App helps in return of repeatedly stolen laptop - KPTV - FOX 12

App helps in return of repeatedly stolen laptop

Posted: Updated: Jan 24, 2013 10:32 PM

Milwaukie police tried to find the rightful owner of a stolen laptop, only to discover it had been stolen not once, but twice and all through Craigslist.

Police say the original owner of the laptop, Alexander Stanisel, reported his Macbook stolen in January 2012. Stanisel says the computer was swiped from his desk at work and he never thought he'd see it again.

The thieves were caught on camera, but police say the trail eventually ran cold, until now.

"I was tempted many times to throw away the box and receipt because thought I would never see it again, but something told me to keep it," said Stanisel.

It turns out Stanisel's instincts were right.

Police say after Stanisel's computer was stolen, it was sold and resold several times, until it wound up in the hands of Chloe Simmons, who bought the laptop on Craigslist for $800.

Police say Simmons had no idea the laptop was stolen and installed software on it to track its whereabouts, just in case it got lost.

That also turned out to be a good thing because, as the story goes, the laptop was stolen yet again.

"I guess someone stole it from her house, and then sold it on Craigslist for $400," said Stanisel.

Simmons was able to send a message to the computer through a special app, which was received by its new owner, Abram Underwood.

Underwood called police as soon as he got that message, and realized his new Macbook wasn't new at all.

Police say once they ran its serial number, they uncovered the true owner of the laptop was Stanisel.

"It was crazy, at first thought it was a hoax, I get this call late at night from an unknown number, and they just said, ‘Hey, we have your laptop,'" said Stanisel.

Because Stanisel kept his case and serial number all that time, he was able to prove the laptop was his.

Now that he's got it back, he can't help but think about its incredible journey to get there.

"It's weird when I held it for the first time, I said, ‘Wow, this has passed through so many hands,' and it just came in a big circle right back to me," said Stanisel.

No arrests have been made in the case, and the two people who bought the stolen computer from Craigslist aren't facing charges.

Police say anytime you buy something on Craigslist, you should be wary if the seller is in a rush to sell, or if the price is too good to be true.

Police say you should also always ask for proof of an original purchase.

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