Limo Guest Uses Software to Track Down Oakland Limo Driver Who Stole Laptop
A man who had his laptop stolen turned to secret software after contacting the police, who offered little help.
“I was thinking, this sucks, someone has my computer and is viewing my stuff and there’s nothing I can do about it,” Joshua Kaufman said.
Kaufman, in an eerie bit of prescience, had installed an application called “Hidden” months before his laptop was stolen. The software allowed him to perform his own detective work after real-life detectives offered little help or hope in the computer’s recovery. After installation, Hidden users can create an online account to view images taken by the cameras on their computers, smartphones and other sophisticated (and expensive) electronics.
“I was amazed and impressed that it was working,” Kaufman said. “I never really tested it out, so I didn’t know if it was going to work or not.”
After logging into his account and viewing images of the person who stole his laptop, Kaufman presented his evidence to a detective with the Oakland Police Department to no avail. The detective candidly told him that the city had far tougher problems to address than his stolen laptop.
“His first response was, ‘I hate to be the one to tell you this, but we don’t have the resources to deal with this right now, we’re just too busy,'” Kaufman said.
After trying and failing to get police to take action, Kaufman posted the images of the thief on his blog and received more than 1,000 responses from his readers.
“I set up the blog because I was frustrated, and I wanted my story to get some more media attention and was hoping it would cause the police to act,” Kaufman said.
His persistence paid off when media outlets caught wind of the stolen laptop and began asking police about their lack of interest. The cops used the images taken from Kaufman’s account and eventually found the culprit, 27-year-old Oakland limo driver Muthanna Aldebashi. The driver told police that the laptop had been given to him as a gift, but the police were not receptive. They booked him on charges of possession of stolen property. In the end, Kaufman’s prescience and persistence paid off. He got his laptop back no worse for wear.
We have had guests leave a variety of things behind after their San Francisco limousine rentals, including laptops. In each case, the chauffeur has turned in the item, and we have called the guest to let him or her know we have it. Upon hearing this story, one of our staff members suggested a new catchphrase for our Bay Area limo service, “Rent your Oakland limo from us, we won’t rip off your stuff!” It’s undeniably catchy, but we’re not sure it presents the right message. We much prefer, “Rent your Oakland limo from us, you’ll have a wonderful time at a great rate!” The marketing guys may or may not like it, but we sure do. The next time you need a limousine in Oakland or anywhere else in the Bay Area, give us a call at NLS Limo at 1-800-339-8936. And don’t forget your laptop!