Twitter Detective Agency: The Case of the Stolen Laptop

By Alexis C. Madrigal

When Sean Power's laptop was stolen, he flipped on an open-source laptop recovery tool called Prey and began to track the presumed thief. Then, stuck far from New York, where his laptop was being held, he posted about the whole thing on Twitter, "Shit! Twitter, help! Prey just found my stolen (as of three days ago) laptop. Here's the report. I see the guy!"

Soon, people from his Twitter feed began to get involved in various ways, finding information about the guy using the stolen laptop and even heading to the bar where the software had located the hardware. After some interesting twists and turns, Power got his laptop back with the help of a a woman in a purple sarong, who chose to remain nameless. It all got tracked and organized via Storify, and so you can follow the Twitter detective agency at work. It's kind of a cracking read, actually.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/05/twitter-detective-agency-the-case-of-the-stolen-laptop/238871/