I caught the Laptop Bandit

My office is in a industrial loft building in an up and coming part of Boston. I used to shared an office space with another company. During last Christmas, while all of us were out of the office for about 20 minutes, someone came into the office and stole a brand new MacBook from one of the staff. Fast forward seven months. We moved upstair to another space of our own in the same building. In the early afternoon, I went out to the bathroom for 2 minutes, upon returning to my space, I saw that our office door was slightly opened.

A man walked out from the lobby area out side of my office. Reasonably well dressed, holding a backpack in front of him. I blocked his exit, at the same time I saw the edge of a MacBook Pro peeking out of his backpack. I am pretty sure that's mine. "That's mine" I said. He pulled it out and gave it back to me, at the same time pushed his way towards the main stairs. I blocked him again. I must say I was only doing that because he is not too intimidating physically. That does not mean that he is not going to pull out an weapon.

What's running thru my mind at that point?

  • does he have a weapon?
  • is he going to make a run for it? I don't want to fall backwards down the stairs
  • will I drop my laptop?
  • what else in my office would he have taken? I made a huge assumption that he is he same person who took the laptop at Christmas time, at which he only took the laptop -- smart move, as that's the most cost effective theft
  • should I take a picture of him?

At the end, I made him empty his backpack, which I found my wallet, and a pair of pants not from us (very strange). I spent enough time with him as I took note of his appearance, then I let him go. I was heading to a meeting. Police report tomorrow.

I feel lucky that I caught him. There must be a 15 second window before he made his way out of our floor. And I feel extremely luck to have gotten my stuff back, stuff unharmed, and myself unharmed.

Good karma, perhaps.