential material about government etc... and voila, that laptop is being recovered in no time at all...

Not really. If you admit that your own laptop has illegal information (especially of that caliber) on it, they probably don't need the laptop as proof. Your own admission of guilt should be enough for them to arrest you.


Even if it doesn't, it's still illegal in most places to file a false police report. Most jurisdictions would consider any embroidery or embellishment of a stolen laptop report a falsification. In CT, filing trumped up charges can result in a fine - or even get you some 'slam time' if a judge gets really pissed off about it.

If you're insured, letting your insurance company know you have the whereabouts of your laptop and the police are refusing to get involved might get some action however.

The biggest problem the police have is getting a search warrant. Because it's possible to spoof IPs, some judges are reluctant to grant a warrant with nothing other than an unofficial source (i.e. you) providing the location. Cops also hate requesting a warrant unless they're extremely sure it will net something. Searching a place and coming up empty handed makes them look silly and exposes them to harassment complaints. Then there's also the problem with how much stolen merchandise is either acquired or handled by gangs. While most US police departments aren't adverse to showing the badge and drawing firearms when the situation warrants, risking a full scale confrontation over a $1000 laptop doesn't quite qualify as being worth the possible risk of life. And anytime the police engage in an arrest attempt there's always the potential for someone getting shot.

Frustrating as it can be (been there so I know), the sad fact is (barring extenuating circumstances) laptop theft is just too 'small potatoes' a crime for most police departments to get lathered up about.    
« Last Edit: July 22, 2010, 07:21:21 PM by 40hz »

tomos

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It's also possible the current user doesnt even know it was stolen
Tom

Stoic Joker

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Frustrating as it can be (been there so I know), the sad fact is (barring extenuating circumstances) laptop theft is just too 'small potatoes' a crime for most police departments to get lathered up about.

Yepper, Law Enforcement is a business like any other, the primary time focus is on the larger high value "accounts"...with only scant few crombs tossed at the tiny mom & pop stuff (which garner no votes in the next election). This is why neighborhood watches are so popular with all sides - The people get something done (or at least feel they are), and the fuzz just need to pop in and pickup vandal X with a bow attached.

...Then it's back out to the streets, to fight "real" (revenue generating) crime, like speeders, jay walkers, and kids loitering in parking lots.

40hz

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^im guessing you've been there too?  ;D