This afternoon I was greeted with some great news from California. The Indio police department was able to successfully execute a search warrant and retrieved my stolen laptop.
During the second day of Coachella in April, some lowlife managed to get in to my truck and take off with my laptop and cellphone… little did they know that I’ve been diligently tracking them remotely ever since. I didn’t have any fancy theft monitoring software running, and I didn’t have any physical leads, but I was able to trace their IP address through the Google Analytics back-end built in to this website… creepy right?
Analytics is usually used as a market research tool, a great way to see (in broad strokes) where your website traffic is coming from, but as I discovered, if you try hard enough it is apparently much more powerful than just that.
After the thief tried to log in to my Facebook account I was notified via email and I logged his IP address, one that I would later continue to track remotely through server-side IP logs . Through the wonders of Google Analytics I was able to establish enough probable cause to open an investigation. There were too many coincidences, and as such with no photo or video evidence the Indio Police Department were able to subpoena Verizon for the thief’s physical address and retrieve the stolen computer and cellphone.
Going forward I have installed a remote monitoring system on my computer that I can remotely activate and log IP addresses, screenshots, GPS coordinates and keystrokes… heck I can even take photos of the would be thief via the installed webcam.
I’d like to extend a huge thanks to the Indio police department for their role in returning my stolen property.
Let this be a warning to the three rioters who smashed my camera… The Vancouver Police Department and I know more than you think we do, and you should probably turn yourselves in.