San Francisco designer Joshua Kaufman's laptop was stolen on March 21st, 2011 from his apartment in Oakland. Now he's posted pictures his computer secretly snapped of the thief. Vigilante justice awaits!
Kaufman says he got the pictures, posted to Thisguyhasmymacbook.tumblr.com, courtesy of the theft-protection software Hidden. When a user's laptop is stolen, they can activate Hidden which, according to the software's website, "will locate your stolen computer anywhere on the planet, collect photos of the thief and screen shots of the computer in use." Certainly worked as advertised, in this case! The pics of the alleged thief are shooting around Twitter like a leaked Lady Gaga single.
Will this act of vigilante justice end in a happy ending for Joshua? History suggests he might want to be careful. In 2005, New York stock clerk John Clennan got pictures of and personal information about a guy who stole his cell phone. He posted the information on a message board and summoned the internet's hive mind to hunt the thief down. But things quickly got out of hand as users posted not only the thief's address, but information about innocent family members.
When Clennan learned the thief was only 16, he begged people to call of the hounds. "What has gone on here is just as wrong" as the cell phone theft, he wrote. "In another time this would be described as a lynching and you people would be called a lynch mob. Yes, I know I'm the one who started this, it was bad judgment on my part. People who . . . had nothing to do with this have been dragged in just due to the fact that they keep extremely bad company."
On the other hand: Dude did steal his laptop.