Laptop Theft Victim Gets Last Laugh By Posting Video Of Badly-Dancing Crook

Laptops and dumb criminals seem to be drawn together like moths to a flame.
I thought the case of the misguided cleaning crew members who were tracked down after being caught video making off with a laptop during ASIS 2010 (a security tradeshow and surveillance cameras, who could have imagined?) was one for the ages.
Mark Bao’s story easily tops that. It all started rather routinely when  the18-year-old Massachusetts college student had his high-end MacBook Air stolen a few months ago.

But unlike probably most of us, Bao had previously installed a handy backup program called BackBlaze on the stolen machine. So instead of saying goodbye to the expensive machine forever, BackBlaze continued to back up the contents of the laptop’s hard drive to the cloud where Bao could access the information.

And when Bao recently logged on to the service for the first time since the theft, he hit gold.

“I looked around the files and found that the thief a) didn’t remove the backup service and b) created his own user account on the system,” Bao said.

Along with incriminating evidence such as the alleged thief’s e-mail address, name and Facebook account information, there was a video that Bao immediately uploaded to YouTube with the very apt title “Don’t steal computers belonging to people who know how to use computers.”

That's the alleged crook dancing (rather poorly) to Tyga’s not-exactly-safe-for-work song “Make it Rain.” (Popular music has changed just a little bit since I was in college.)

The situation does have a happy ending. After racking up almost 400,000 views on YouTube, the culprit apparently had a change of heart and decided to turn the machine into campus police at Bentley University, where Bao attends school. As for the video, the dance master (whose identity has sadly not been released) contacted Bao through Facebook to apologize for the theft and ask that it be taken down.

Bao thankfully didn’t yank the video, and hopefully it will live on as a reminder to anyone else who thinks about stealing his (or anyone else’s) laptop.

Thanks to the publicity from the incident, Bao is auctioning off the machine with proceeds going to the Red Cross Japan fund.

Posted by Brent Dirks on Mar 23, 2011

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