August 16 2011
– A former FBI man used a tracking device to find his own laptop after it was stolen during the London riots – leading police straight to the suspect.
Greg Martin turned detective and used his technical skills to track down the stolen computer. Not only did tracking device pinpoint the location of the laptop, but it also activated the webcam enabling the super-snoop to watch the suspect surfing the web.
The 29-year-old Texan had gone to stay at his girlfriend’s house to escape the trouble in Fulham, south west London, when his flat was broken in to, it has been reported.
Caught in the act: Mr Martin took this picture of the alleged laptop thief using tracking software installed on the machine
Nailed: Mr Martin took a number of pictures of the thief using his computer, before giving the information to police so his laptop could be recovered
When he returned to the property in West Kensington the next day he discovered the security bars to the basement window had been prised open with a scaffolding pole and his computer and other valuables had been taken.
According to the Evening Standard, Mr Martin, who has worked for the FBI and Nasa, had installed a tracking device on his laptop which allowed him to hone in on its location the moment it was switched on.
Mr Martin told the Evening Standard he was desperate to find his computer as it contained his work on it, adding: ‘The police came round and dusted for fingerprints but said I was unlikely to get it back. It was at that point I remembered I had tracking stuff on my laptop.’
Mr Martin received a notification on his iPhone alerting him to the software being activated and he was able to watch the suspect – who lived just four streets away – as he surfed the internet.
Recovered: Former FBI man Mr Martin said he was keen to get the laptop back as it had his work on it
He added: ‘This guy’s face popped up at me and I nearly lost it. It was the most incredible feeling.
‘I sat there and basically stalked him. I got the guy on a silver platter.’
Mr Martin alerted police to the fact the laptop was being used and officers raided the flat and recovered the computer.
He said: ‘My hope was I was going to watch him being arrested from my laptop camera – that would have been the perfect ending.
‘I was able to immediately go to the police station and got my laptop back there and then.’
On his Linked-in profile, Mr Martin says he is a security experts with 12 years’ experience and claims he had been ‘a technical adviser to the FBI, the US Secret Service, and Nasa’.