Mac Hack Brings Laptops Home


Stolen Mackbooks recovered using a mixture of luck, technology and a little quick thinking

Technology won out over crime recently when a laptop thief was caught from 2,000 miles away.

In a case which was as much about the dumbness of the ciminal as the smartness of the victim, a Canary Island thief was apprehended using the very thing he stole.

According to reports, the suspect  stole two MacBooks from Stores Direct co-founder, Mike Birtwhistle, in a Tenerife break-in, then used one of the laptops to connect to the internet.

Dumb versus Dave

Dave Duffy, Birtwhistle’s business partner, based in Wigan, noticed that the laptop was online and accessed it using remote utility software. According to BBC Manchester, he then used the laptop’s webcam to take pictures of the suspect, which he then passed on to police. “I launched up the built-in webcam which allowed me to see into the room. The guy appeared to be using another computer in the room. His face was side on. All of a sudden, he must have turned around and saw what I was doing. The laptop would have lit up and he tried to take control.”

“It is a victory for technology over crime. I would be very cautious these days if I was a crook stealing laptops. The technology available is unbelievable.”

Victims of crime are increasingly using technology to track down their stuff: earlier this year Burnley student used GPS and the Find My iPhone app to get back a stolen phone.

According to reports, police at Playa de las Americas recognised the man and a suspect has now been arrested. It is as yet not clear whether any client data from the online retailer was compromised as a result of the theft.


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