An App Helps Chicago Woman Find Stolen MacBook on Facebook

Facebook has helped people do a lot this year, from providing a vent to those frustrated with finals to providing a means to overthrow dictators to those frustrated with their governments. If all goes well, we might be able to add another crime solved to that growing list, too.

In Chicago last week, Theresa Unkrur’s house was burglarized. A thief or thieves made off with computers, an iPhone, and a PlayStation 3. One of those computers was a MacBook that belonged to Unkrur’s daughter, who was a little surprised to see a new photo uploaded onto her Facebook straight from her stolen laptop a few days later.

Unkrur’s daughter had an app similar to this one, which uploads pictures taken with a MacBook directly to the user’s Facebook account. The picture is a clear shot of two men, potentially the thieves, sitting on a couch. If a positive identification can be made, the two men in the picture at the very least can point the way to the thieves, if they aren’t the perpetrators in the first place. And, thanks to a fingerprint left behind because of a botched attempt at stealing the family’s television, the Unkrurs should know for certain either way when that time comes.

This story seems like a case of unintended consequences, with the Facebook app in question serving an unexpectedly fortunate purpose. But, there is no shortage of apps coming out now that do serve this kind of security function, like this one, which uses the MacBook’s accelerometer to detect sudden motion, triggering the computer to snap a photo that will be sent to a designated email address, along with optional SMS alerts.

Here’s hoping the Unkrurs get their gear back, and that the same thing never happens to you.

Via the Chicago Tribune


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