NY State Police Find Stolen Laptop Using Smartphone App

By Staci DaSilva | sdasilva@nexstar.tv

Published 04/22 2014 06:23PM

Updated 04/22 2014 06:31PM


A New York man is facing a Possession of Stolen Property charge after police say he was in possession of a stolen laptop. The way police found it, is with technology most of us have access to.

For most of us, all our personal information is in the palm of our hands. That’s information that should be protected.

“I leave my room locked, leave my laptop in there,” explained Michael Deciccio, a college student. “My phone is always on me, my iPod is always on me. I'm always double checking to make sure it's always in my room. I definitely am aware that it's possible to get stolen."

This weekend, New York State Police arrested Shawn McCregor of Norfolk, charging him with Criminal Possession of Stolen Property.

Police say it was able to track the missing laptop with the victim's smartphone app.

“This is something that ties different computers and digital media together to where you don't have to have the actual device you're looking for. Once it's online, the IP address helps trace it back,” said Troop B New York State Police Investigator Michael Madore.

Tracking stolen computers this way, is becoming a trend within New York State Police. Troop B's Computer Crimes’ unit has 15-20 similar cases right now.

Another man, James Pickering of Moriah, New York, was arrested Monday for giving indecent material to minors. Police say evidence was found through his Nintendo DS.

“The success rate for the computer crimes’ unit is very high. Technology obviously increases the amount of computer crimes that are out there but it also assists the computer crime unit with solving those crimes,” explained Investigator Madore.

And in places, like college campuses where the internet and technology are all around you, it's important to stay protected.

Associate Professor of Computer Science Delbert Hart at SUNY Plattsburgh says while SUNY campus wireless is password-enabled, a crime can be tracked.

“If necessary, you can see where a device is based on where it's communicating from. So to some extent, you can track down a location of a device based on where it's been used,” said Hart.

One way to protect yourself is to password-protect your phone. Also, keep serial numbers for all your devices in a safe place. That's the best way to track them if they get stolen.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.