Friday morning, I walked into our office to give Katr her first cup of coffee. After demanding my usual coffee delivery payment (one kiss and/or butt fondling), I glanced over at my desk and something seemed ... off. Monitor? Check. Laptop stand? Check. Waaaaaaait a minute.
"Where is my computer?"
Holy motherfucking shit. My MacBook Pro was gone.
Once we stopped hyperventilating and clutching at each other for comfort, we assessed the situation. After taking it all in, it was pretty obvious what had happened. Here is why and how my laptop - and only my laptop - got stolen out of our office.
- Our condo is a semi-ground, semi-garden level suite.
- The blinds on our windows that face the street (east windows) are usually open - anyone walking by can see my laptop on my desk.
- The area behind the openable windows in our office (south windows) is pretty shielded from the street by bushy cedar trees, giving a potential laptop-stealing turd some cover.
- My laptop was on a stand, making it even easier to access via the window.
- The screened window was open - because it is tiny and covered by a screen and no human could fit through there. But you know what can fit? A HUMAN ARM. An arm attached to a turd who used a dirty wooden stake to push out the screen.
- We were out all afternoon on Thursday and didn't come into the office again Friday morning.
- Emmy was not home to collar the perp.
Katr called the Vancouver Police Department non-emergency number. Then she logged into her Prey anti-theft software account to report my laptop missing, because she bought the Pro plan a few months ago, even thought I thought she was crazy.
I took pictures of the crime scene and felt like I was on CSI: Fucked. Then, never one to let laptop theft get in the way of my vanity, I hustled to put some mascara on, in case the VPD sent over a cute lady cop. They did. We'll call her "Officer Bristine".
Officer Bristine had a gun, a flashlight and a professional yet kind demeanour. She quickly disabused us of the notion that the myriad muddy smudges around the window were usable prints and told us that we would be surprised how many tiny spaces thieves could fit into, because many thieves are skinny. She took our statements, logged Katr's ID, got the laptop's serial number, listened to us talk hopefully about the effectiveness of Prey and advised us to keep our windows closed when we went out.
She also told us that it was fairly unlikely the laptop would be recovered and made sure to give us the case number so that we could give it to our insurance company.
As I wiped the perp's smudge prints away from around the window and snapped the slightly bent screen back into place, I tried to remember that it could have been SO MUCH WORSE. He/she could have actually broken a window and made off with all of our electronics, not just my laptop. He/she could have taken my laptop and then whizzed through the window. And although my laptop was gone, my data wasn't. Because my wife knows I'm a knob, she'd set me up with a hard drive that continually backs up my computer - and that hard drive was not taken.
Still, it felt like a real kick in the box - karmically and financially. Because laptops are not fucking free.
Unfortunately, work had to keep happening, so Katr and I decided we'd better just suck it, shell out for a new computer ASAP and deal with the credit card bill later. Since I got the new one last time, we decided Katr would get a new laptop and I would take her old one. We made an appointment at the Apple Genius Bar for 10 a.m. on Saturday.
There may have been some crying at different points throughout the day.
We had dinner plans Friday night, which was awesome, because when someone busts into your house and steals your shit, you need some queers and a motherfucking G&T. We locked all our windows and had an excellent night out. Emmy did a great job of warding off any further thieving turd-incursions.
When I got home, I enjoyed the following email from my loving mother:
"I'm been thinking of you today and sending good thoughts and love and the sincere hope that they catch the slimy little cocksucker who stole your computer and imposed on your sense of security!
And then we went to bed around 11 p.m.
At 1:30 a.m., we woke up to Katr's cellphone ringing. The number was blocked, so she didn't answer. Then our home phone rang. I rocketed out of bed full of white hot fury. WHO was CALLING??
It was the Vancouver Police Department.
Police: "I have good news for you! We have your laptop."
Me: "You are KIDDING me."
Police: "Nope. Someone just turned it in. I'm sorry to call so late, but it was either call you now or wait until Monday to get it back to you."
Me: "No, no...now is good! So good! What happened?"
Police: "Well, I guess this 15 year old kid bought the laptop from some guy at the Skytrain for $250. And he took it home and started putting his stuff on it and...you have some kind of software on there? Prey or something?"
Me: "Yes! Prey! We have that!"
Police: "Right, well, he said he went online and all of a sudden your laptop snapped his picture and there was some kind of message about 'this laptop has been reported missing' or something and he freaked out and brought it to us."
Me: "That. Is. AWESOME."
Police: "Yeah! So I'm going to come bring it back to you...is that okay? You're at [our address]?"
Me: "Yes! Great! See you soon!"
Katr was pretty sure that this call was a scam - that in fact, it was the laptop thief calling to trick us into opening our door for him at 1:30 a.m. so that we could be home invaded. I love that I implicitly trusted this stranger calling at 1:30 a.m. and Katr was like "HE'S COMING FOR US." She checked out the number online and then called the VPD non-emergency number to double check that the number was legit. It was. So we put on some pants.
About ten minutes later, two officers came be-bopping through our front gate with the laptop in hand. They officially closed the case and told us that the kid who turned my laptop in had asked them to ask us to wipe all of his personal info off the computer because he was worried we'd show up at his house. We all had a good laugh and then, my laptop cradled in my loving arms, we bid the cops farewell and went back inside. Then we tried unsuccessfully to sleep.
The next morning, we went to our appointment at the Apple store, with MY LAPTOP, YAY!!!! The Genius checked it over to make sure no one had installed any hardware inside it, then she wiped it and set it up factory fresh, all ready for my data. And later, Katr hooked up my Time Machine to my laptop and it was freaky. It was like I'd never left. Like, documents that I hadn't even saved yet were still open on my desktop. I was home.
I managed to track the 15-year-old kid down via Facebook (I think) and I'm torn. Do I send him a note to say "Thank you for choosing to turn my laptop in instead of tossing it in the dumpster?" or do I just leave it? If you made it all the way through this story, you are more than qualified to answer this question.
I am so fucking happy.
In other news, if you live in Vancouver and want a laptop stand, hit me up! Because I will no longer be using it.