Over at MAKE, we've got an interesting story about computers stolen from a MAKE employee's car during Maker Faire Detroit, which led to a drug bust.
Have you ever had something stolen? Your heart sinks, your mind races, and you become increasingly paranoid about the vulnerability of your personal property. I know because this is a picture of my coworker’s (let’s call him Steve) rental car, a Chevy Impala, after lunch at Slow’s Bar-B-Q in Detroit (amazing food, don’t park on a side street), the Monday after Maker Faire Detriot. There was nothing significant in the front of the car to entice thieves to break in, but we both had computers in backpacks in the trunk. One quick jab from a screwdriver unlocked the car, allowing the thief to pop the trunk and liberate the bags.
We didn’t see the hole at first, so we both thought we were crazy when we found the trunk empty at the hotel. We texted the rest of our team, who were on their way to the airport, and retraced our steps. When were the bags last seen? Who had access to the car? As I said, your mind races. Steve and I drove to the Henry Ford Museum, where the car had been most of the day, and parked in the same spot to see if it was in view of a video camera. The car was visible from two. After reporting this to Henry Ford Security and asking them to review the tapes for that day, we started examining the trunk for any telltale marks. That’s when we noticed the puncture under the driver’s door handle. That would have made noise. Noise we would have heard from the tent. Now what? Steve and I were planning to see Batman at the Henry Ford’s IMAX theater at 9:40pm. Reluctantly, at around 8pm, we headed back to Slow’s, a 25 minute drive. The trip was filled with talk about what was in the bags, and how screwed we were. “Screwed” was probably the most polite word uttered. Steve’s ThinkPad was locked and encrypted. My Macbook Pro was in hibernation and was wide open. Even then, my harddrive was not encrypted. Fortunately, I don’t save history, usernames, or passwords.
How tracking down a stolen computer triggered a drug bust
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