We have two attempted laptop snatchings recently, one in Bradenton and one in Stuart, Florida.

The first one took place inside a Starbucks. Apparently, a social networking 19-year-old just had to check out what was going on Facebook this past Saturday.

He walked up to a customer using a laptop and asked if he could check his Facebook profile real quick. When the customer refused, the guy started to walk away, then made a grab and snatched the laptop and ran out of the coffee shop.

Two other customers in the parking lot tackled the thief and held him there until mall security arrived.

The victim got his laptop back and the guy was charged with felony robbery by sudden snatching.

Next, we have a 75-year-old man standing outside of a Best Buy in Stuart. He just bought a new laptop and printer, and was waiting for his wife to pull up to the door to load the car with his new tech gear.

A 29-year-old guy, thinking he saw an easy target, attempted to snatch and run with the Best Buy bags. Sadly for the 29-year-old thief, he didn’t even make it 10 feet when the old man caught up with the much younger assailant and grabbed him before he could get any farther.

An off-duty police officer was nearby and assisted the victim.

This guy was charged with robbery by sudden snatching and battery on a person over the age of 65.

Tips for Preventing Computer Laptop Theft

Why Do Thieves Target Laptops?

Computer Laptop are a target of choice all over the country.

Why? Because laptops are small, can be removed quickly, are easily hidden, and are quite valuable. There is a good market for them as a good laptop could be worth up to $5,000 or more.

Stolen laptops can easily be sold to an unsuspecting used computer store or pawnshop, and thieves may receive up to half its value in cash, just for the hardware.

The Real Cost of a Stolen Laptop

The actual cost of a stolen laptop is more than just its replacement cost, which can be hefty. Peripherals such as modems and network cards, all of the installed software, additional cost of configuring and reloading replacement software, and all the lost time for the owner while the laptop is being replaced is often overlooked.

An even greater cost is involved if your employer issued you the laptop. The potential exposure and liability that results from compromised confidential corporate and client information can be enormous.

How Can You Reduce the Risk of Laptop Theft?

* Never leave a laptop in an unlocked vehicle, even if it is in your driveway or garage. Do not leave laptops in plain sight, even if you vehicle is locked. You are just inviting trouble. If you must leave the laptop in a vehicle, lock it in the trunk. If you don’t have a trunk, at least cover it up and lock the doors.

* Parking garages are likely areas for vehicle burglaries, as they provide many prime targets and cover for thieves. Again, never leave a laptop in plain sight in your vehicle, cover it up or lock it in the trunk.

* Besides, try to avoid leaving your laptop in a vehicle anyways because of the damage extreme temperatures can cause to computers.

* Carry laptops in a nondescript carrying case, briefcase, or other bags. Using cases designed for laptop computers are dead giveaways to thieves that you have a laptop.

* Going to lunch, or taking a break? Don’t leave your laptop in meeting or conference rooms. Take it with you, or it may not be there when you return.

* Always lock the laptop up in your office during off-hours.

* Don’t have your own office? Use a specially designed cable lock and wrap it around your desk or chair leg. Alternately, you can lock the laptop in a closet or cabinet.

* Don’t let unaccompanied visitors wander around in your workplace. Offer assistance and accompany the visitors to their destinations. Make sure it is office policy.

* Apply distinctive paint markings or etch your name or other distinguishable marks on the bottom of the laptop to make it unique and easily identifiable. Record the serial numbers, make and model of your system.

* Consider purchasing a theft alarm systems specially made for laptops, either hardware or software.

* Be aware that if your computer is stolen, any automatic log-ins you have stored on the system can easily allow the thief to send inappropriate messages with your accounts or gain unauthorized accesses.

* Back up your important information on CDs or DVDs today, and safely store the disks at home or the office.

Tips For Flying With Your Laptop

Flying to a conference? Never check laptops as luggage at the airport because they can disappear or otherwise be damaged in transit.

The FAA has issued warnings about an increasingly common scam of stealing laptop computers from the conveyor belts of metal detectors.

At the X-ray scanner two thieves get in the line. The first one walks through the scanner quickly. The second person delays the rest of the line by emptying pockets full of change, keys, or other cumbersome items.

Meanwhile, the travelers stuck behind the slow thief may have already placed their belongings, including laptops, on the conveyor belt. The first thief can pick up a laptop case as if it were his own and walks away while the other accomplice continues to hold up the line.

Only put your laptop on the conveyor belt when you are the very next person to go through the metal detector. Keep your eye on your laptop the whole time as it comes off the conveyor belt. Alert the security personnel immediately if you think someone is attempting to steal your computer.

If a theft does occur:

Report it to the police department as soon as possible.

Users should have the make, model, and serial number available so authorities can file a complete report and enter the stolen laptop information to the National Crime Information Computer.

If you have backed up your data, all will not be lost. If you have sensitive and confidential information on your laptop, you should consider using encryption software to protect the data.

Be Safe, Be Prepared, Stay Aware.

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