Can police track a stolen laptop?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

Police have the capability to track a stolen laptop through various means. One of the primary methods involves serving a subpoena on the company that provides security services for the laptop. This allows the police to gain access to valuable information about the laptop’s whereabouts and activities.

By obtaining a subpoena, the police can access the laptop’s identification information. This includes details such as the device’s unique serial number, model, and other identifying characteristics. This information can be crucial in tracking down the specific laptop among a sea of other devices.

Furthermore, the police can also obtain information about the laptop’s Wi-Fi connection history. This means they can determine which networks the laptop has been logged onto, providing potential leads on the laptop’s location or the identity of the person currently using it. For example, if the laptop has connected to a specific Wi-Fi network at a certain address, it may indicate that the laptop is in that vicinity.

Additionally, the police can gather information about the laptop’s phone modems. This allows them to identify which cellular networks the laptop has connected to, providing additional clues about its location. By analyzing the modem data, they can track the laptop’s movements and potentially pinpoint its current whereabouts or the areas it has been in.

Moreover, if the stolen laptop has built-in GPS functionality or if the user has installed tracking software, the police can access the GPS tracking information. This can be particularly useful in locating the laptop in real-time or tracing its recent movements.

It’s important to note that the ability of the police to track a stolen laptop may also depend on the laptop’s security measures. For example, if the laptop is password-protected or encrypted, it may pose additional challenges for law enforcement. However, in many cases, the information mentioned above can still be accessed through legal means.

In my personal experience, a friend had her laptop stolen, and the police were able to track it down using similar methods. They served a subpoena on the security service provider, which helped them narrow down the laptop’s location to a specific area. With this information, they conducted a search operation, ultimately recovering the stolen laptop.

To summarize, the police have the capability to track a stolen laptop by serving a subpoena on the security service provider. This allows them to access the laptop’s identification information, Wi-Fi connection history, phone modem usage, and potentially GPS tracking data. These methods can be instrumental in locating the stolen laptop and apprehending the individuals responsible for the theft.