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Laptop thief caught by victim, who posts on YouTube, Twitter

Mark Bao, from his Twitter profile

UPDATE: Mark Bao lets us know what happened to the thief. Details below in bold.

We've told you about thieves that post pictures of themselves on Facebook, using and flashing the stolen goods. We've told you about bungling burglars who have left their charging cellphones behind, caught in the act of pilfering other people's property. And now we present you with another addition to the list of wish-they-were-smarter-criminals-but-funnier-that-they're-not: a young man who preyed on a Massachusetts college student, used his victim's MacBook Air to take a picture of himself and record a video, the latter accessed by the computer-savvy victim and posted online.

The victim, Mark Bao, is not your typical 18-year-old. He's the kind of guy with the kind of scary know-how it takes to exact sweet revenge, to the delight of Twitter followers everywhere and anyone who's ever been violated by thievery.

This is what Bao did, about two months after the theft: using BackBlaze, an automated backup syncing service, he found an access point into his missing MacBook Air since any changes made on the computer were also reflected in the cloud. Bao now had a way into his hard drive, and browser history.

Here's what he found: the thief took a photo of himself using Photo Booth (reflected in Bao's tweet: "Wow. The first thing that MacBook thieves do REALLY IS take pictures on Photo Booth. I didn't think they were that dumb!") and the pièce de résistance, a video of the perp trying to pop-and-lock to a remix of Tyga's "Make it Rain." Bao posted it on YouTube and announced it on his Twitter stream ("The video is up! This is the dude who stole my MacBook Air a few months ago.) and we also have to share it with you now because this criminal really does "act the fool":

Mark Bao's laptop thief dancing

Bao traced the thief back to his Facebook page using the browser history, so now he's got the guy's name. Based on 9 mutual friends, he thought that the thief was another student who lives in the same building at Bentley University. He tweeted: "he goes to my school! a few floors down from my dorm." Turns out, he was wrong.

Currently on spring break, Bao doesn't seem like he's in any hurry to bust this guy, having already replaced the laptop almost immediately (according to his Twitter stream). He does say he plans to report this to the police and campus police once he's back at school. Another tweet reveals possibly more retribution is coming: "And yes, I have thief guy's Facebook and everything. I'm too busy to stage any serious lulz, but don't worry... lulz will certainly happen."

(According to Encyclopaedia Dramatica, lulz is "laughter at someone else's expense." Too late, we're already there!)

We don't doubt Bao will follow through. This is a young man who seems to know what he wants, and how to do it.

According to his online profile, Bao is an entrepreneur and founder of two nonprofits: The Genevine Foundation, which aims to fights homelessness and poverty; and The Center for Ethical Business. Barely voting age, he's already founded no less than four startups, which can make a person (ok, me!) think, what the heck am I doing with my life? 

Here's his tagline, if there's any doubt as to his intention to be a mover and shaker: "I move fast. I'm ambitious. I'm out to make change."

Now that the tide is turning on the hapless thief (who still is unaware he's been found out), change is going to come real fast, for him, at least.

UPDATE: Bao emailed us and told us the thief turned in the laptop this morning.

I think he found out, or the police did something like call him. I'm not exactly sure what happened, but he Facebook messaged me this morning telling me that he dropped it off.

There's definitely going to be some kind of consequence for the theft. I have neither the time nor the patience to press charges, so I'm not going to go that route. I'm leaving it up to the police/state to judge the consequences. The courts have more important things to deal with.

He also shared these takeaways from this experience.

Learned that there are some people out there that just aren't nice. Reality check :( 

I was lucky that I had a way to find out who stole it. There's not a lot of options for people since most thieves wipe drives before using them... there are some great apps like Undercover (for Mac) and Prey (for all platforms) that let you find lost computers. And the way I got into my files was using a cloud backup solution called Backblaze.

As for the laptop, Bao intends to sell it, with proceeds going to the Red Cross Japan fund.

(via Switched)

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Check out Technolog on Facebook, and on Twitter, follow Athima Chansanchai, who would totally tap the services of a Mark Bao if her laptop were ever stolen.