Thursday, April 30, 2009

Stolen Laptop Recovered

Last year my laptop was stolen at St Olaf.

Earlier this week, on a whim, I asked one of my friends who still works in Olaf’s IIT department if he’d check their network registration logs to see if my stolen laptop had ever been re-registered this year. Anyone using the laptop this year would have needed to enter an Olaf username and password in order to get onto the Internet, so I asked my friend to see if, by some happenstance, it had popped up.

Turns out it did. Someone registered it on the network back in December. Why did IIT not ever notice this? Excellent question, seeing as they allegedly had an automatic script that would alert them if the machine ever came back on the network.

In any case, Monday night my friend emailed me, and then the IIT management people, alerting them to the presence of the stolen laptop on campus.

My understanding is that the Northfield police department interviewed the student in question, and she of course denied any knowledge. However, Wednesday morning, my stolen laptop was found in a box outside the St Olaf post office, and was then retrieved by Northfield PD. I received a call that afternoon from one of the officers, telling me the machine had been recovered. He was very friendly and answered all of my questions adequately. Unfortunately, because the machine was returned anonymously, it's unlikely anything more will come of this case. The PD crime lab is checking for fingerprints, but he said it's unlikely they'll find convicting evidence. They will also attempt to retrieve ay incriminating data from the hard drive, but A) the hard drive was wiped clean before it was returned, and B) it may be several months before the crime lab even has a chance to look into it.

So, the good news is that whoever stole the laptop no longer has it; the bad news is we may never actually find that person to prosecute/seek justice. Honestly, I’m disappointed in that result; I’m not out to ruin anyone’s life, but I do feel that whoever perpetrated this felony (yes, the crime was legitimately a felony) needs to understand the seriousness of their crime, and also just how lucky they are that this [likely] won’t be making a mark on their permanent record. I was also hoping there might have been potential for community service or monetary payback to my insurance company. Alas, maybe in time, something more will come of it.

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