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Laptop Thief Foiled By His Own Facebook Profile Photo

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Photo by LifeSupercharger via Flickr
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This tale from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is a little Big Brother-esque, and most definitely cautionary, but it does have a happy ending for the owner of some stolen property. A thief was busted when he used a stolen laptop outfitted with a "LoJack for Laptops" kind of software, and it was his very own Facebook profile photo that ultimately was his undoing.The stolen laptop in question was one of two computers stolen last month along with a Play Station 3 from a Rancho Palos Verdes home. What puzzled the homeowners and authorities was that there was no sign of forced entry.

Because of the monitoring software, when the thief tried to log onto one of the laptops he was unsuccessful, and wound up installing a new operating system to try to work around his problem. "He incorrectly thought the embedded monitoring software had been removed, but it is very difficult to remove it," say the LASD.

Like so many of us, the thief wanted to check his Facebook account, so he signed in to the social networking site, and...ta da! The monitoring software, which has a photo recognition component, was able to gather the suspect’s personal information, including a photo of him, his name, and more. That info was provided to the authorities.

When the homeowners took a look at the Facebook profile photo gathered by the laptop "LoJack" software, they realized he was the unlicensed contractor they'd had working on their home a couple of months ago. And, yeah--they'd given the guy a key, and didn't know his real name. "It is believed the suspect likely made a duplicate of the spare key and used it to commit the home burglary months later," explains the LASD.

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That guy, 22-year-old Jose Miguel Ramirez of San Pedro, was arrested November 18 for Residential Burglary (Felony). Additionally, while Ramirez initially was given a bail amount of $50,000, because of an immigration hold, he is being held without bail.

So really, we've learned a few lessons here: There's something to be said for putting tracking software on your laptop. But there's also something to be said for making sure you hire licensed, trustworthy people to do work in your home.