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Crime Handhelds Iphone

Death Wish Meets GPS: iPhone Theft Victims Confronting Perps 664

Posted by timothy
from the charles-bronson-not-involved dept.
theodp (442580) writes "Thankfully, no one's gone full-Charles-Bronson yet, but the NY Times reports that victims of smartphone theft are using GPS to take the law into their own hands, paying visits to thieves' homes and demanding the return of their stolen phones. "The emergence of this kind of do-it-yourself justice," writes Ian Lovett, "has stirred worries among law enforcement officials that people are putting themselves in danger, taking disproportionate risks for the sake of an easily replaced item." And while hitting "Find My iPhone" can take you to a thief's doorstep, LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith urges resisting the impulse to do so. "It's just a phone," he said. "it's not worth losing your life over. Let police officers take care of it. We have backup, guns, radio, jackets — all that stuff civilians don't have.""
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Death Wish Meets GPS: iPhone Theft Victims Confronting Perps

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  • frosty piss (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2014 @11:38AM (#46912963)
    Yes, police have all that stuff. On the other hand, they don't give a shit about your iphone being stolen, and will likely never investigate.
  • by Webs 101 (798265) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @11:39AM (#46912977) Homepage

    "We have backup, guns, radio, jackets — all that stuff civilians don't have."

    They forgot to list apathy.

  • A friend of mine was recently mugged, on the doorstep of her home. While the police were in her house asking questions she pulled up the current location of her phone on her laptop. The police did not care. Did. Not. Care. For an hour her phone drifted around a park that was a known after-hours teenager hangout, while the officer asked inane questions. She fumed for weeks. Getting mugged was bad enough, but feeling like the police didn't really care, that all they wanted to do was get the report filled out, made her feel truly helpless.

    If the police are unwilling to react to these thefts because they are low priority for them, they have to expect that citizens will have to take it into their own hands. People don't like someone else telling them their problems are trivial. People don't like feeling helpless. They need to believe that there is always something they can do.

  • Re:frosty piss (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tmosley (996283) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @11:43AM (#46913005)
    Exactly. Hand them all the information of a silver platter and they do nothing.

    Police are scum. From personal experience as a victim of more than one instance of theft.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @11:46AM (#46913021)

    From apathy on the side of the police, that is.

    If the police at least tried to get my possessions back, would I bother going myself? Hell no. As the article said, why risk it? That's the police's job, they not only have the training and equipment, they also have the backing of the law.

    Vigilantes only emerge when the police drops the ball. Only when there is no other way to get justice, people will take justice into their own hands. That's why a state has to be careful to keep its laws and its law enforcement in sync with what their population considers just. People will only take the law into their own hands if you, as a government, fail.

  • Re:frosty piss (Score:4, Insightful)

    by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:00PM (#46913133)

    On the other other hand...

    So you've got a thing that says your iPhone is at a particular location.

    What is that thing? Can its data be trusted? Does it truly show your iPhone, or somebody else's, or something else entirely? Is that actually the address, or is it the other address right next door? Be thankful if it's not an apartment building, 'cos then floors get involved - good luck getting a warrant for all of them. Oh, didn't mention warrants yet, did I? Yeah, that's right, even if your 'find my iphone' is just pointing to a location in the middle of nowhere and there's only one person there, cops can't just demand that they empty out all their pockets; I'm sure most people here would tell the cop to either please vacate themselves or take you in if they feel they have enough cause to do so, when the lead is that "somebody's computer says". And all that at the lowly sum of $ka-ching/hour.

    On the other other other hand, you file the report, you file the insurance claim, you walk into an Apple Store, get a new device (those scratches and dents you put into it the other one? gone! it's magic!), get most of your data back off the cloud, and be off and running. You 'win', the thief wins, the cops win, the insurance company wins, and Apple wins.

    Somebody amend wit more hands...

    Note that I'm not saying that cops couldn't do more, and shouldn't do more - hell, if it was as easy for them as it is for the general public to just walk up to someplace and go "you've got this person's iPhone, you best be handing it back now or there'll be trouble", I'd say they should follow up on every stolen phone, tablet, bicycle, etc. Unfortunately it's not - which also leads me to agreeing that it's fine if they warn people about potential consequences, but they can't exactly complain that people are taking matters into their own hands.

  • Re:frosty piss (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:02PM (#46913139)

    Yes, police have all that stuff. On the other hand, they don't give a shit about your iphone being stolen, and will likely never investigate.

    Exactly. This problem is caused by the complete lack of action by police if the problem isn't drug related. The department knows how they get funds and that's by busting drug offenders. They get to keep a percentage of the spoils as well as bonuses per arrest. Drug arrests are very very easy. Busting a guy that stole a phone could take hours. Can't have that.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:09PM (#46913179) Journal

    And if you want to gripe about the cops not being willing to do anything about it, that's a man power issue.

    Maybe they can catch real thieves instead of spending their time trying to stop people from doing U-turns on 25th street. Which hasn't caused an accident in a decade at least. It's just an easy way to collect money (since the no u-turn signs are partially obscured by trees).

    Another thing: police defend their ability to 'stop and frisk' as a way to stop crime. NY is serious about stopping small crimes because it theoretically reduces big crimes. Well, here is something easy they can do.

    If the police aren't going to catch criminals, there's not much reason to have them.

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:10PM (#46913187)

    And if you want to gripe about the cops not being willing to do anything about it, that's a manpower issue

    Not when the cops are unwilling to follow up on easy leads while they are instead literally sitting in their cars all day long waiting for speeders because speeding tickets earn their department revenue (and catching muggers doesn't). There's plenty of manpower. The cops just don't want to risk their lives for "just a phone" because they know these are potentially violent criminals that are taking the phones. It's cowardice and avarice, not lack of manpower.

  • by ganjadude (952775) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:11PM (#46913191) Homepage
    that depends on the data that is on the phone and how big a risk it is, If i track my phone with GPS to a local high school, yeah ill go to the school and have the principal confront him

    If its at a place of business, Ill trace it there and have a nice chat with a boss about his employee being a thief

    If i see its in the middle of compton in a known gang area, i probably will not go there to get it
  • Re:frosty piss (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:13PM (#46913207)

    I think iPhones are treated like bicycles -- something that there just are not the resources for, even if the purported thief is nailed down to a location.

    As a devil's advocate, US police are woefully underfunded. They might get a bunch of SWAT stuff from the government, but actual basic policing, substations, and other items needed to process all but murders and attempted murders are not funded. Most cities are far more interested in making sure the professional sport league has the latest and greatest stadium so they won't move to a city that would. So, blame the city councils that deny adequate funding to city services, not the people who have to decide between catching the perps from a drive-by shooting versus some guy who lost his cellphone.

  • Escalation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Roger W Moore (538166) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:18PM (#46913233) Journal

    Police often wont take care of it...because as he said, it's just a phone.

    Today it's a phone, tomorrow it's a laptop and by next week it's an armed robbery of an electronics store. I can understand that the police do not have the resources to track down every petty criminal but when confronted with clear evidence where the criminal is they have a duty to act. It is not only a fantastic public relations opportunity ("I went to the police and they caught the criminal one hour later") it also looks good for the crime statistics and it helps to reduce future crime since many phone thefts are probably opportunistic criminals who, if not caught, will carry on with their experiment to see how many phones/laptops/etc. they can steal before it crosses the police action threshold.

  • Re: frosty piss (Score:5, Insightful)

    by macinnisrr (1103805) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:21PM (#46913253)
    That's a copout (no pun intended). If you give police the location of your phone, it's probably less than an hour's worth of work for two of them to track it down and get it back. As long as there are two cops on duty, it's simply lazy to not track it down. They don't seem to have any issues with setting speed traps and handing out seatbelt tickets.
  • by Max Threshold (540114) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:32PM (#46913301)
    Then take care of it, you worthless fucks.
  • Re:frosty piss (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:35PM (#46913315)

    "US police are woefully underfunded"

    Yea? Like schools are underfunded? Do you have any idea how much of my money the state confiscates every year? Not to mention all the traffic fines and confiscated crime booty (cash, cars, guns.. who knows what all else).

    These people have money coming out of their ears, and no doubt could do their job with a lot less.

    Not to mention the police union that secures high pay and fabulous retirement packages. How about all the cops earning time and a half by sitting their fat donut eating asses on the side of a road wherever you see construction in many states, again thank the uniuons.

    They are underfunded? Bull fucking shit asshole. I am underfunded, bacause the statist steals entirely too much of MY MONEY.


  • by sycodon (149926) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:38PM (#46913333)

    "To Protect Our Asses by Shooting Yours First"

  • Re:frosty piss (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:43PM (#46913363)

    we have a for-profit private prison INDUSTRY in the US.

    anyone who thinks this is a good idea, raise your hand.

  • Re:frosty piss (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pete6677 (681676) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:47PM (#46913397)

    In the United States, Police (and schools for that matter) have huge budgets, but too little of that money makes it to the front lines. Administrators soak most of it up, and any further funding increases go straight to the top. Only the bare minimum flows to the bottom where it's needed most. This is the problem with the "more money for police" and "more money for education" crowd.

  • Re:frosty piss (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2014 @01:08PM (#46913551)

    Unions are not the only problem, but they are a problem.

    Public sector unions should be outlawed, unionizing is supposed to be about protecting the little guy from the large and powerful - in private industry a case can be made for this, In the public sector is an entirely different thing. The union is fighting to extract money from the people that the public sector is supposed to serve, this is unethical and leads to corruption, which as we can see is exactly what happens (see Wisconsin where you have teachers sneaking out of class and claiming sick time while using this time to protest against the anti union legislation). This is criminal. Furthermore those in the public sector should be working at some level to support the public good, if you don't like it and want higher pay then go to the private sector.

    Public sector unions do nothing but raise pay rates to unsustainable levels, extract rediculous benedits and retiurement plans all on the backs of the taxpayer.

    Fuck this, sideways with a barbed wire pineapple.

    No doubt there is corruption and other waste in non union states, but this does not mean that unions should be allowed to continue.

    "The guy on the beat is always funding starved"

    I am speaking in the general, not the specific. Police departments are well funded, and if they don't have money for XYZ this is due to mismagement. Per. Fucking. Iod.

  • Re:frosty piss (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2014 @01:23PM (#46913637)

    On the other other other hand, you file the report, you file the insurance claim, you walk into an Apple Store, get a new device, get most of your data back off the cloud, and be off and running.

    In what twisted universe is that "winning"? I get how the thief wins, how apple wins, how the cops win, I even get how the insurance companies win (higher premiums, yet another price to be paid by the victim), I just don't see the winning of the victim.

    Are you deluded?

  • Re:frosty piss (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Sunday May 04, 2014 @01:37PM (#46913733)

    you file the insurance claim

    No you don't, because your insurance deductible is higher than the cost of the phone. That $500 loss is real and uncompensated.

  • Re:frosty piss (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun (571051) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @02:17PM (#46914019)
    Do you have any idea where most of that money goes? Military, keeping old people alive (which, assuming you don't have the balls to start killing ppl at age 60 is a good thing) and corporate welfare.

    Why don't you stop worrying about the state taking all your money and start asking why your wages have been in decline for 30 ever-lovin' years. Why don't you ask why it is your worse off than your parents? Why don't you ask why income inequality is at levels not seen since the 1920s?

    Why? Because it's super easy to look at your withholding and see that. Heck, you can also lump your health insurance and any Uniform allowance into that too (most Americans do) and blame the gov't. What you can't see ( unless you go looking for it ) is where all the wealth in this country is really going. You can't see who's really robbing you blind...
  • Re:Funding (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fringe (6096) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @02:43PM (#46914183)

    No, it really comes down to risk and reward. Not funding. Cops are widely believed (there are some naysayers) to get promotions and plumb assignments based on ticket revenue. Recovering stolen items involves getting a warrant - they can't just go to the house - and then risking being shot at or accused of racism. What's the up-side?

    Better law enforcement would come from using the same tools those capitalists you revile used to get the riches you covet... merit rewards rather than union protection.

  • Re:Funding (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Belial6 (794905) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @02:44PM (#46914195)
    That is BS. We are talking about violent criminals who are holding evidence of their crime. Even if the phone wasn't worth investigating, muggings are. These phones are being stolen via muggings. At a minimum, holding people against their will while you take their phone. At worst, real beatings with a real chance of injury or death. Cops not investigating the stolen phones isn't an issue of cops ignoring petty theft. It is an issue of cops ignoring violent criminals who have been served up on a silver platter with evidence of their ciminal behavior in their possesion, and eye whitneses ready to testify.
  • Re: frosty piss (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Belial6 (794905) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @02:50PM (#46914241)
    Muggings. The GPS on the phone is a GPS to a violent criminal. We are not talking about shoplifting here. We are talking about one person threatinging or doing bodily harm to another. Other than that you are right.

    Because there is more manpower hired to do road patrol than to do arrests of violent criminals who have been identified and are holding GPS evidence of their crime.

    We need to stop refering to it as the theft of a phone, and describe it with the more accurate turm of violent robbery. As armed robbery when it warrants.
  • Re:Funding (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Sunday May 04, 2014 @03:12PM (#46914373)

    it really comes down to funding. Cops have limited resources, especially after 30 years of budget cuts in the name of "Reduced Bureaucracy" and tax cuts for the rich.

    I'm sorry, WHAT? You are full of shit.

    Police departments are well funded, the question is: What do they spend that money on?

    A new "MRAP"? Oh yeah, every cop shop needs one of those... And I've noticed many cops are now driving high-end "muscle cars" - because you know a $60K Dodge Charger with a "police package" is so much more effective in city response than the old Crown Vics or whatever the "off the shelf" cop car is these days.

    Yeah, the police are hurting of cash...

    Except maybe in Seattle where there are significant numbers of "average cops" making well into the 6-figures with overtime and other cash cows.

    I'm not saying cops should not be well equipped and compensated according to skill and danger, though many studies show that being a police officer is not particularly dangerous - maybe because they rarely get out of their cars anymore - but get real: Since "9/11", US police departments have become bloated bastions of over-paid steroid freaks with power issues.

  • Re: frosty piss (Score:4, Insightful)

    by macinnisrr (1103805) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @03:42PM (#46914575)
    Absolutely. Which is offensive. No wonder people "hate cops". They're always there to enforce nickel and dime laws, but get your bicycle stolen and kiss it goodbye. The only thing they'll do in 90% of property theft cases is punch the serial number (if you wrote it down) of the stolen item into a database that pawn shops run through whenever an item is pawned. Every criminal knows this, so most of the time the items are never found. No investigation, no police work period. This goes for items as large and expensive as vehicles too. Even cars aren't found unless a plate gets run for an unrelated issue (speeding, abandonment, etc.). And yet, if a cop catches me pissing in the street, that's a worthwhile time waste for the entire justice system.
  • Re: Funding (Score:5, Insightful)

    by buybuydandavis (644487) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @03:45PM (#46914597)

    Yeah, it's priorities, not funding.

    A priority is shaking down law abiding citizens for money. A priority is terrorizing citizens in the middle of the night with an armed raid of a dozen officers to find a joint. A priority is terrorizing your children and shooting your dog on such a raid.

    A priority is padding pay checks with overtime pay. A *big* priority is confiscating cameras from citizens recording what the cops do, and then arresting them on some bogus charge. A priority is protecting cops by abusing citizens, using wholly disproportionate and unnecessary force. A priority is putting the populace in their place whenever they seem a little uppity.

  • Re:frosty piss (Score:5, Insightful)

    by newcastlejon (1483695) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @03:51PM (#46914649)

    He promptly gave me my laptop back, and he "thanked" me by also giving me someone else's xbox and playstation, big screen tv and car stereosystem.


  • by HiThere (15173) <charleshixsn&earthlink,net> on Sunday May 04, 2014 @04:14PM (#46914795)

    If the police were doing their purported job, then those pensions would have been well earned. And should have been expensed while the officers were serving (except in the case of medical retirements, which justifiably need funding after the retirement).

    That I don't feel they are doing their job doesn't mean that I think that the retirements should be eliminated, it means that I think the officers in question should be fired for cause. It frequently means that I also think they should be prosecuted for various crimes in addition to either misfeasance or malfeasance. (Which various crimes obviously depends on what the officer did.)

  • Re:Funding (Score:5, Insightful)

    by adolf (21054) <> on Sunday May 04, 2014 @05:31PM (#46915239) Journal

    And I've noticed many cops are now driving high-end "muscle cars" - because you know a $60K Dodge Charger with a "police package" is so much more effective in city response than the old Crown Vics or whatever the "off the shelf" cop car is these days.

    Cops cars have never been cheap. The suspension and chassis are stiffer, the wheels tend to be bigger (though steel, to reduce cost) to house larger brakes, the transmissions and differentials are often special. Various options exist for bullet-proof Kevlar armored doors. There are often extra, dedicated oil and transmission coolers. The batteries are huge, and there can be more than one of them, and the alternators are bigger. The seats are wider, not because cops are fat (remember, most other Americans are fat), but because they carry a ridiculous amount of hardware on their belts. These are all safety and durability improvements for the type of driving these cars are expected to be doing on a regular basis, with the vehicles themselves sometimes working 3 shifts per day.

    And then there's a lot of work and expense that goes into modifying them for police duty even once they're delivered: By default, the interior is spartan, at best (what cup holder?). Communicaitons, lights, computer(s) need added, and added stoutly. Cages, locking shotgun holders need added. Push bars. Graphics and/or paint need changed to match the rest of the fleet Et cetera.

    These are not luxury automobiles -- you can easily find a cheap Kia on the lot at Enterprise that is more pleasant, with more creature comforts than any average cop car for normal driving.

    That said, there are three "off the shelf" cop cars since demise of the Crown Vic: Dodge Charger, and Ford Police Interceptor.

    None of these are implicitly "muscle cars." They're all available with a normally-aspirated V6 that is identical (or at least very nearly so) to the same engines you'll find in the same civilian cars at the dealership, though more-powerful engines are certainly available.

    So, what does such a purpose-built car cost? From this article [], base prices (including, in these cases, upgraded engines) looks like the following:

    2012 Chevrolet Caprice PPV, 6.0L/355-hp/384-lb-ft OHV 16-valve V-8: $31,745

    2012 Dodge Charger Pursuit, 5.7L/370-hp/395-lb-ft OHV 16-valve V-8, $30,965

    2013 Ford Police Interceptor Sedan, 3.5L/365-hp/350-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6, $29,155

    and for comparison with the venerable Crown Vic:

    2008 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, 4.6L/239-hp/276-lb-ft SOHC 16-valve V-8, $28,470

    I, for one, think my money is being better-spent on any of the three standard-issue cop car chassis, than it ever was on a Crown Vic. Price is roughly in-keeping with a last-gen, inflation-adjusted Crown Vic, and even though the new cars are actually a bit heavier, every single performance feature (including gas mileage) is improved.

    This is not opulence, but simply progress.

  • Re: frosty piss (Score:4, Insightful)

    by buddyglass (925859) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @06:26PM (#46915443)
    I think the danger posed by speeders is overblown, yes. That said, the current status quo is an equilibrium reached in the presence of traffic cops. Remove them entirely, i.e. don't enforce speed limits at all, and the new equilibrium might be meaningfully less safe than the current one.
  • Re: frosty piss (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Damarkus13 (1000963) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @06:34PM (#46915461)
    Are most phones taken by force? I know at least a dozen people who have had phones stolen, but not one was taken forcefully.

    Not to mention, they will need a warrant force entry and seize the phone. Combined with the fact that they will probably only be able charge the perp with possession stolen property, it the whole exercise a rather expensive proposition.

  • Re:Funding (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Sunday May 04, 2014 @06:44PM (#46915475)

    Fascinating, but you are focusing on the wrong element and even there your vision is myopic.

    The real issue is not choice of over-priced police cruisers - used mostly for hot-dogging to non-events. I can no longer count the times I've seen 3 or 4 cops weaving in and out of traffic at high speed to arrive at a situation involving a drunk street guy or a hooker.

    A few years back, I was waiting for a MAX train in in Portland at around 0030 after work, and had wondered up to the second or third floor of a parking garage to look over the street and smoke a butt. I watched a Portland cop drive up onto the sidewalk just to be able to chuck a Burger King bag into a trash can.

    I give the cop points for disposing of trash in a proper receptacle.

    And these MRAPs - yes, every Cop Shop seems to need one. You know, you might need to lay siege to a crack house... God forbid cops do like they had done for years and just fucking BREAK DOWN THE DOOR.

    Oh yes, Police Work is a tough job... Here's what Forbe's has to say about it, let's have a look:

    1. Logging workers
    2. Fishers and related fishing workers
    3. Aircraft pilot and flight engineers
    4. Roofers
    5. Structural iron and steel workers
    6. Refuse and recyclable material collectors
    7. Electrical power-line installers and repairers
    8. Drivers/sales workers and truck drivers
    9. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers
    10. Construction laborers

    Cops? Not on the list.

    It's not hard to understand that when you never get out of your car, and when you do it's to write a $200 ticket, well, life is good.

  • Re:Funding (Score:5, Insightful)

    by adolf (21054) <> on Sunday May 04, 2014 @06:57PM (#46915533) Journal

    Nice try, but I won't be trolled into a discussion of the merits and demerits of police behavior as that varies wildly between locales and jurisdictions and is an unresolvable debate, at best.

    I simply submit that ~30k is not overpriced for a specially-designed service vehicle, especially in comparison to the singular previous option.

    If you wish to debate that single insular point, then I'm up for it.

  • by cyberfringe (641163) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @11:07PM (#46916285) Journal
    My backpack was stolen at Orlando airport while I was distracted. It contained my iPad, Macbook Air and a ton of other really good stuff. For various reasons I won't list here, we didn't discover it missing until we returned home. I used Find My iPhone and within ½ hour got a hit and the address when the thief turned on the iPad. Once I was sure he was not moving, I sent the commands to wipe everything. There is a story to tell about find the "right" police to report the crime to, which can be tough when the theft occurred at an airport, in one county, and the perp is in an adjacent county and you live in yet a third county. I made literally 24 calls to multiple police agencies and at multiple points was told, "do you know how many calls we get like this every single day?". Apparently, hundreds. As a rule, the police have bigger crooks to catch. I decided to make a huge fuss, invoking DHS, FBI and everything else I could think of. Finally, I hit on the right strategy. I had been telling the (multiple) police officers I talked with that I was going to get in my car and confront the guy, and they ALL thought that was a really bad idea. Maybe I felt like doing that but --- I'm NOT stupid, OK? -- but it was a good negotiating ploy. I told them I would be there in an hour and so they finally connected me with a deputy sheriff, in his patrol car and not too far from the perp's location. I guess he was convinced I was on my way and likely to get really really hurt, so I allowed him to talk me out of going to the house in exchange for a promise to visit it at dawn. He kept his word. An older woman answered the door. Here is the conversation: "Were you at the airport last night?" "No, my son went to pick up his girlfriend". "Is he here" "Yes, he's asleep" "Is that his car in the driveway?" "No, that's my car" "Mind if I have a look?" "Go right ahead." THE SHERIFF FOUND MY IPAD AND AIR! (But not the backpack). A few days later I had them back. After weeks of more wrangling and assuring the district attorney I would prosecute, the perp was arrested. Six months later, they have not tried him (yet). Bottom line: mixed results which I only gained by being both a pain in the ass to three law enforcement departments all night long, including convincing them I was going to get in a situation where something REALLY bad would happen and they would have to deal with it. I don't recommend this approach. The lesson: it is highly unlikely that the police will do anything. I was lucky. I recommend checking out a service called "Witness" at . They have some great ideas for security and will help you with all this (dealing with police) in the event your equipment is stolen. I hope never to have to use their service but now I'm better prepared.

Successful and fortunate crime is called virtue. - Seneca