The power of Twitter: Oakland MacBook thief caught in ten hours

Earlier tonight, I came across an interesting tweet that someone I follow had themselves retweeted.  Wanting to help, I retweeted it as well.  The person I retweeted it from currently lives in Japan, I live in Ottawa and Joshua Kaufman, well, he lives in California.  This tweet has been retweeted over 100 times, which is the limit to how many people Twitter will say something has been retweeted.

Click the image to go to the link in the tweet

Joshua Kaufman’s twitter account profile says that he is an interaction designer in San Francisco.  On his tumblr account, aptly titled thisguyhasmymacbook.tumblr.com he states that on March 21st, 2011 his MacBook was stolen from his apartment in Oakland.  Using a paid app called Hidden, Kaufman was able to tell the police where his computer was, but the Oakland Police Department cited a lack of resources and told him they couldn’t help.  Using the Hidden app, Kaufman was able to take pictures of the thief using the MacBook’s webcam.  Pictures show the man in bed, in his car, and sleeping on the couch.  He also has screen shots of the thief logging into his Google account and deleting Kaufman’s own account from the computer.

Kaufman captioned this "I really don’t want to know what this guy is doing with my MacBook."

Kaufman turned to Twitter where he tweeted about his plight.  Two months Ten days after his MacBook was stolen, it took the Twitter community only only a few short hours to spread the word about his plight.  Just seven hours after his first tweet, Kaufman tweeted this, “Just spoke to Officer Holly Joshi, Media/PR Officer for the Oakland Police Department, who will now be following up on my case!”  Two and a half hours later at 8:37pm EST Kaufman’s tumblr account was updated to say “ARRESTED! An Oakland police officer just called me to let me know that they arrested the guy in my photos! BOOYA! The police used my evidence (email which pointed to a cab service) that he was a driver and tricked him into picking them up. Nice work OPD! ”

Almost 2 months Ten days after his laptop was stolen, it took the Twitter community just ten hours to get Kaufman noticed and justice to be done.  The power of Twitter continues to amaze, as it’s been used to create books out of thin air for charity and it seems that this is not the first time someone has used Twitter to find their lost property.

The real question out of all of this is that how lazy to police officers have to be to turn away someone who is giving them all of the evidence that Kaufman was able to provide.  It’s clear that quite a few people are asking that.  Before his flurry of tweets about the Oakland police getting in contact with him, Kaufman tweeted an email for reporters to use to get in contact with him.  His last tweet for the evening, shows how excited he truly is about what social media can do for those in need.

For those of you still drinking the Twitter hater-ade, need I say more??

UPDATE: Here’s the story from the Associated Press offering a bit more information from the Oakland police and Kaufman along with naming Muthanna Aldebashi as the man who was arrested.

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