Woman logs into stolen laptop, shoots pics of thief


A New York woman used .Mac's Back to my Mac remote login feature to take shots of the man who stole her laptop.

Duplaga immediately signed on to another Macintosh computer and, using a feature called “Back to My Mac,” was able to gain access to her missing laptop remotely. She could see that that the person who had her computer was shopping for beds, Mr. Jackson said. Then it occurred to her that she could activate a camera on her laptop and watch the thief live.

At first, the photo application revealed only a smoky room and an empty chair, Mr. Jackson said, but then a man sat down. Ms. Duplaga, again using remote technology, typed in the command to snap a photo. “When you take a picture with that computer, it shows a countdown, and when it does, this guy figures out what’s going on,” Mr. Jackson said. “It all clicks for him, and he puts his hand up to cover the lens, but it was too late. She had already taken the picture.”

Edmon Shahikian, 23, of Katonah, and Ian Frias, 20, of the Bronx, were arrested and charged with being completely stupid.

Stolen Laptop Helps Turn Tables on Suspects [NY Times]

Published by Rob Beschizza

Follow Rob @beschizza on Twitter.

Join the Conversation


  1. Isn’t Technology something; you can take a stupid theif’s picture on your own stolen laptop- It’s rich…..

  2. Form the full article: “Mr. Jackson said that Ms. Duplaga did not wish to be interviewed. On Friday, no one answered the door at the beige colonial-style house on Ridgeview Avenue where she rents an apartment diagonally opposite a church.” Why are they telling everyone exactly where this lady lives?

  3. These guys should get together with those skull bong dudes. Bet they’d have a lot in common.

  4. I’ve emailed the reporter to find out if it was just spite because she wouldn’t give an interview or good old fashioned lack of thought and stupidity.

  5. There’s definitely something odd and nasty about the way that location is written up.

  6. Why use a function that notifies the thief of an impending photo when she could take as many local screengrabs (or even capture the entire stream) as she liked? This doesn’t make any sense to me, can someone explain it? Is taking a screenshot less straightforward in OSX than Windows?

  7. #7 – I’m with you. Taking a screenshot on the Mac is just as simple as pressing a key combo (admittedly not as easy as pressing print screen).

    Now I’ve got my own question: I’m assuming this woman took the picture using Photo Booth on her stolen Mac. Wouldn’t that mean she’d have to email the file to herself afterwards? Or is there some really easy and really fast file exchange functionality that Back to My Mac provides?

  8. Back To My Mac allows you access to the file sharing (AFP / SMB) aspects of the OS in the same way as it does the screen sharing (VCN). It would just be a matter to grabbing the freshly saved image file from the Photobooth directory.

  9. #8 – when using photobooth to take a photo, the sceen flashes white, illuminating your (thief’s) face. she possibly got a much better image that way.

  10. Not as uncommon as you think. I found a video tape on the ground at my old job. I took it home and watched a half hour of a childs birthday party. The tape stopped and it was then 2 guys in a car talking to another guy about the job they had just pulled. describing the house, the street, how they put socks on their hands so they wouldnt leave prints, etc.. Then they talked about the next house, street, time, day and all the while they were using their names and talking about their jobs! I gave it to the police who were waiting near the house and promptly arrested tweedle dumb and tweedle dumber. I received a letter of thanks from the families and the chief of police as well as a comendation from the town. Moral; If you are stupid, you will end up in jail.

  11. I don’t think they are “completely stupid”, or at least I see no hard evidence of stupidity. Certainly I don’t approve of the theft, but they were thwarted by a smart Mac user, not by their own stupidity. I’ll bet there are Mac users who wouldn’t figure out they could do this in a similar case.

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