A Canadian man took matters into his own hands after his laptop was stolen when he logged into it remotely and posted the thief's misdeeds online. Stu Gale, from Cochrane, Alberta, had his computer swiped after leaving it in an unlocked car and days later received a notification informing him that someone had logged onto the device.
The 51-year-old computer security expert tried to access his computer by beginning a remote connection, which allows someone to connect to and take control of a device from another location. To begin with the thief kept closing the pop-up window, but she eventually left the room, unwisely while still logged into her Facebook account.
Gale quickly set to work scouring the unwitting thief's Facebook page for personal details and contacts. "Eventually she went to the bathroom and I went through her profile. I went through and got her phone numbers, friends list and pictures, and while I was doing that, two (chat) conversations started," he told Canada's National Post.
Gale phoned one of the thief's Facebook friends and told them what she'd done, explaining that he would give her a chance to return the laptop. He also left a message for the woman telling her that she'd been caught and warning her that he would send her information to the police if she didn't comply.
"I sent a text to all her numbers saying I'll go to the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mountain Police) and I'll make you famous."
The thief called his bluff, and, presumably regretted it. When the woman failed to reply, Gale posted her profile photos and phone numbers to a local community Facebook group. This managed to bring the thief enough unwanted attention that she eventually deactivated her Facebook profile and phone numbers.
Gale said he wasn't holding out hope of having his property returned but was at least able to put a positive spin on the experience. "I'm not going to see that computer again. But at least I got some comic relief."
Cochrane police haven't commented on the case.