Here in White Plains, a break in the case came on Tuesday when a friend of Ms. Duplaga’s sent her a congratulatory text message on the return of her stolen computer. “She said, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ and her friend said, ‘Well, you popped up as being online,’ ” Mr. Jackson said.
He said that Ms. Duplaga immediately signed on to another Macintosh computer and, using a feature called “Back to My Mac,” was able to gain access to her missing laptop remotely. She could see that that the person who had her computer was shopping for beds, Mr. Jackson said. Then it occurred to her that she could activate a camera on her laptop and watch the thief live.
At first, the photo application revealed only a smoky room and an empty chair, Mr. Jackson said, but then a man sat down. Ms. Duplaga, again using remote technology, typed in the command to snap a photo. “When you take a picture with that computer, it shows a countdown, and when it does, this guy figures out what’s going on,” Mr. Jackson said. “It all clicks for him, and he puts his hand up to cover the lens, but it was too late. She had already taken the picture.”
The thief wasn't unknown to the victims - both he and his partner had been guests at a party the victims had held some weeks before. A lesson to be learned? Hide all your electronics when you have a party, eh?