This document is a guide only. There is no guarantee that your laptop
will be recovered.
If your Laptop is stolen:
- File a police report with your local authorities, and let them know
that you have tracking software installed on the stolen laptop and
that you will give them the IP address as soon as they thief uses the
laptop to connect to the internet.
- Log into your account often and check the reports until you see a
new IP address show up.
- Gather as much information as you can about the IP address before
calling the police so they will be more likely to help you. You are
specifically looking for what ISP (like Comcast, Verizon, or AOL) is
in control of that IP address. Try these links:
- If you find that the IP address is within your school or business,
call your IT department and work with them directly.
- Provide the police with the IP address, ISP, and the exact time and
date that the IP address was used (from your yoyo reports). The local
police can subpoena the ISP for the information of which of their users
had that IP address at that date and time. The police can then visit
that address to recover the laptop or call the appropriate authorities
if it is in a different location.
If you have trouble getting the local police to help, try the sheriff's
office. Also, here is a helpful post that we found online:
- I'm a cybercrimes detective and computer forensics examiner in a
Sheriff's Department and do this all the time. It simply requires a
subpoena to the ISP that the IP address returns to. If the campus police
and city police won't do it, try your county or state police agencies
(both which also have jurisdiction). In my state, all police officers
have power anywhere in the state and I could "technically" investigate
and/or charge anyone with a crime anywhere in the state. We just don't
typically do this because it's stepping on each other's toes. As a
county officer though, I frequently investigate crimes involving cases
inside city or town limits if that agency doesn't have the capability.
If the IP address ends up being from another state, we just contact
the local police there to ask for their assistance.
Keep asking and ask to talk to a supervisor if they are not helping as much
as you would like. While there is no obligation from a police agency to necessarily
do everything they can on a property crime, most department heads will do
what they can to keep the public happy.
Like others have said though, you may simply get a return to a campus, business,
or open wireless network.