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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: laptops

Shari’s customers robbed of laptops

Two customers at Shari's restaurant in northwest Spokane had their laptops stolen out of their hands Sunday, police say.

The women were sitting in a booth about 4:50 p.m. when a man walked up, slammed a MacBook shut and grabbed it from one of them, then grabbed the other laptop that was nearby.

The thief, identified by police as Tyler C. Berens, 20, ran from the restaurant but was arrested minutes later at the McDonald's across the street. A McDonald's employee told police Berens walked into the store on a cellphone and said “I'm going to jail” before locking himself in the bathroom, according to court documents.

Police found Berens in the bathroom and recovered the laptops from a garbage can. Officers said Berens had two Xanex pills on him, which earned him drug possession charges in addition to second-degree robbery and second-degree theft charges for the laptop heists.

Berens already has a trial scheduled in May for property crimes charges related to a counterfeit check ring.

Citizen recognized fugitive from news

An alert citizen helped police arrest prolific theft suspect Wednesday after recognizing him from news reports.

Officers found Sean Alexander Blair, 31, outside Safeway, 3900 N. Market St., after a citizen called in about 6:30 p.m.

“Thank you Spokane for helping YOUR police department keep you safe!” Spokane police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said in a news release.

Blair already was facing felony theft and drug charges when police identified him as a suspect in Nov. 17 thefts at the Davenport Hotel, which occurred as the Tri-State Grain Growers convened at the upscale hotel in downtown Spokane. Read more here.

DeRuwe identified Blair Wednesday as one of four repeat offenders whose arrests “would have a positive impact on our crime trends.”

The others are Christopher C. McCracken, who was sentenced last month to 12 months in jail for violating a protection order and is wanted by the Department of Corrections; Christopher J. Searight, 29, who is wanted for not paying his fines on felony convictions from 2004, and Shaun P. Davis, 39, who is wanted by the DOC.

See their photos at the Spokane Police Department's Facebook page.

Man wanted for stealing from Davenport

UPDATE: Blair was booked into jail about 8 p.m. Jan. 11.

Police say a longtime felon dressed in casual business clothes to blend in while stealing laptops from a convention at the Davenport Hotel. 

Sean Alexander Blair, 31, already was facing felony theft and drug charges when police identified him as a suspect in the Nov. 17 thefts, which occurred as the Tri-State Grain Growers convened at the upscale hotel in downtown Spokane.

Surveillance video shows Blair enter the hotel without a backpack about 8 p.m. without a backpack, according to court documents. It then shows him leave a half hour later carrying a backpack that was reported stolen from the convention. The backpack contained a Dell laptop. Another laptop also was reported stolen from a backpack at the convention.

Colfax farmer Randy Seuss, chairman of the U.S. Wheat Associates, said he saw a man matching Blair's description about 8:20 p.m. in the convention, according to court documents. He noticed the man did not have an event identification badge and was picking up handouts from display booths.

Detective Crystal Jolly was familiar with Blair from thefts of laptops at local hospitals and the Gonzaga University library. Blair always carries the stolen computers in backpacks, she said.

Blair was out of jail waiting trial on seven felony charges for those thefts and an unrelated methamphetamine charge when the heists at the Davenport occurred.

Now he faces a $20,000 warrant for two new counts of second-degree theft, and no-bond warrants for the previous cases because he violated his conditions of release by allegedly committing new crimes.

Spokane police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe identified Blair today as one of four repeat offenders whose arrests “would have a positive impact on our crime trends.”

The others are Christopher C. McCracken, who was sentenced last month to 12 months in jail for violating a protection order and is wanted by the Department of Corrections; Christopher J. Searight, 29, who is wanted for not paying his fines on felony convictions from 2004, and Shaun P. Davis, 39, who is wanted by the DOC.

See their photos at the Spokane Police Department's Facebook page.

Video shows suspect in GU law caper

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Here's a news release from Sgt. Dave Reagan:

Detectives are seeking the public’s help to identify a woman who stole a laptop computer from the Gonzaga Law Library.

Security video shows the thief (in front) entering the library with a child and a female companion about 7 p.m. on June 21.  Detectives also want to identify the second female.

Witnesses saw the lead female near the laptop which had been left on a table top.  No one in the library at the time recognized the thief as a student, and when she quickly exited the library carrying a backpack, one witness followed her.

The witness saw her retrieve the child and leave in a maroon or burgundy “American-looking” four-door car, according to police.

Gonzaga security staff was able to locate video of the suspect, the child and companion as they entered the library.  The white female suspect is in the lead and was described as between 35 and 39 years old, 5’03” tall and 180 pounds..

Anyone with information about either woman’s identity is asked to contact Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
  

CdA man, 25, gets 5 years for child porn

A Coeur d'Alene man who downloaded child pornography and shared it with other Internet users has been sentenced to five years in federal prison.

 Scott Tyler Aresvik, 25, also is to pay $1,750 in restitution to a child identified in one of the nine pornographic images and 91 videos found on his computer after investigators searched his home in Coeur d'Alene on Dec. 15, 2009, according to a sentence imposed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Coeur d'Alene.

The investigation began when the Shoshone County Sheriff's Office learned Aresvik's computer was making child pornography available for download on the Internet.

Aresvik pleaded guilty to possessing sexually explicit images of minors in March after a grand jury indicted him in January. His plea requires him to forfeit his computer and electronic storage equipment.

Aresvik told FBI agents he'd been downloading child pornography for about one year, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. In addition to 60 months in prison, he'll be on probation for 10 years.

“Individuals who use the Internet to access, view and share child pornography mistakenly believe their anonymity will protect them,” Wendy Olson, U.S. Attorney for Idaho, said in a prepared statement. “Federal, state and local law enforcement are committed to working together with prosecutors to identify and prosecute these individuals. We will continue to use every available tool to apprehend and convict them.”

More information is available at  www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Arrest in ‘This Guy Has My MacBook’

By SUDHIN THANAWALA, Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The images began arriving in Joshua Kaufman's inbox. The grainy photos are low-lit and intimate: a man curled up on a couch, sound asleep; the same man propped up against pillows on a bed, shirtless.

 Who was this stranger sitting with Kaufman's stolen laptop?

 The Oakland resident collected the images and took them to police, who did not help him. So he went online, publishing the pictures on Twitter and in a blog titled “This Guy Has My MacBook.”

 “People who followed me on Twitter retweeted it. It got picked up by social media and the press. It went super viral,” he said. On the same day that he posted his website on Twitter, police came calling.

Police on Tuesday arrested a 27-year-old cab driver, Muthanna Aldebashi. On Wednesday, Kaufman picked up his laptop from the police.

Kaufman said he was “surprised and amazed” when he began receiving images of the man using his laptop.

Kaufman's case is the latest example of people, not police, using technological tools to help find their own stolen property such as cars, cell phones and digital cameras.

Kaufman had just moved to a new apartment in Oakland when a burglar broke in, taking the laptop, a bag, an electronic book reader, and a bottle of gin on March 21. He activated theft-tracking software he had installed, which began sending photos taken by the computer's built-in camera of the unauthorized user three days later.

“I wasn't sure if it would work because I never tested it before,” he said. Most of the images “were honestly really boring photos — people staring into the screen. But some were definitely more humorous.”

Among them was a screenshot of the man logging onto his Gmail account, which showed an email that appeared to include the name of a business, Kaufman said. A quick Internet search revealed it was a cab company in nearby Berkeley, which Kaufman assumed was the man's workplace.

Kaufman submitted the information to police, but said they were unwilling to help and didn't respond to numerous follow-up emails.

“I know a stolen computer is small in the larger scheme but it would be nice to feel like you actually cared,” he tweeted three days after the break-in.

Kaufman said he turned to the Internet because he became “frustrated and thought I should try and get some attention from the media.” He posted some of the photos (two are pictured), including captions such as “I really don't want to know what this guy is doing with my MacBook” for the image of the shirtless man in bed.

Kaufman said he received a call from Oakland police spokeswoman Holly Joshi on the day he included a link to his blog. Joshi said she first heard about the case after receiving calls from media outlets Tuesday.

“From that point on, they seemed to be on my side completely,” he said of police. “They were apologetic, and they continually told me that they would be doing something about it immediately.”

Joshi blamed the large volume of theft reports Oakland police receive — about 2,400 a month for three theft investigators — and human oversight for the department's failure to follow up on Kaufman's leads.

“It was filed away,” Joshi said. “It had leads, so it shouldn't have been filed away.”

Police arranged a cab ride from Aldebashi and nabbed him when they recognized his face, according to Kaufman. Aldebashi was being held in an Oakland jail on $20,000 bail, according to the Alameda County sheriff's office.

The laptop's return was the culmination of a one-man crusade of online sleuthing, social networking and moments of voyeuristic creepiness aided by the software called Hidden.

The software — part LoJack, part nanny cam — is equipped with location positioning software. A representative for the product's London-based developer, Flipcode Ltd., did not immediately respond to emails from The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Many portable electronics, including some digital cameras, are now equipped with wireless Internet capability and automatic geographic tagging on any photo taken — a helpful tool when trying to see where a thief has been hanging out. It's a step beyond the LoJack system invented two decades earlier that emitted a signal from a stolen vehicle.

Joshi said investigators did not know whether Aldebashi burglarized Kaufman's apartment, noting that stolen merchandise often changes hands. Aldebashi was scheduled to be arraigned Friday.

Electronics stolen from Valley church

Here's a news release from Sgt. Dave Reagan:  

A thief broke into a Spokane Valley church sometime between Wednesday night and 5 p.m. Saturday and stole several thousand dollars worth of electronic equipment.

The pastor at Valley Landmark Mission, 9021 E. Boone, told Officer Mark Benner that the congregation held a service Wednesday night and that all of the stolen property was stored in the electronic storage room that night.

When a cleaning crew arrived about 5 p.m. Saturday, they discovered the room pillaged and several items missing.  The stolen property included a Canon HD camcorder, an Acer laptop computer and two Phillips portable DVD players.

Benner found that the point of entry appeared to be a narrow window.  Anyone with information regarding the break-in is encouraged to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Feds: CdA man had child porn on laptop

A 24-year-old Coeur d'Alene man has been charged in federal court with possession child pornography.

Scott Tyler Aresvik faces up to 10 years and prison and lifetime probation for one count of possession of sexually explicit images of minors.

The charge alleges he possessed the images on a Gateway laptop computer on Dec. 15. He would be forced to give up the computer under a forfeiture charge also filed last week in U.S. District Court.

Aresvik waived a grand jury indictment and is not in custody.

He was booked into jail on a probation violation Dec. 15 and has a previous domestic violence case in Kootenai County. He is not currently in custody.

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