This has nothing to do with genealogy, but it is a great story. Perhaps you will enjoy it as much as I did.
Thieves recently stole an Apple laptop from Kait Duplaga, who works at the Apple store in the Westchester, New York, mall and thus knows how to use all Macintosh bells and whistles. What the thieves did not know is that Kait has remote control software installed on the laptop so that she can access it from any other Macintosh. She can sit at any other Macintosh computer, connect to the laptop across the Internet (wherever it is located), enter a user name and password, and then operate her laptop just as if she was typing directly on its keyboard.
The thief apparently connected the stolen laptop to an Internet connection and started surfing the Web. Kait sat at her home, using another Macintosh, and connected to the stolen laptop that apparently was now in use by the thief. She was able to see what the thief was seeing, and she watched as the thief went from web site to web site. Everything that appeared on the stolen laptop's screen also appeared on Kait's desktop screen.
Now for the good part: keep in mind that all Macintosh laptops have built-in video cameras. Kait remotely turned on the video camera of the stolen laptop and was able to see the thief live as he typed on the screen. He also noticed that his own picture had appeared on his screen and he smiled for the camera. Kait then snapped a picture.
She then performed a file transfer, copying the picture from the stolen laptop to her desktop system. When she displayed it on her own computer's screen, her roommate said, “Oh, I know exactly who that is — it’s Ian."
It seems that the thief had attended a party hosted by Kait's roommate in their shared apartment some weeks earlier and apparently had seen the Mac at that time. He must have returned at a later date to steal the laptop along with several other items. Kait gave a digital copy of the picture to local police, along with the thief's name as supplied by her roommate.
The police had little difficulty in finding him. “It doesn’t get much better than [the victim] bringing us a picture of the guy actually using the stolen property,” said Daniel Jackson, the deputy commissioner of public safety in White Plains, New York.
All of the stolen property was recovered, including the laptop. Ian Frias, 20, who usually lives in the Bronx, is now a resident at the Westchester County Jail, held on $7,500 bail.
Note: I use similar software to access my desktop systems when I am traveling. I can access my computers at home from any hotel room or airport lounge or other location that has an Internet connection. Now I realize it has another use: to catch a thief.