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True Crime

True Crime

Woman Uses Webcam to Watch Possible Laptop Thieves Deal Drugs, Watch Porn

Ms. Scallan. (Photo via Oonagh Scallan)

When Oonagh Scallan’s laptop was stolen from her car in an Oregon parking lot, she never thought she’d be spying on its possible thieves, let alone help police arrest a potentially dangerous wanted criminal.

But Ms. Scallan, a medical student in London, Ontario, had equipped her laptop with Prey, an anti-theft software that lets users track their devices in the event that they’re taken. As soon as her computer’s captors used the laptop to access the Internet, Prey sent Ms. Scallan screenshots of what they were doing on her computer, along with webcam photos of their faces. Ms. Scallan would later pass this information along to police. Read More

True Crime

Robber Nabbed After Logging into Facebook at House He Was Burgling

Mr. Wig, (probable) Facebook addict. (Dakota County Sheriff's Office)

Millennials — they can’t even stop with the social media long enough to rob a house properly.

South St. Paul resident Nicholas Steven Wig, 27, allegedly broke into and robbed a house last week, Ars Technica reports. Before fleeing the scene with his booty, he reportedly logged onto Facebook on the victim’s computer — but forgot to log out.

When the owner returned to his ransacked house, he discovered — besides the fact that he was missing a bunch of items — that his computer was logged into the Facebook account of someone named Nick Dub. Police traced the Nick Dub Facebook account back to Mr. Wig and arrested him on burglary charges.  Read More

True Crime

68% of People Would Put Themselves in Danger To Find a Stolen Phone, Survey Says

Prime theft target. (Wikimedia Commons)

If you thought the idea of tracking down an iPhone thief with a hammer was total lunacy, know this: in a new survey, nearly 70 percent of people said they’d willingly put themselves in danger to recover their stolen phone.

The stats come from Phone Theft in America, a report released today by mobile security company Lookout. Conducted in March 2014, the comprehensive survey measures things like where, when and how phones are most likely to be nabbed, and how much money theft victims would hypothetically pay to retrieve all the data on their stolen device. Read More

True Crime

Guard Your Pockets: U.S. Smartphone Thefts Doubled Last Year

Thieves want this. (Getty)

Thieves must be catching on about the addictive wonders of Candy Crush, because U.S. smartphone theft doubled from 2012 to 2013, Consumer Reports says.

Based on a survey of adult Internet users in the U.S., Consumer Reports estimates that about 3.1 million Americans were victims of smartphone theft in 2013 — nearly double the number they projected in 2012 (1.6 million). They also estimate that 1.4 million smartphones were lost and never recovered in 2013. Read More

True Crime

NYPD: Your Shiny New iPhone 5 is a Crime Magnet

Sorry, Russia! (Photo: twitter.com/DiarioLaPrensa)

The New York Police Department has good reason to be concerned about consumers’ Apple products: theft of Apple hardware has risen 40 percent in the last year. Compare that to an overall four percent rise in crime and you have what almost sounds like a crime wave focused on iPods, iPhones and iPads.

Plenty of iThefts occur in the street, but NBC New York reports your beloved cuddle phone is in even more danger on the subway: Read More

True Crime

Crime Blog Asks if Social Media Could Have Stopped Charles Manson

Detail from photo of Charles Manson

True Crime Diary is a great true crime blog run by writer Michelle McNamara. Ms. McNamara doesn’t update her blog daily, but when she does, the product is often an insightful and thought-provoking long read. That’s true of this entry posted yesterday, “#bloodbath: how social media might have changed one of history’s most infamous crime sprees.

The crime spree in question: the horrific murders committed by the followers of maniac Charles Manson during the Summer of ’69. Using facts from the case, Ms. McNamara posits an alternate timeline in which smartphones and Twitter were as ubiquitous then as they are now. She paints a brief portrait of how tech might have altered the course of the Manson Family’s rampage, beginning the night Manson followers slaughtered actress Sharon Tate and several guests at Ms. Tate’s secluded Hollywood home: Read More

True Crime

Romanian Men Cheat Fresh, Admit to Epic Two-Year Subway Sandwich Scam

Hackers never look this cool.

Romanians Iulian Dolan and Cezar Iulian Butu have confessed in the U.S. District Court in New Hampshire to multiple counts related to credit card fraud via hacking.

Under the leadership of another Romanian, Adrian-Tiberiu Opera, the men trawled the Internet for vulnerable point-of-sale programs, which apparently included applications linked to credit card payments at 150 Subway restaurants. The scam lasted two years and vacuumed up more than $10 million in profits. Citing court documents,  Read More

True Crime

Spate of Attempted Robberies Hits NYC Startup Offices Onswipe and Shelby.TV

Onswipe's office. (Photo: Michelle Young, Untapped Cities)

A few weeks ago, Betabeat caught wind of a handful of attempted robberies that had taken place at startup offices around the Flatiron area. On a visit to his office, Onswipe CEO Jason Baptiste told us that a few men who looked to be in their early 20s had come to Onswipe claiming to be soliciting money for a sports team. Instead, they attempted to steal some of the company’s iPads. Read More

True Crime

Empire State Building Shooting: There’s No ‘Crime Scene Filter’ on Instagram

Don't do this.

Around 9 a.m. Friday 53-year-old Jeffrey Johnson, a former accessories designer with Hazan Imports, shot and killed a 41-year-old former co-worker. Reports from the scene indicate the shooter was confronted by police outside the Empire State Building and was killed when he opened fire. At least nine others were injured during the shootout.

Every smartphone owner in the vicinity began tweeting about the drama, many uploading photos taken on the fly–to Twitter and, perhaps more strangely, Instagram. Read More