Saturday, May 10, 2008

Stolen laptop leads victim to alleged thieves

A woman from Westchester, NY had her laptop stolen, but managed to catch the thieves thanks to a camera built-in on the computer...

by Richard Liebson
The Journal News

May 9, 2008

WHITE PLAINS, NY - Smile, you're busted.

A tech-savvy White Plains woman whose apartment was burglarized solved the crime herself after she was able to log on to her stolen laptop, photograph one of the suspects with it and get photos of another, police said.

Edmon Shahikian, 23, of 13 Cobbling Rock Road, Katonah, and Ian Frias, 20, of 1609 E. 174th St., the Bronx, were picked up at their homes Wednesday night after the victim turned the pictures over to police. The police said they recovered most of the $5,000 worth of electronics stolen in the burglary.

"Our victim did a phenomenal job," said Lt. Eric Fischer, commander of the Detective Division. "She knew her computer, and she let us know as soon as she obtained the information. We rolled on it immediately, and the result is the arrest of two burglary suspects and the recovery of most of the stolen property."

The burglary was reported April 27, when three roommates returned to their Ridgeview Avenue apartment about 10 p.m. to discover that it had been ransacked.

Among the items taken were two laptops, two flat-screen televisions, two iPods, gaming consoles, DVDs and computer games. Police found no sign of force.

On Tuesday, police said, one of the victims, who works at The Apple Store in The Westchester mall, received a call from a friend asking her if she was online.

The victim said no, and was told by the friend that his computer showed her as being logged onto the Internet.

At that point, police said, the victim signed onto another computer and used the "Back to My Mac" program to determine that her stolen MacIntosh laptop indeed was signed onto the Web and that someone was using it to shop online. She then activated the stolen computer's camera, allowing her to "see" what was in front of the laptop.

At first, police said, she saw only an empty chair. But a short time later, they said, she was able to photograph a man, Shahikian, sitting in front of her stolen laptop. The victim then was able to find photos of Frias using the computer after it had been stolen, police said.

Fischer said the victim did not know either man but showed the photos to one of her roommates, who recognized them as having attended a get-together at the apartment a few weeks before the burglary.

Police said Shahikian and Frias apparently are friends of a friend of the victims.

The computer-savvy victim contacted police, gave them the tell-tale photos, and the arrests were made a short time later.

Shahikian and Frias are charged with second-degree burglary and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, both felonies.

Bail and court information were unavailable.

Frias and Shahikian were arrested last year on charges of criminal possession of marijuana, a felony, after police recovered 3 pounds of marijuana worth about $7,500 in a Jeep they were in. The dispositions of their cases were not immediately available.

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