How do you get back a stolen Mac Book ? If its even possible.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by stolelnmacbook, May 5, 2011.

  1. stolelnmacbook macrumors newbie

    May 5, 2011
    I just got my Mac Book Pro stolen from my dorm in college if at all possible what do you think is the best way to get it back. I heard talk about turning on the web cam if the book is open and taking a pic of who is using it is there any truth to this?
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    Yes, if you installed software to do that before it was stolen...
  3. mikeo007 macrumors 65816

    Mar 18, 2010
    That's more of a pre-emptive thing that you'd have to set up before the Mac was stolen.

    First thing, report it to the police.

    Do you use any sort of online backup? If you have automatic backup, or even dropbox perhaps, you may be able to grab the thief's IP address (assuming they didn't disable the network interfaces or format the computer) and track from there.

    Sorry to hear about this, it's a tough spot to be in :-(
  4. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Report it to the police and cross your fingers.
  5. MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    sorry to hear about your loss
    but unless you know the thief or if the thief has no idea about what he got there, rare to miss that apple logo thought ,the chances of getting it back is very slim
    serial number and mac code which are unique to every computer can be changed if the thief knows how to type and search with google

    anti theft trackers and apps are only good to catch the noob type of thief who is really switching the thing on ,as the clever ones take the MacBook apart and sell the bits on ebay or other sites and nobody ever will ask where these parts (shell,keyboard, display,logicboard,processor, ram , superdrive...) came from and everybody is happy to get a good deal

    so your best bet is not to get it stolen in first place or a good insurance that really pays out
  6. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    Report it to the police at least and give them the serial number. Very unlikely they will do anything unless you have pictures from the webcam showing the thief.
  7. jsgreen macrumors 6502

    Nov 27, 2007
    Also very sorry to hear about your loss.

    Assuming you will get some sort of replacement laptop, consider installing something like prey ( which is free and also turning on the firmware password (which by default is off) in OS X. Enabling a firmware password helps protect a knowledgeable thief from formatting your HD to wipe out any evidence that the machine is actually yours.
  8. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    it's unfortunate, but to be honest there is really nothing you could do. As others have said maybe if your dropbox tries to sync, or mobileme, or if you know the mac address/serial number of the mb maybe if the thief connected the computer to a network you would be able to track the IP address. Pretty long shot, but maybe worth the try. Otherwise start saving for a new one, maybe invest in a kensington lock next time and add some software ahead of time to help if it happens again. Nothing will make your macbook un stealable, but if you have software, etc. it can make it more probable that you will get your device back.

    while the firmware password can help there is nothing stopping the thief from just yanking the hard drive all together and buying a copy of snow leopard for $29 ...
  9. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2010
    True but he'll have to get a set of micro screwdrivers and a new hard drive, which will likely mean involving more people and raising the awareness that he got a 'new computer'. The more people know about it the better chance of getting it back, at least that's my theory.
  10. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    why someone would need help or have to tell someone that they are going to best buy to grab a hard drive, or ordering one off of newegg makes no sense to me... I think if someone stole a computer and was swapping out the HDD, they would be capable of doing it without asking everyone and their cousin, but hey ya never know.

    Likewise, even if they did ask a friend, it's highly unlikely their friend is going to rat them out or question them on the acquisition of the computer... unless perhaps one of his friends stole the computer and is asking a mutual acquaintance for help, but that's even worse if your friends are stealing from you.
  11. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2010
    Obviously we are both making a lot of assumptions here:

    You are assuming the person who stole it knows how to change a hard drive and is therefore going to keep it, maybe they are going to flip it, maybe they have no clue how to change a hard drive, maybe not.

    The point I was trying to make it that maybe, if the person is not so tek savvy they might ask their friend if they can borrow their screwdriver set, or ask their friend where they can buy a laptop hard drive, but who knows, maybe he has his own set of screwdrivers handy and hard drive waiting to drop into it.
  12. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    agreed, that's why i said you never know but it's really a long shot. One would think if you stole a laptop you could at least google how to change the hard drive... there are so many youtube videos and tutorials that you have to know next to nothing about computers to NOT be able to do it yourself, that's all i was saying. Still worth a shot, but unfortunately once your computer is stolen, you basically have next to no chance of ever getting it back.
  13. Amerabian macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2011
    Since you live in the dorms, there's a very high chance that the person lives there too. Maybe even on the same floor.

    Was there anything else stolen besides the macbook??

    Only you can track down the thief.

    Make sure you carry a knife in your pocket (for fishing of course, nothing else). ;)
  14. stolelnmacbook thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 5, 2011
    thank you everybody!

    You guys absolutly know more about computers than I do, and I doubt the theif that took it does either because in the dorms that I live in there are a bunch of thugs but not really anyone who could take apart a computer and tell one part from another. I was just hoping that they would maybe keep it or take it to a pawn shop and I was wanting to know if anyone could help me try to find this guy and get my laptop back.
  15. mankar4 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 23, 2007
    Check to see if your parents homeowner's insurance covers stuff stolen away from home. Worked for me when my bike got stolen once.
  16. Locodice macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2011
    For people reading this thread and don't have any protection against theft check prey out.
  17. arcite macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2009
    Cairo, trapped in a pyramid with my iphone
    Sacrifice a live chicken to the voodoo god of vengeance. You may not get your macbook back, whomever stole it will rue the day they messed with you!

    Seriously, have a good cry. Just let it out.
  18. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    Pull the hard drive and that software is rendered useless, why even bother?
  19. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    in the hope that the thief is dumb enough not to pull it....

    in case you guys didn't know, no security system, no alarm, no software, no lock, NOTHING makes any object, whether it be a car, bike, laptop, house, nothing is fool proof, and if a thief wants it, they will get it if they know how. All security measures are theft DETERRENTS, they are not fool-proof, so based on your logic, why lock your front doors to your house? A crook can easily pick them. Why roll up the window on your car, it can easily be broken.... ;)
  20. rockyroad55 macrumors 601


    Jul 14, 2010
    Phila, PA
    Just suck it up to a life lesson and buy another laptop. Just be more careful next time. In school, I carry my macbook wherever I go and only leave it around if someone I trust is there to watch it. In the dorm, I just lock the doors.

    Doesn't the school have cameras in the hallways? You can report it and they can check for someone you do not know entering the room.
  21. a-m-k macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2009
    Did you have the "hidden" app installed. I think this was offered as a one time freebie last December for some reason. I actually forget why it was free, but, to me it's well worth it. (The added 'safety'.) I hope you had it and good luck!
  22. augforce macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2011
    St. Charles, MO
    Well, in that case, your best bet is to go to area pawn shops and see if anyone has, or tried to, sell one. If they did, HOPEFULLY there is security camera footage in the store that might be useful to police. But then there is still the problem of proving the laptop was yours...
  23. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    doesn't need to be a camera in a pawn shop... to pawn things you have to provide ID and fingerprint and sign that you didn't steal/find/pick the item up off the street.

    Proof would be easy if you have the receipt, can describe what's on the computer, it's registered to you, etc.
  24. ThatNukkaMoe macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2011
    North Carolina

    The only way to find the laptop now is to find out who did it. The laptop itself wont help you out unless you have "undercover" or "VigiMac" before the incident.

    He or she may already formatted it and/or sold the laptop to someone else. Rocky is right, this is a life lesson, buy another one. This time, make sure you buy a laptop cable lock, put it inside a safe or take it with you 24/7. Also make sure you know the people around you.
  25. joeshaw92 macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2011
    To avoid it getting stolen while the computer is on, check out iAlertU, its free and it takes a picture of the person stealing it as well as making a sound like a car alarm which is incredibly loud, and flashes the screen. Enough to deter any theif at a coffee shop or library etc.

    Not much help now, but sorry for your loss

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