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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Jun 21, 2013
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    Macbook Air Stolen - Need Advice Please
    Hello Guys,

    I had my Macbook air stolen from my car the other night. Woke up to my car window smashed in and my backpack gone. This is the second time this has happened to me in the past 6 months. I've already spend about $500 getting my window fixed for both instances.

    The community that I live in is somewhat secluded, so I suspect the same person, someone who frequently comes to the community, is suspected of this criminal activity. I don't leave my backpack in my car but the two times that I forgot about my backpack, both times my window was smashed in. First time happened on a Tuesday, this past time happened on a Wednesday. There are community workers who come weekly Tue and Wed. Luckily I had "Find my mac" installed. Later on Wed night around 11:30pm, I received a notification that my mac had been found. It gave me a street location and a circumference of about 5 houses. I proceeded to use the erase my mac feature, and was emailed that my mac erase process had started. After I received the notification I saw that I wasn't far from the street that my mac was located, and proceeded to drive to that area. The area was a pretty run down neighborhood with most of the homes having bars on the windows. There was one house with the lights on during that time, so I suspected that was the house that had my mac. I called the police, the dispatcher sent a police officer over to my location to do a "preserve the peace." I was ready to go and get my laptop back, but the police officer had informed me that it may not be the best idea to go knocking on the door at 12am, and the criminal has every reason to deny that the laptop is not there in the first place. Since the police officer didn't have a warrant he wouldn't be able to go in and get it. He advised me to contact the detective and go through official means.

    I have been checking Craigslist list every hour for the past two days. "Find my mac" has not given me an updated location since wed night. The more days pass, I suspect that my mac is lost for good.

    I had a couple questions.
    1) I had a password on my mac. How did the thief connect to a wifi network? Did he hack my password or bypass it?

    2) How reliable is the erase my mac feature? I've read about this and have also contact apple concerning this questions, but both reps didn't give me a sure answer. Once I "erase my mac" and the thief sees that I have initiated this function, can't he just power off my Mac? How confident can I be that the mac was wiped successfully?

    3) I've read, and have been told, that after the mac has been wiped the "Find my mac" feature can still function, and my mac can be located as long as it is connected to wifi. But my questions is, if the hard drive is wiped, how can the thief connect to a wifi network?

    Its frustrating that the police can't do more because I know the location of where the mac is. I am thinking of writing a letter to my neighborhood and asking them if they have a similar experience and when it occurred. If everyone emails me back saying either, Tue, or Wed, then we can be pretty confident that its one of the workers that comes to our neighborhood on those dates.

    Anyone have any advice or go through a similar situation? I've had my laptop for only 6 months and I really cherished it. I just want my property back. Thank you for your help and responses.

  2. #2

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maccho View Post
    I had my Macbook air stolen from my car the other night. Woke up to my car window smashed in and my backpack gone. This is the second time this has happened to me in the past 6 months. I've already spend about $500 getting my window fixed for both instances.
    VERY sorry to hear about this.

    The only thing I can advise is...don't leave anything visible inside your vehicle (in this case your backpack). This is the 2nd time this has happened to you...I would think that one time would be enough.

    By using "Find My Mac"...and contacting the police...you did just about everything you could. Unfortunately the police have to follow procedure. I'm afraid to say by the time the police can do anything (search warrant)...that computer is going to be sold.

    Still...good luck,

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  3. #3

    chscag's Avatar
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    To add to what Nick said, if you had comprehensive coverage on your auto you may be able to recover some of your loss (less the deductible). Other than that, there's nothing else you can really do.

  4. #4

    TattooedMac's Avatar
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    To answer Question 1, no matter what Password Manager you have, there is nothing stopping the thief connecting to any other network they have the Password too, so having 1 Password doesn't matter in this case.

    How reliable ?? The erase feature is quite good on the Mac from what i know as its done via iCloud. How quick is it ?? Well that all depends on the Network. Could you have erased yours ?? Thats like asking how long is a piece of string

    Sorry for your loss though
    Dont forget to use the Reputation System if someone has helped you out !!!
    Arguing with a zealot is only slightly easier than tunneling through a mountain with your forehead!!!!!
    MoTM ☆☆☆

  5. #5


    Member Since
    Jan 22, 2010
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    Mid-2012 MBP (16GB, 1TB HD), Monoprice 24-inch second monitor, iPhone 5s 32GB, iPad Air 2 64GB
    I assume you have learned your lesson about leaving valuables in your car where a (clearly stalking) thief can see them.

    If you erased the Mac and were successful, you will not see any further signals from it -- as the hard drive (including Find My Mac and everything else) was, you know, erased. Only the recovery partition is left from your original install. While this protects your identity and data, it also helps the thief sell the device as it now has no identifying information on it.

    I would check with local pawn shops and Craigslist but it sounds like the thief got themselves a nice newish MacBook Air. I don't mean to sound cynical as I am genuinely sorry that happened (my car was also broken into not that long ago, and it cost me about $500 as well), but the reality is that you aren't going to be able to legally recovery that MBA until the thief sells it on to someone. Talk to your insurance agent about getting a plan with a lower deductible, find out if they will compensate you for the MBA, and stop leaving valuables in your car. Good luck.

  6. #6

    cwa107's Avatar
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    Only one other bit of advice to offer here... in addition to Find My Mac, I would also recommend you check out Prey, which lets you collect a lot more data about the thief and also manipulate the machine should you need to:

    Open source anti-theft solution for laptops, phones & tablets – Prey
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

    https://youtu.be/KHZ8ek-6ccc

  7. #7


    Member Since
    Jun 25, 2013
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    Big bummer!
    I'm so sorry to hear about the theft you've had occur with your personal property. Nobody should ever have to deal with such a thing but unfortunately, it's the world we live in - things happen because there are bad people out there who want to get things for free and not have to work for them.

    With that said, I'm curious about the same thing. I've ordered my first MacBook Pro and it'll actually be my first personal laptop. I've owned only desktops until now, primarily because of screen image quality and security. If I lived near you, I'd help you set up a hidden camera to catch the dern thief (or thieves). It's awfully bold of the thief to tag your car twice. I figure if they'd do it twice, they're stupid enough to hit you up a 3rd time so a decoy and a sting operation with private citizens would be amazing to set up.

    I'm sorry I really don't have anything helpful to offer. I just wanted to convey how badly I feel that you're going through this horrible experience. Good luck tracking down your belongings.

    And always remember - out of sight, out of mind. Never keep anything valuable within view through the windows. My husband laughs at me when I hide our $550 Passport Radar Detector and Oakley Sunglasses. He wouldn't be laughing if we came back to our car with a broken window. Also remember - Karma. What comes around, goes around. This thief is really in for a bad life experience. Bad things come to bad people. And vice-versa.

  8. #8

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nyobie View Post
    Also remember - Karma. What comes around, goes around. This thief is really in for a bad life experience. Bad things come to bad people. And vice-versa.
    Actually all four scenarios are possible:

    - bad things happen to bad people
    - good things happen to good people
    - bad things happen to good people
    - good things happen to bad people

    The bottom line is...if someone is a "bad" person...they can't help but do bad things. If you do enough bad things...eventually you get caught. But...a bad person that does 100 bad things...may only get caught 5 out of those 100 times. Thus...95 of those bad things they got away with.

    So from the bad persons point of view...those 95 bad things that they got away with...were good things!

    Food for thought.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  9. #9


    Member Since
    Jun 25, 2013
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    20
    Nick,

    You sound like a software engineer stating the 4 permutations of the bad and the good.

    I like only two of the four myself so if I were to generate code to account for the 4 permutations, I'd filter out the two I didn't like. Especially since I was trying to help the OP feel better by highlighting that bad people have bad things happen to them - eventually it catches up to them fwiw.

    Peace,
    Sue

  10. #10

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nyobie View Post
    Especially since I was trying to help the OP feel better by highlighting that bad people have bad things happen to them - eventually it catches up to them fwiw.
    I understand. I stated all four permutations for discussions sake.

    Unfortunately when bad people do multiple bad things...they don't always get punished for every bad thing. Many times they get away with the bad thing/things they did/do.

    I of course hope that the person that stole the computer gets caught & punished as well...and that the OP gets their computer back!

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

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