Man faces charges in connection with stolen laptop – The Kingston Whig-Standard

A 40-year-old Kingston man learned that items you buy off an Internet classified site may be stolen and is now facing charges after he made contact with the rightful owner of a laptop, apparently because he couldn’t access the password-protected computer that he purchased from Kijiji.

On Feb. 23, the owner of the laptop had reported it stolen from a downtown fast-food restaurant. He then provided the serial number of the laptop to Kingston Police. However, at the time, there were no investigative leads for police to follow.

Last Thursday, however, the complainant received a call from a male who provided a first name and did not block his incoming phone number. It is believed the suspect saw the rightful owner’s contact information on the login screen and was getting in touch in an attempt to obtain the password. When the complainant simply asked for the return of his laptop, the suspect refused and stopped all future contact.

Using social media, Kingston Police were able to link the suspect’s phone number to a local man who had the same first name as given in the conversation with the complainant. Detectives were then able to locate an address for the suspect and question him at his residence. As a result of the conversation, the man was arrested for possession of stolen property. Detectives were given information that the laptop had been destroyed, thrown away and its location could not be determined. Because of this, the accused was additionally charged with one count of mischief. He was later released on a promise to appear with a future court date and placed on conditions through an officer-in-charge undertaking.

Kingston Police caution laptop owners to keep their devices in their possession and not to leave them out of sight when in public places, even for a short period of time. Documents should be backed up to an external drive or cloud-based service so they are not lost in case the computer is stolen. Record the serial number of the laptop and perhaps think of installing tracking software that can assist police in locating the device if it is turned on by a thief who later connects to a Wi-Fi signal.

Kingston Police advise that people who purchase a used electronic device through such online services as Kijiji, eBay or Facebook Groups, should make all efforts to ensure the other person has the legal right to sell that item. Use due diligence by asking for an original bill of sale, ensure the device is not locked, and even obtain the serial number and run it on the publicly accessible CPIC website to see if it has been listed by police as having been lost or stolen. If contemplating the purchase of a used phone, also check the IMEI Blacklist website prior to buying it.

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