Hi-tech tracking software handcuffs laptop thief

Tracking software allowed an off-duty police officer and a sales rep to sniff out a thief and catch him red-handed.

The policeman had called in to see his wife at a supermarket on Clarence St in Hamilton when she said a sales rep's laptop had been stolen moments earlier, said district prevention manager Inspector Rob Lindsay. The officer phoned the district command centre to say he and the victim were tracking the computer.

"Using software loaded into the laptop, the rep was able to track it via GPS to the corner of Anglesea and Caro streets," Lindsay said.

The officer described the laptop moving slowly down the road so the shift manager radioed police units to respond.

Lindsay said the sales rep identified the thief he had seen on surveillance footage as a person waiting at a bus-stop.

"Officers approached the man at the bus-stop and found him in possession of a laptop. From there the sales rep was called in and was asked to use his password to unlock the device to establish if it was his or not and when this was done the 42-year-old man was arrested for theft."

Lindsay said it was one of many examples of how technology could be used to prevent crime.

Last year, there were three examples of stolen vehicles being traced by this type of technology, including a glazier's van which was recovered in Melville still loaded with all the owner's work tools.

Waikato Times