Absolute Investigations March Roundup: Device Recovery Success Stories

By: Sarah Brooks | 3/23/2021 | 3 min read

Nationally, property crime dropped in 2019 according to crime statistics reported by the FBI. However, there were still nearly 7 million burglaries and larceny-thefts in the U.S. at a cost of $158 billion.

Burglaries are the common thread in this month’s device recovery round up. Thankfully, Absolute customers not only have a firmware-embedded endpoint defense platform and undeletable digital tether to every device that allows them to lock, freeze or wipe the device if it falls into the wrong hands… they also have the Absolute Investigations Team. With years of experience working with law enforcement, their work has resulted in many impressive laptop recoveries.

Here are a few of the most recent highlights:

Vehicle Burglaries

A company laptop was stolen from a vehicle owned by the employee of a convenience store chain in Oklahoma. Absolute investigators were notified of the theft and, with the firmware-embedded platform, they could see the new user was using the device for another company’s work in Colorado. Law enforcement contacted the IT department of the company the new user was using the machine for and the IT Director immediately let detectives know they had purchased the laptop on third party reseller website. While IT packaged up the device for quick return to the convenience store in Oklahoma, the circumstance became a data breach incident at the Colorado company because people outside their company had inappropriate access to their data. Absolute Investigators provided the company with a letter to support their breach notification.

 

A vehicle owned by a city employee in Canada was burglarized and a city agency-owned laptop was stolen. Absolute investigators quickly identified the user and user location of the laptop and notified local law enforcement. The persons associated with the address provided by Absolute are known criminals so warrants were executed. The police found 15 people in the home and four were arrested for unrelated crimes. The laptop user was charged with possession of stolen property and the city agency will soon have their laptop back.

 

School Burglaries

A technical school in Kansas had 15 laptops stolen from their campus. Using the undeletable digital tether of Absolute, Absolute investigators could see that one device came back online just weeks after the break in. An investigative summary that included the new user and user location was created for local law enforcement officials who then notified the user. He was initially uncooperative, so Absolute investigators began drafting information to be used in a search warrant but the user then turned the device into police who returned it to the school. More devices out of the 15 stolen have since been recovered too and investigators continue to work on the remaining few that are still missing.

 

Another technical institute, this one in Oklahoma, had a laptop stolen that was immediately put to use by the new user. Absolute investigators saw that the new user was sporadically watching movies online. Later though, the usage became more sinister when nude images of young children were being viewed from an external drive that was attached to the computer. Local law enforcement was notified as was the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Absolute investigators informed detectives of the new user and search warrants were drafted. It was discovered the location was a retirement home in which a resident’s grandson was there using the laptop. The device has since been recovered however the school won’t get it back for now. It has become evidence in a major criminal case.  

For more than 15 years, Absolute Investigations has helped organizations recover their stolen devices. Made up of former law enforcement professionals and other experts, Absolute Investigations uses forensics tools and techniques to locate devices at large and once found, they connect with local law enforcement to orchestrate their safe return. Learn more here.

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