Friday, November 25, 2011

Laptop stolen from home, recovered when detectives see Suspect's Facebook photo on tracking software From Bail Bondsman In Los Angeles

A reported burglary of two laptop computers and a Play Station 3 from a home in Rancho Palos Verdes on October 20, 2011 has resulted in the arrest of a suspect.

The homeowners were puzzled and could not figure out how someone was able to get into their home, steal their property, and get away, since there was no sign of forced entry into the house.
The owners reported the thefts to the Lomita Sheriff’s Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

What the suspect didn’t know was that one of the stolen laptop computers was embedded with a “LoJack for Laptops” theft recovery software. The company’s monitoring center was notified of the theft by the owners and the monitoring company kept in close contact with the handling sheriff’s investigator, Sheriff's Detective Chuck Braden.

The monitored laptop was also equipped with photo recognition software. When the suspect in possession of the stolen laptop realized he could not logon to the computer, he had a completely new operating system installed and the photo recognition software removed. He incorrectly thought the embedded monitoring software had been removed, but it is very difficult to remove it.

On November 4, the suspect used the laptop to logon to Facebook. This enabled the monitoring company to gather the suspect’s personal information, including a photo of him, his name, and more. This was given to the sheriff’s investigator.

Detective Braden showed the photo of the suspect to the victims and they immediately recognized him as an unlicensed contractor who had done work at their home two months prior. The victim recalled giving the suspect access to a spare key so he could work in the residence while they were away. They did not know him by his true name, they only knew him as “Pepe.”

It is believed the suspect likely made a duplicate of the spare key and used it to commit the home burglary months later.

Detective Braden was able to locate and identify the suspect as Jose Miguel Ramirez, a 22-year old San Pedro resident. He convinced the suspect to bring the laptop computer to the Lomita Sheriff’s Station on Friday, November 18.

When Suspect Ramirez reported to the station with the stolen laptop computer he was arrested for Residential Burglary (Felony), initially with a $50,000.00 bail. His status was later changed to held without bail due to a felony immigration hold by U.S. Customs.

While the laptop with the tracking software was recovered, investigators are still seeking the other items. “The victims told me that when they bought their laptops, they discussed whether or not they should add tracking software to them,” said Detective Braden. “One got it against the advice of the other. That one got the laptop back.”

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