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MacBook Thief Arrested With Apple's Cool Software

Friday, 06.03.2011, 02:43am (GMT-5)

Ok, this is a cool one, this guy, his name is Joshua Kauffman of Oakland, CA, has his MacBook stolen. He reported to the police but they couldn't do anything, so he took things in his own hands.

He used this software called Hidden to take pictures of the theft over the air, and use them as evidence to convince the police to take actions and arrest the thief. Below is the whole story from his blog


Rather than repeat this over and over, I thought it would be helpful if I published a short timeline of events, from the day my MacBook was stolen, until today when I picked it up.

  • My MacBook was stolen on March 21, 2011 from my apartment in Oakland, CA. It happened during the day while I wasn’t home.
  • I reported the crime on the same day to an officer from the Oakland Police Department. For verification, the original police report was 11-014180.
  • I immediately began to gather photos, network and location information about my stolen MacBook using Hidden.
  • I followed up with an investigator at Oakland Police Department on April 25, presenting him with this additional evidence, which was attached to my previous report
  • I contacted the investigator twice via email, asking him if he was able to make any progress on my case, but I didn’t hear anything back.
  • On Friday, May 27, I decided to set up a tumblelog with photos of the current owner (who may or may not be the thief) in order to get some media attention.
  • The tumblelog didn’t receive much attention until I tweeted about it on the morning of Tuesday, May 31. Within a few hours, it was tweeted and liked thousands of times.
  • Late Tuesday afternoon, I received a call from Officer Joshi of the Oakland Police Department after she was contacted by Good Morning America. She told me that the Oakland Police Department would be following up on my case immediately.
  • On the evening of Tuesday May 31, two officers from the Oakland Police Department arrested the guy who had my laptop. The police used evidence I had gathered using Hidden (an email address which pointed to a cab service) that he was a driver and tricked him into picking them up.
  • Later that evening the officers acquired my MacBook from his home.
  • I picked it up from the Oakland Police Department on the morning of June 1.

Below are the pictures he took with his MacBook over the air: