Operation Gringo Revenge: Tracking My Stolen Laptop In Panama

Tracking Stolen Laptop with Prey

Panama City, Panama

Three months ago my Macbook Pro laptop computer was stolen by hookers in Panama. Join me as I attempt to recover it from over 2000 miles away.

NOTE: To read how my computer was actually stolen, check out: Robbed In Panama City!

Before my computer was stolen, I’d installed a special tracking program called Prey Project. I first learned about Prey after following Sean Power’s amazing laptop recovery story on Twitter — downloading the free tracking software that same day.

When my own laptop was taken while traveling through Panama in October 2011, I quickly activated Prey from an internet cafe, hoping I could catch the thieves. I also filed a police report [click here to see it] with Panamanian authorities.

Now I would just wait for the software to start working its magic.

But it never did. After over 3 months of no action, I assumed the thieves had disabled or replaced my computer’s hard drive before turning it on. With no tracking information, my computer would be lost forever.

That all changed last night.

Suspect A

Suspect A: ‘Handlebar’

Surprise! You’re on Candid Camera

On Friday night Prey suddenly notified me by email that I had a new tracking report. You can imagine my surprise! I’d assumed that recovery was a lost cause at this point, now 3 months after the theft. At the moment I’m back in the United States.

I logged into the site. The report contained photos from my Macbook Pro’s integrated webcam, screenshots showing what the suspects were doing on my computer, and WiFi location information displayed on a Google Map.

Jackpot!

These reports came streaming in every 10 minutes. After upgrading my account to Pro for $5, I’m now able to get reports every 2 minutes, or on demand with the click of a button.

I suddenly felt like a kid in a candy store!

Spying on the people using my stolen computer is soooooo much fun…

Suspect B

Suspect B: ‘Chonga’

We’re All Watching

I’m actively tracking the incoming reports on a regular basis. Saving photos and data that I’ll be able to use to recover my laptop. It’s incredibly entertaining to watch what these people are doing without their knowledge.

There’s a lot of information coming in. The software only allows me to save 100 reports though, so I’m deleting the ones that don’t contain useful information. Building up a case against them should I decide to go to the police.

I’ll be updating this post with new information as I receive it.

This is going to be exciting. I hope you’ll follow along with me on the hunt.

Suspect C

Suspect C: ‘Adidas’

What Are They Doing?

Chonga has been most active on my computer so far. She’s logged into Facebook for hours at a time – chatting with friends, bragging about her new “Apple Mac” computer, viewing ridiculous photos, and repeatedly picking her nose.

Through the screenshots I’ve learned her real name, names of her family members & friends, the name of the cafe where she works, and her birthday. I also know the street where she’s living in Panama City. But not an exact address yet.

I’ve censored out all personal information for now.

I believe it’s very important that I secretly record as much evidence as I can before they discover they’re being tracked. I may change my mind about this in the future though, and share all their details with you. I’m still not 100% sure what my recovery plan will be.

I might need your help.

Suspect B

Chonga Picks Her Nose

Suspect B

Chonga Mines for Gold

Suspect B

Chonga Hunts for the Green Monster

Criminal Masterminds??

Now it’s quite possible that these people have purchased the stolen computer from someone else. I don’t recognize Chonga as one of the 3 women involved with the theft, but I’m also not sure I’d be able to remember their faces from that night. It was dark, we were trying to ignore them, and I’d had a few drinks.

But either way, they are now in possession of stolen property. In most countries that in itself is illegal.

If they simply hand over my computer without incident, I have no problem keeping the police out of it and minimizing their humiliation. I just want my property back and be done with it. But if they decide to be difficult, well, all bets are off…

I’ll hit them with everything my twisted mind can come up with.

Suspect B

Chonga’s Facebook Account…

Suspect B

More Crazy Shit (scary photos from an ER)

UPDATE: Prey Capabilities

So after digging into the program a bit more, I’ve learned about some fun things I can do with it. One option is to remotely trigger an audio alarm that sounds like a police siren. Could be fun if unleashed at the right moment…

Another option is to send them a custom message through my computer. An alert window will pop up over whatever they’re doing and display a message of my choice.

But the best option yet: I can deliver a custom message via audio. Apple’s Text-to-Speech program will relay any message I want using a robotic sounding voice.

The possibilities are endless!

Suspect A

UPDATE: Shopping For A Tranny!

Handlebar has been on the computer all day. He spent hours on Skype talking with someone who seemed like a possible girlfriend. While I couldn’t hear what was said (Prey needs to work on live video feeds!), they also used Skype’s chat feature so I could read some of the conversation.

While talking with this girl, he’s also browsing through photos of girls in lingerie on Facebook. Because he was logged in, I now have his real name.

But that’s not the best part…

Eventually I catch him shopping for local hookers escorts online! And not just any call-girl…

Upon closer inspection of the profile, I see that she (he?) is advertising herself as a transgender prostitute!!!

A short translated excerpt from the profile:

“…to taste this true delicacy of tranny sex.. you will not regret it from Colombia to Panama.”

There’s a phone number on the profile and everything.

I couldn’t make this shit up!

Suspect D

Suspect D: ‘Rico’

Suspect E

Suspect E: ‘Dark Eyes’

UPDATE: New Suspects

Wow. There are a ton of different people using my stolen computer. I’ve discovered 2 new people, so this makes 5 total now. But after spying on Rico & Dark Eyes for a while, I’ve decided they are probably not involved.

They are from Chile, and it seems they just arrived in Panama the other day. Handlebar is also from Chile. So these two might be friends or family crashing at his place while on vacation.

I caught them uploading touristy looking photos on iPhoto. I also know they are traveling to Cuba next week.

Facebook sure gives away a lot of personal information!!!

Suspect A

The Money Shot!

UPDATE: Secret Internet Celebrity!

So it’s only been 3 days since I first posted this story, but Handlebar has just learned that we’ve all been watching him. A friend of his quickly recognized him after discovering the story on Facebook.

It sounds like he’s desperate to give the computer back quickly to avoid further humiliation. Smart choice on his part. I was just getting started.

Thank you everyone for helping to spread the word via Social Media!

I’ve been contacted by email to get everything worked out.

Prey Laptop Recovery

Operation Gringo Revenge is a Success!

UPDATE: Mission Accomplished!

I’m ecstatic to announce that Operation Gringo Revenge is a smashing success! After scheduling an evening rendezvous at a well-known Parisian cafe in Panama City, my secret agents (code-names “J-Dog” and “V-Man”) met with our suspect to collect the stolen goods last night.

They’ve moved the stolen Macbook Pro to a safe-house within the city. It’s now guarded 24 hours a day by a professional team of beautiful female assassins from Colombia & Brazil.

I plan to compensate my international team (and former Couchsurfing.org hosts) for their heroic actions that day with sushi & bottles of cheap rum.

The Full Story

So it seems Handlebar purchased the stolen computer off the street from a woman named Maria del Carmen for $750. Maria del Carmen happens to be the name of the user account that’s been active on the computer. Why he never changed the username, I don’t know. I also don’t know why Prey Project never caught Maria on the computer over the past 3 months.

Maybe his story is true, maybe it’s not. I really don’t care. If the story is true, I’ll let him take it up with Maria del Carmen.

I gave him 2 options:

A: Hand over the computer.
B: Let the police deal with it while I post personal details online.

He chose option ‘A’.

As a courtesy, I agreed to censor the photos of his face and those of his acquaintances.

Thousands of people have seen him shop for transgender hookers online.

Because this computer was stolen 3 months ago, I’ve already had it replaced. Now that my friends have recovered it, I’ll probably sell it and use the money to help fund some charity projects.

Big thank you to everyone who helped share this story!

UPDATE: Holy shit! It turns out Chonga is actually a man!!! And also a transgender hooker. Thank you karma gods. A reader shared this fact with me in the comments below — even providing proof! NOT SAFE FOR WORK!Click Here for Proof

More Information

Software: Prey Project
Cost: Free! (upgrade for $5 if your computer is stolen)
Useful Notes: Make sure to include a password-free guest account on your computer. This acts as a “honey-pot”, luring criminals into using the computer immediately. Learn How To Set Up Prey Project »

READ NEXT: My 30 Best Travel Tips

Have you ever had anything expensive stolen?


This is a true story. Prey Project and I have no financial relationship. Their FREE software saved my ass. So understandably I’m excited about promoting them.

THANKS FOR READING

Hi, I'm Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for over 5 years. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel more with crazy stories, photography, and useful tips from my travel adventures. Join thousands who receive exclusive email updates and click the green button below...

Comments & Questions

310 Comments

  1. Kelly Turpin
    August 15, 2016

    hahahhahahahahaha so busted! When I looked back at the photos of Chonga it was really quite easy to see she was a he… or use to be.

    Reply
  2. Prue and Becks
    July 2, 2016

    This in one of the craziest, most impressive laptop retrieval stories out there! I never knew you could spy on people, I’m blown away by the awesomeness of this post! Hahahaha.

    Stoked you got your laptop back, don’t mess with the Expert Vagabond!

    Reply
  3. Bekah Rigby
    June 6, 2016

    This sounds like the plot of a children’s-format-but-for-adults illustrated book. Like, Go The F*ck to Sleep, but with transgendered prostitutes.
    I’d buy it, anyway…

    Reply
  4. Kevim V
    April 8, 2016

    Thanks for sharing your story. I found this article shortly after I was robbed by a taxi driver in Panama City …

    Reply
  5. Conrad
    March 14, 2016

    Be careful who you hold to ransom with personal info like that – it’s safe to assume a person who is prepared to steal your laptop could be prepared to stab you with a knife too.

    Reply
  6. Eddy
    January 28, 2016

    MATE
    Straight up one of the funniest things that I have ever read!
    I am actually at work and when procrastinating, I read your blog (which I came across like 2 days ago).

    I am planning a 9 month travel/study around the world starting June so this blog is gonna come in handy seeing as im doing it budget and am planning on getting nice and local! Also gonna have a Mac with me. Good stuff bud!!!

    I love what you’re doing with this passive income by the way; really smart work and props to you for making it work.

    Reply
  7. Anna @AnnaEverywhere
    January 10, 2016

    Hahaha… I just had to read this story now :D

    Reply
  8. Kailey | The Blonde Travelista
    June 7, 2015

    Oh my gosh!! This is freaking hilarious. Shitty that it happened to you but reading this story was so entertaining. Glad they handed the computer back to you.

    Reply
  9. Tara Woodruff
    June 5, 2015

    Holy shit that was fun!!! I will definitely have that software installed when I move South of the border (or anytime I get a laptop!!)

    Reply
  10. Muhammad Aslam Khattak
    May 24, 2015

    Can I install Prey remotely into my lost device?
    Unfortunately I had not installed any anti theft software in my laptop. I know it’s Serial number and it’s mac address. It’s HP Probook 4530 Corp i3. It’s serial number is CNU1452CL7.

    Reply
  11. Noe Garcia
    April 1, 2015

    OMG this is so freaking entertaining, I mean sad you got your laptop stolen and YAY you got it recovered but, holy cow the process is so amusing (I should be working but I can’t stop reading).
    I wonder if there is something like that for iPhone (got mine stolen awhile back) oh well new phone, but installing this app on my laptop right now.

    Reply
  12. Carey
    March 27, 2015

    I’ve used prey in the past and theft away (now avast) on my phone. One thing to note though. The software is only useful if you haven’t setup a password or encryption.

    If the thieves can’t access the device and get online, you can’t get reports and track them down. Likewise, if they format it, or flash it.

    Congrats though. Top job on getting it back.

    Reply
  13. Stigen
    March 18, 2015

    hahahahaha , It`s almost worth getting your laptop stolen when you get to witness all that human depravity Live !
    I`ve had prey installed on my laptop for a few year,but the one time it went missing in albania last year it did`nt work, because I had forgotten to update it…doohhh….
    If the thieves are smart then they will format the computer before using it/selling it, then that would delete Prey as well, but there are other similar programs that are designed to survive a formatting.

    Reply
  14. Luke Armstrong
    March 6, 2015

    Having had a laptop stolen in Guatemala, (And not recovered) I find this absolutely wonderful. Using the support staff from carbonite, I was able to track my IP address, but the Guatemalan police lost the thread from there since I was never really able to make them understand what an IP address was.

    Reply
  15. Liya
    March 5, 2015

    I’m reading this in 2015 but what the heck, this is such an adventure!

    Reply
  16. Jessica
    January 4, 2015

    Haha! Ah.. what a crazy story but makes for an interesting read. Glad you were able to track down your computer after all.

    Reply
  17. Amy
    December 29, 2014

    Bwhahaha! You couldn’t dream up a better story. I’m thrilled you got your laptop back…may need to sanitize. :/ And Prey Project…champions! Still laughing :)

    Reply
  18. Tikva
    December 28, 2014

    I was looking for some Panama related travel stories but instead came across this posts. What a story!. OMG it sounds almost to good to be true.

    Reply
  19. Ian Robinson
    November 28, 2014

    Fantastic story. I was laughing out loud reading it. I’m downloading Prey Project as we speak. I’ve never had my laptop stolen… but if it happens, I’ll me more excited than anything else. :)

    Reply
  20. Karen
    November 24, 2014

    Wow…. what an amazing read! Think I will get that on my PC when I go travelling…. well done you in thinking about publishing it and well done you in getting in back!

    Reply
  21. Christopher
    November 22, 2014

    Excellent advertisement for Prey Project.

    Reply
  22. Andrew and Emily @alongdustyroads
    November 19, 2014

    This is bloody hilarious! Amazed and delighted you managed to get it back, and the transgender hooker parts are just the icing on the cake.

    Reply
  23. Liane
    November 13, 2014

    What a story! One has the feeling to be part of your investigations. In the beginning I didn’t expect that the story will have a good end. But you were successful! Congratulations! Hope you will never have to use Prey for a second time. Safe travels!

    Reply
  24. Jamie
    November 11, 2014

    This was probably the biggest twist of events I could expect in a story.
    Bravo for getting your laptop back! I’m going to install this software right now!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 11, 2014

      You and me both Jamie. Unbelievably ridiculous (and entertaining). Frankly the outcome was almost worth the thing getting stolen in the first place.

      Reply
      • Trish McNeill
        November 24, 2014

        Exactly what I was thinking while reading this! That was a very welcomed break in my day.

        Reply
  25. Kate
    November 4, 2014

    This is one of the most incredible things to come out of the internet. Well done on your fantastic digging skills!

    Reply
  26. Jo
    October 14, 2014

    I had to read through to the end to make sure it was for real! Question though – if Prey can see who is working on your computer when it’s stolen, can they also see you working and have access to what you’re doing?

    Reply
  27. Carmen
    October 11, 2014

    I’m speechless. This is so insanely brilliant.

    Reply
  28. the paper boat sailor @ Paper Boats
    October 10, 2014

    This could make for quite an awesome crime novel!

    Reply
  29. Courtney
    October 8, 2014

    That.was.hilarious! Glad you got your computer back. :)

    Reply
  30. Michael
    October 8, 2014

    Your laptop has a travel story all of its own. It sounds like it was having more fun than the rest of us.

    Reply
  31. Naví
    October 6, 2014

    love ur tenacity…. and ur sense of humour is hilarous.

    Reply
  32. Panama Sarah
    October 4, 2014

    Matthew.. loved your blog and this story is hilarious! I am downloading this Prey program now.. traveling in Indonesia., you never know. I live and do business in Panama and am also a host with couch surfing. I wanted to invite you to stay on your next visit. I live near the beach, near the city. What a great read, I’m still laughing out loud! Cheers, Sarah

    Reply
  33. Stacey @ Onetravelsfar
    October 4, 2014

    Best story I’ve read in ages! I had prey on my iphone but couldn’t use it when it was stolen as I couldn’t get online. Also had find my iphone and just watched it drive around Bali (I left it in a taxi) for a few days and sent messages to it. I love how Prey takes photos and screenshots, that is amazing.

    Reply
  34. Dave
    September 26, 2014

    Funny story Matthew. He must be a ladyboy, term what they used in Thailand.

    Reply
  35. Dea
    September 9, 2014

    I laughed hard and this prey is doing such a good job in spying thieves!

    Reply
  36. Bethanny Alpino
    September 3, 2014

    Hey Matthew,

    Very interesting and entertaining story, but did you have to make so many transaphobic slurs? Using phrases like ‘trannie’ and shaming the prep for his interest in transgendered sex workers (which probably is more likely the case than transexual, meaning they have gone through with a sex change operation) is very hurtful and dehumanizing to members of the LBGTQ community and those that sympathize with them. And how did you know that the women that stole your laptop were hookers? We you by chance patronizing a brothel? Maybe you should include that in your article or else you are making a very misogynistic assumption. I can’t believe someone with such a reach could be so insensitive and unaware…

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      September 4, 2014

      No offense meant to the LBGTQ community, but the “transgender sexworker” was specifically using that term to advertise herself. It is impossible for me to know what is or isn’t offensive to everyone, especially when that changes depending on who you ask. I have friends in that community who have read & shared this post without mentioning it was offensive. But thanks for letting me know how you feel.

      As for the hookers who stole my computer, all you need to do is visit Panama City to find them inside every bar & nightclub after dark, including the nice Cuban bar I was visiting across from the Presidential Palace. They don’t hide who they are because prostitution is legal in Panama. It’s as obvious as who is working as a bartender.

      Now which one of us is making false, offensive, and ignorant assumptions?

      Reply
    • RG
      October 19, 2014

      Don’t get your panties (or briefs) in a bunch. Call a spade a spade. And by trying to shame him immediately, do you really think he’s going to edit anything in his article?

      Reply
  37. Cyra
    August 1, 2014

    Haha, I laughed reading this, but on a serious note, I just installed Prey Project too. I have heard to many success stories lately to not install it!

    Reply
  38. Christopher Sharpe
    July 31, 2014

    I LOVE this story, getting your own back on people that are low enough to steal your property. Definitely getting this for my laptop.

    Reply
  39. Mark
    June 27, 2014

    HAHAHAHA great story Matthew, and the ultimate detail from Fuentes: He/She is a tranny with a great ass tattoo…

    Reply
  40. Cole Harry
    June 11, 2014

    Cool that you have no issue violating the privacy of people most certainly poorer than you who were probably scammed themselves into buying a stolen laptop. Even cooler that you seem to think it’s shameful to be attracted to transgender individuals. You’re a gem.

    Reply
    • Jim Harrelson
      July 10, 2014

      No, you’re a gem!

      Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      August 19, 2014

      How am I violating their privacy? The photos are censored and no real names were used. I’m just sharing what happened to me. If they don’t like it, maybe they should’ve re-thought buying an obviously stolen computer off the street. Judging by the company Handlebar keeps, I highly doubt his story is true anyway…

      Reply
      • Joel
        September 14, 2014

        Yah you tell ’em! Eff you Cole Harry! What difference does it make if they are poorer than him? And he didn’t say it was shameful, just that it was funny. You probably think making fun of nose picking is prejudice somehow.

        Reply
    • RG
      October 19, 2014

      It’s not shameful. Just weird.

      Reply
  41. sumit
    May 21, 2014

    how to find my laptop si missing and i haw onli mac addresses no udar any documents

    Reply
  42. Theboywander
    May 17, 2014

    This is so epic!

    Reply
  43. Kristina
    May 16, 2014

    I’m so late to this party but this is the best thing I’ve seen on the internet in a very long time. Love it!

    Reply
  44. BellaVida
    May 8, 2014

    Wow, your laptop certainly had quite an adventure. Thank you for sharing the software you used. It’s good to have a safety net like that especially when you use your laptop for business. And I’m very glad you were able to recover your laptop.

    Reply
  45. kaybaybay33
    April 29, 2014

    Um yah, where’s the story of why you were in the vicinity of three hookers?!!! ;o)

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      August 19, 2014

      You must not have been to Panama City before. You’ll find hookers in every bar & club. Even one directly across from the Presidential Palace…

      Reply
  46. L.A. Chancey
    April 28, 2014

    HI M, FANTASTIC recovery, just downloaded the program myself and did a BackBlaze backup in anticipation of Tianguis in MX, next week. Just one question, just exactly what were you doing in the near vicinity of those “Ladies of the Night” which allowed for enough of a minor distraction to lose your coveted MAC? Inquiring minds are, well simply inquiring.

    Reply
  47. Hannah Wasielewski
    April 24, 2014

    I just came across your site today, and this is absolutely hilarious!! I could imagine their humiliation, but it looks like being patient does pay off. thanks for making me laugh today, definitely going to bookmark your site!

    Reply
  48. Patrick
    April 19, 2014

    Good post mate :-) I travel extensively for quite 20 years now (thanks to a good pension ^^), and this story made me laugh a lot !
    Some years ago, I used to have a laptop for my travels, but for quite some time now, I don’t bother anymore with, as it is a real magnet for thieves…
    Instead I have an external hard disk that I carry along when I travel. It is very small, whilst capacity is a terabyte, and as now you have Internet places everywhere, I don’t have any issues to connect or work when needs arise ^^
    Now I can understand that with the kind of software and the platform you use, you probably can’t have that option :-)
    I hope your next travels will be as entertaining, rich in new knowledge and fun :-)
    (My english might be a bit poor, but I am french speaking…)

    Reply
  49. Jonathan Look, Jr.
    April 7, 2014

    This is like the funniest thing I have read all week! I have to get this program. Don’t want my laptop stolen, but it sounds like fun!

    Reply
  50. Alex Bellink
    April 7, 2014

    This is the best story of revenge I’ve ever read. I’ve also been wondering if there are any programs to track stolen or lost laptops. I’ll be purchasing that as soon as I hit the road!

    Reply
  51. memographer
    March 28, 2014

    That is a very entertaining story, Matt. Thanks! Love the happy ending :) Will install Prey Project tonight.

    Reply
  52. Nora Martini
    March 24, 2014

    This post reminded me of a similar experience when our backpack was stolen with our netbook inside while doing laundry in Florence, Italy. If someone is doing something stupid infront of you look for the accomplish behind them. We didn”t know why a gypsy was backing us into the corner of the laundry and waving his wallet until we turned around to get the backpack to put our laundry into. GONE!!! Luckily we had another computer and learned our lesson the hard way. Thanks for the reminder of another adventure on the road.

    Reply
  53. Matt
    March 10, 2014

    Brilliant post, and very helpful; immediately installed Prey on all of the devices I’m taking with me later this week. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  54. Aaron @ addictivebackpacking
    February 28, 2014

    I wish I had not pressed the proof button! I can delete my internet history but I can’t get that image out of my head!

    Reply
  55. Rashad Pharaon
    February 26, 2014

    This just might be the most entertaining blog post of all time. Aaaaaaand off to download Prey NOW.

    Reply
  56. travellingforfun
    February 20, 2014

    Thats a brilliant story. I’ll be more careful about what I steal in future!! Handlebars really got his comeuppance in the end. Pity you couldnt get back at Chonga as well

    Reply
  57. Sojourn Safaris
    February 20, 2014

    Its amazing how fast they handed back the computer after they were revealed. Good detective work there albeit by remote.

    Reply
  58. Dave Briggs
    February 19, 2014

    That’s the best thing I have read in months!!

    Reply
  59. Sofie Couwenbergh
    February 17, 2014

    Crazy!
    I read something similar a while ago, but I think that person had his phone stolen.
    If only I could remember.

    Does make you hope no-one ever hacks into your computer and webcam.
    I really should pick my nose less
    :D

    Reply
  60. Erik Blair
    February 17, 2014

    Awesome! Oh what fun it is to ‘prey’ on a one-whore’s open network :)

    Reply
  61. Bobby Poot
    February 16, 2014

    That’s the best blog i read so far Matthew, awesome!! thanks for sharing. I copied the link to my facebook as i am traveling since the end of 2012 and met loads of other travelers who defintly read it. Cheers Bobby

    Reply
  62. Matthew F
    February 13, 2014

    Wow, this is sad, i am in I.T (System Admin) and first thing i do with new laptops for anyone i know, format, reinstall, and these are legit purchased computers!!!!. Really goes to show that thieves are stupid! Why prison’s are over populated!

    Reply
  63. Chad Thomson
    February 12, 2014

    You should be more careful with these Central American hookers, man!

    Reply
  64. Jessica Voigts
    February 7, 2014

    This would be a GREAT movie. just saying…

    Reply
  65. Rocco
    February 5, 2014

    Cool story!

    I never knew the existence of softwares able to take photos from the mini webcam.

    Transvestite are a real issue, they are theft addicts. In Asia, especially Thailand, there are theft stories almost everyday on local newspapers about ladyboys stealing from tourists.

    Here mine safety tips:

    – Don’t speak and get stopped by transvestite.

    – Don’t let them to be close to you

    – Don’t take them in your room, LOL

    Matthew, I am happy you got it sorted out. Well done.

    Rocco

    Reply
  66. MikesRoadTrip
    February 2, 2014

    This is an unbelievable, and, entertaining story. Is it really true? Wow!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      February 3, 2014

      Really is hard to believe isn’t it. But yes, all true. That “gal” is actually a dude. Which makes this even more funny. And the fact that he’s also a prostitute makes me think they were totally lying about not knowing it was stolen. Maybe “Handlebar” is just a pimp, and the women who stole it work for him. Who knows.

      Reply
      • MikesRoadTrip
        February 3, 2014

        Oh, okay…I recall reading that and was wondering if that was who you were referencing. Great story…well done sir! :-)

        Reply
  67. Jaca
    February 2, 2014

    It’s amazing story you shared with us! My laptop was stolen at the conference at University of Barcelona last week. The room was even under video surveillance and the thief has been seen (a well dressed latin-american guy). Unfortunately I don’t have any tracking software like Prey Project installed. The funniest (or saddest) thing is that I would give a present owner the reward just to return my 35 GB of photos using some cloud storage…

    Reply
  68. The Lost Londoner
    January 31, 2014

    This is hands down THE BEST blog post I’ve ever read!! I literally laughed out loud in a boarding queue, now everybody on the plane will think I’m a lunatic.
    I am installing that as soon as I can, it somehow makes losing the Mac a joy! Dude you are a true legend, I love your blog even more now.

    Reply
  69. Alexandra Canedo
    January 29, 2014

    This was ridiculously entertaining…AND I just downloaded Prey since I’m traveling through Colombia right now…you never know! Thanks :)

    Reply
  70. alex
    January 18, 2014

    WOW – i’m downloading this on my laptop right now. Thank you for sharing your experience in such detail! Incredible you were able to get your laptop back from a continent away. Congrats!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      January 18, 2014

      Glad you enjoyed the story Alex, hope you never have to go through it yourself though. :)

      Reply
  71. Nima
    December 17, 2013

    This is Classic, Dude well done, you have just made my day! hahahahahahahahahah

    Reply
  72. Kelvin
    December 12, 2013

    If only I had known about this software a year back, when my gaming computer got stolen.

    I do miss it, but did install the software on the computer I am currently using. Let’s hope I don’t get to use it.

    Also, my bithday is in a few days, so wish me luck when I solicit at my rich granddad to replace the US$800 piece of equipment.

    Thanks for a good post!

    Reply
  73. Tony
    November 23, 2013

    Wow.. that’s a nice one! Following your suggestion, I just downloaded Prey, but when I was trying it out and put it as “Missing”, the Mac’s camera LED lit up when it was taking a picture for the reports. Any suggestion on how to turn the light off?

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 24, 2013

      Don’t think you can, but it’s less noticeable if you’re not expecting it.

      Reply
    • Katie
      March 30, 2014

      I tested it out as well and honestly didn’t notice it (probably because I got distracted by Facebook while waiting for the 10 minutes). I think if
      someone did see it they would think it was random since it only happens
      for a second. Even if they figured out what was going on a couple
      pictures before it was disabled would be better than nothing. Maybe you
      can try emailing the development team at Prey to see if they can work on
      that.

      Reply
  74. Jeska
    November 22, 2013

    This is probably hands down, the best stolen property story I have ever read! Congrats on being such a good investigator and getting your macbook. On top of that, awesome job at updating everyone as the story progress!!! =D

    Reply
  75. Sebastian
    November 20, 2013

    okay I just realized that the “girl” with the tattoo isn’t really a girl :-D

    I can just quote a friend of mine from Bangkok: “Sebastian, keep away from the most beautiful girls…they are men.”

    Sometimes life is unfair.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 21, 2013

      Don’t worry Sebastian, we all thought he was a woman at first. ;)

      Reply
  76. Sebastian
    November 20, 2013

    This is a really crazy story! It is amazing how modern technology enabled you to track your stolen laptop.

    Weird story and what is even weirder than the story is that big tattoo that the senorita has on her ass cheeks ;-)

    Reply
  77. zomgpizza
    November 8, 2013

    the best part was the ending!
    …no i dont mean the recovery of the laptop, i mean the discovery that Chonga was a transvestite hooker. yikes!

    Reply
  78. Peter
    October 29, 2013

    Hey I really enjoyed your storytelling!

    installed prey on my mobliedev’s right away. but not on my chromebook, firstly on a chromebook it can’t be installed, secondly chromebooks are cheaply replaced (without data loss)

    Otherwise perfect :)

    Reply
  79. Chris Chiang
    October 16, 2013

    Hey, very interesting operation and I’m glad there is a happy ending that you can recover your Mac. Really don’t know the Prey Project program before and will install it in my Macbook pro as well.

    Reply
  80. Mauro Brandão
    October 8, 2013

    Hey Man, very nice and hilarious this history !!!! Nice to know this program exists !!!!
    Good blog, i’m already addict !!!

    I’m thinking do a hitchhiking trip from de south to the North of my country ( The Big Brazil) !! Now i am got safe a little money then i’ll hit the road !!

    You are a great inspiration for me !
    Take care and good winds for you !

    Reply
  81. Michael
    October 1, 2013

    This is just hilarious. Great way to turn a negative experience into some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever read.

    Reply
  82. Kristy
    September 17, 2013

    Such determination! So glad you got your laptop back! I do hope you had plenty of disinfectant wipes on hand to erase anything left by booger girl.

    Reply
  83. Chris
    September 17, 2013

    hahaha epic skills! Stoked you managed to get your laptop back though and you’re right – you couldn’t have even made up the crazy stuff you found out through this!haha!

    I’ve just downloaded and installed Prey onto my macbook too – cheers for the tip!

    Reply
  84. katty watson
    September 17, 2013

    oh that’s amazing… this is the sophisticated way of finding thefts. Thanks for the post. I really enjoyed reading this stuff.

    Reply
  85. Marla
    September 16, 2013

    LOL This has turned out to be a hilarious story!! Not the stolen laptop part but all the rest. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  86. Lindy
    September 16, 2013

    Thanks for sharing that last update, not sure I’m too happy having clicked that link though ;-) what a story!

    Reply
  87. Lisa @chickybus
    September 16, 2013

    Holy crap–this is an amazing story. Love it!! I’ve never heard of Prey, but I sure want it now. I am SO happy for you…not only did you get to have some fun humiliating these jerks (I would have done the same), you’re getting your computer back. Yes!!!

    Reply
  88. Chanel @ La Viajera Morena
    September 16, 2013

    I completely forgot that I had Prey, and I just installed it on my MacBook Pro in case things go awry. :D

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      September 16, 2013

      It’s good to be prepared Chanel. This situation would’ve been a lot more depressing without Prey installed. Now it’s one of my favorite travel stories!

      Reply
  89. Niko
    September 16, 2013

    Hey, looks like Handlebar is actually Morgan Spurlock after he got waaaaayyyy supersized!! Congrats on your story, Prey is definitely for me
    nn:-)

    Reply
  90. Ron | Active Planet Travels
    September 16, 2013

    Holy Shit!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Dude this is such good new, congrats bro on getting your stuff back! I’m going to look into it now…I wonder if they’ve got something similar for iPhone..? Either way, thanks for the tip on the software!

    Reply
  91. Mary @ Green Global Travel
    September 8, 2013

    I have heard of similar software, though none that was quite so effective – although no doubt your strategy and persistence had a lot to do with getting your laptop back.

    Reply
  92. Nick - Goats On The Road
    September 5, 2013

    hahah, wow! one of the best travel stories/posts i’ve read to date. I love the title, love the story and especially love the ending. Good for you and thanks for the tips. I’ve got to download that program asap in case my mac ever gets stolen.

    Reply
  93. Gabriel
    August 28, 2013

    Great story, very happy to know that you have your gear back. Although 3 months later you got to go ninja style on some computer thieves =)

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      September 15, 2013

      Yes, the whole ordeal ended up becoming pretty satisfying Gabriel. Good or bad, it usually turns into a good story in the end!

      Reply
  94. Fuentes Fidedignas
    August 26, 2013

    By the way, Chonga is actually a tranny. She’s a – somewhat – famous tranny, ultimately recognizable by the ugly ass tattoo of the wings on her butt cheeks.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      August 29, 2013

      No way!! That’s hilarious. Thanks for adding that detail Fuentes. :D

      Reply
      • Fuentes Fidedignas
        September 15, 2013

        Here’s Chonga’s “business page” – http://dist.sistemairis.net/model/lorenafonttini – in case you’re interested in finding out what “touched” your laptop. Hope you had it “sanitized for your protection” :-)

        Reply
        • Matthew Karsten
          September 15, 2013

          ha!!!! You just made my week. Thank you karma gods! :D

          I think I almost pissed myself there.

        • anon
          June 14, 2014

          Since you’ve caught them,recovered your notebook and had the forgiving thought of “not being the judge”, why leave their pics still on the net? Suppose there’s that small chance that they really did buy from a thief? They did hand it over even though its no defence that they bought it(stolen goods)

        • Matthew Karsten
          August 19, 2014

          Because this is my website. If you buy stolen goods off some random guy in the street (I highly doubt that story is true anyway), you reap the consequences.

        • Ron | Active Planet Travels
          September 16, 2013

          Hahahaha That’s so great! Thanks for the share…I think this is the best story I’ve read in ages.

  95. Andrew Davison
    August 22, 2013

    This is great stuff. Kind of makes we want to become a PI spy who does the hard work sitting down using Prey to discover the fate of peoples stolen laptops worldwide and dispatching a hand picked team of ninja recovery experts when the times calls for it :-D

    Reply
  96. Christoffer Moen
    August 3, 2013

    I had such fun reading this post, literally kept me on the edge of my seat from the suspense and also almost fell off my seat from laughing. Like the others, I’m so happy this has a good ending. There are some bad people out there and there are some really good people out there, kudos to the people who have helped with the “investigation” and retrieval. And god bless Prey.

    Reply
  97. Josh
    July 24, 2013

    Lucky, my macbook was stolen and I know who took it. I can’t track it though I don’t think. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  98. Cody
    July 14, 2013

    Amazing story, I can just picture your eyes gleaming with the fire of revenge as you, almost obsessively, tracked the thieves’ every move online, and pieced together your plan, hehe.
    I’m curious…if they had reformatted your hard drive before they used the laptop, would Prey still have worked?

    Reply
  99. Barbara
    June 24, 2013

    Awesome story! I’m so glad you got your computer back with a few laughs along the way!!

    Reply
  100. Sadye Writer
    June 23, 2013

    Brilliant post and absolutely hilarious! I’ve just posted this on my Facebook page along with a recommendation to install Prey to all my friends. I just had laptop and phone stolen in Barcelona and sadly I did not have Prey (or any other antitheft software) installed. Of course, I had Find my iPhone but that seems to be pretty much useless! Really happy for you and great travel stories too!!!!!!

    Reply
  101. Jonny Blair
    June 2, 2013

    Can’t actually believe I have only just come across this story tonight Matthew – didn’t even twig it before in your interview with me where you mentioned the stolen laptop. WHAT A STORY, just love it!!

    Reply
  102. Karen
    May 28, 2013

    Hola?? this site is so hilarious! want help in writing a book????? It is very early here……how close are you to Panama? the country???????

    Reply
  103. Mo Draj
    May 7, 2013

    This is just Classic! :D
    I cannot believe you got it back! Wow, great stuff! :)

    Reply
  104. Nigel Clifford
    May 3, 2013

    HAHA! This is one of the funniest posts I’ve ever read on the internet…EVER!
    Way to have fun with it Matt!

    Reply
  105. Mariah
    April 11, 2013

    I died laughing so many times during this post! How awesome and cool that your tactics paid off! Well done :)

    Reply
  106. Natalia | Always Trekking
    April 9, 2013

    Wow! This is truly extraordinary. What an amazing story, I’m glad it had a happy ending.

    I will install that software on my new travel laptop.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 10, 2013

      You’ll be glad you did Natalia. I’m not the only success story, there are many.

      Reply
  107. Maria Alexandra @LatinAbroad
    April 9, 2013

    how long it took me to discover this gem of a story is beyond me. Regardless, that is AWESOME! OMG, I can’t imagine the expression of those Latino faces! XD

    By the way, does the Prey software work with PCs?

    I just bought a new Lenovo laptop yesterday and would love to install Prey once I hit the road later this year. Please let me know! :)

    Love THIS type of happy endings! ;D

    -Maria Alexandra

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 10, 2013

      I believe it does Maria. Definitely worth having. Especially because it’s free. Just remember to include a password free “guest account” on your computer too, so if it is stolen, they can get online with it.

      Reply
  108. Stacey C
    April 7, 2013

    Good 4 u >B-D
    But I’ve also read on a forum if u havn’t installed prey yet, u can still have your ISP company track down the IP, but seems like a court warrant’s necessary. They also mentioned u could ask your local police to contact cyber crime specialists who most usually hunt after kiddie porn but they can do PC-stolen case, too. I’m not sure the details involved but I assume knowledgeable ppl will grasp what those ppl are suggesting here: http://tech.slashdot.org/story/08/07/04/1247249/best-way-to-get-back-a-stolen-computer

    Reply
  109. Terri Smart
    March 20, 2013

    all I can say is your my hero. this was pee your pants funny. wish I had been in on it while it was happening.

    Reply
  110. FredericDESBONNET
    February 11, 2013

    La revanche du Grigo . Excellente histoire .
    Great story , Greetings from Paris.
    Frederic

    Reply
  111. Matthew Karsten
    February 1, 2013

    Glad I could help Emma. Hopefully you’ll never need to use it!

    Reply
  112. Emma
    January 29, 2013

    Oh my GOD! I’ve heard of Prey but no advertising can trump this story. I’m downloading it as I write this. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! For including all of this information and telling your story! I’m sure you’ve saved countless laptops! A backpacker with a new (VERY new, otherwise I would include a link) travel blog, I am so anxious about my electronics at all times.

    I couldn’t be happier I’ve found this blog!

    Reply
  113. Sidney
    November 23, 2012

    Hi Matthew:

    I wish I had seen this sooner. I am a teacher and my laptop was stolen in the Latina University just a couple of days ago. I have back-ups of many things, but I have lost a lot of valuable info. I will use this software in the near future and thank you and congratulate you for your efforts. My husband also lost his mac when we first got here in 2008… so this is valuable info for anyone and everyone. Thanks again.

    Reply
  114. Wends of Journeys and Travels
    November 8, 2012

    I wished I had this one installed on my laptop too when it got stolen right inside my own room while I was sleeping in my home country, in the Philippines. too bad, I read it just now, I could have been feasting on them too like you did.

    This is a good lesson to be taught that we need to secure our laptops with this kind of software. It is smarter than the local police and one which do not also bribe us to get out property back.

    Unfortunately for me, I lost my laptop, DSLR camera and 3 mobile phones in just one robbery and inside my own room while I slept.

    Reply
  115. Mike Wong
    October 29, 2012

    instead of picking your laptop to steal….she should’ve been taking her time picking all those boogers from her nose before anything.

    Reply
  116. Olle Larsson
    October 20, 2012

    Hi again and thx for tip for LastPass.
    I downloaded it but then I start think.
    My account name on PreyProject is the same as my E-mailadress.
    Now, if I use LastPass then it´s easy to log in to my account and change my status from “Missing” to “OK”.
    It´s easy for a thief to find out my e_mailaccount. It´sjust to check my outgoing mailboax and there it is.
    Therefore I´ll opened a brand new Gmailaccount and connected that adress to all sites where my Email adress is my accountname. Hope this information will be helpful.
    From a grumpy old man in Sweden!

    Reply
  117. Hana @ Shoestring Backpacking
    October 11, 2012

    Matthew,

    This is one of the most unique and hilarious (sorry — I mean that in a good way) posts I have ever had the pleasure of stumbling upon!

    For safer online banking (as Olle mentioned above), check out Neo’s SafeKeys (www.aplin.com.au) or caféKlysm (www.tokezone.net/cafeklysm) — both free software.

    Cheers again for the laughs. So glad you had a happy ending! :-)

    Reply
  118. Olle Larsson
    October 6, 2012

    This story is amazing but I´m scared to use my laptop fo banktransactions. If its so easy to watch what i`m doing.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      October 6, 2012

      I don’t blame you Olle! I actually use something called LastPass that hides my passwords from prying eyes. Highly recommended. Here are some other money related tips: Travel Banking 101

      Reply
  119. Carlo Cretaro
    September 13, 2012

    A classic! What a wonderful bit of technology right there. I always wondered did those programs really do a good job, well now I can see the huge benefits!

    Anyone know if there is a windows equivalent of such a program?

    Reply
    • Carlo Cretaro
      September 13, 2012

      Should have known it was available for pc as well! Have it downloaded an also on my android. Testing it out now and its an amazing piece of software.

      Reply
      • Matthew Karsten
        September 14, 2012

        Sure is Carlo. Hopefully you’ll never need to use it though. :)

        Reply
  120. Jeremy P
    September 3, 2012

    Got my laptop jacked two months ago, and sadly it was 110% my fault. Left it in my *unlocked* car in a shitty neighborhood at night. Shockingly, it walked away during that time. To my credit, there may have been more than a little alcohol responsible for that massive lapse in judgement, but that doesn’t get my computer back.

    On my new computer, the first thing I did was install Prey and get a Kensington lock. I vow never to let it happen again.

    Kudos for the international rescue of your MacBook!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      September 5, 2012

      Yes, sometimes all it takes is a few simple mistakes. But at least you learned from it, as did I. :D

      Reply
  121. Green
    August 31, 2012

    Great story, glad you got your laptop back. One request, though: **please** consider deleting the ER photo, or warning people, or at least blacking out the worst part. I was eating breakfast as I was scrolling through your post. Gack!

    Reply
  122. Claire
    August 26, 2012

    Let me just say this is by far the most entertaining blog post I’ve ever read! Hahaha wow.. and thank goodness you got it back.

    Reply
  123. Roland F
    August 7, 2012

    You are the shit dude! I do not think I have laugh so hard in a good while. God bless you man. Please send your email if you can I like to add you to my friends list in facebook and also in CS.

    Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      August 8, 2012

      Glad you enjoyed it Roland! Kind of wish I could have messed with them a bit more… :D

      Reply
  124. Kristen - Hopscotch the Globe
    July 31, 2012

    This post makes me really happy. It’s hilarious and it’s amazing how you actually got your laptop back AND you had quite the show haha. I just installed the software on my laptop. It’s such a great application that everyone should have installed.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      July 31, 2012

      It was certainly VERY entertaining for me as well Kristen! Hope you never have to use the software, but it’s nice to know it works. :D

      Reply
  125. Steve
    June 24, 2012

    Great story – glad you got the laptop back!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      June 24, 2012

      Thanks Steve, it was quite an experience, and I hope other people will learn from it too.

      Reply
  126. Ryder
    April 4, 2012

    An amazing story. Enjoyed reading it! Had few laughts for today.

    Reply
  127. edgy_mph
    April 2, 2012

    WoW! I can imagine you while watching them what they’re doing…very entertaining! But I am glad these people were reprimanded and you get your laptop back :)

    Reply
  128. Izy Berry
    March 21, 2012

    This is absolutely hilarious! I’m going to download Prey now, so on the off chance my laptop is stolen… well, at least I can have some worthwhile entertainment!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      January 2, 2013

      Yup. The $5 I paid to help get it back was WELL worth it. Way better than any movie. :D

      Reply
  129. Claire
    February 27, 2012

    Man you’re good!!! My laptop got stolen 3 months ago as well and it would be so sweet if I could have tracked it. Good for yOU!!!! The bad guys finally lose one.

    Reply
  130. Tom
    February 27, 2012

    Hah, this is the best post I’ve read in a while for pure entertainment value! Awesome! Remind me if I ever get a Macbook Pro (bit out of my budget range atm) to install Prey on it haha!

    Reply
  131. Osvaldo
    February 24, 2012

    It will be nice you show us how to configure Prey in a worst-case scenario :)

    Reply
  132. Bianca
    February 24, 2012

    What a great story! I’m glad it has a happy ending :) Off to download Prey….

    Reply
  133. Joao
    February 19, 2012

    As a hotel owner in Brazil I’ve heard my fair share of horror stories regarding stolen laptops. I think I may pop a link to Prey on our welcome screen that shows on guests TVs when they arrive.]

    It’s pure genius and I’m almost tempted to start wandering around town in the evenings with my old Dell under my arm ;)

    Thanks for this post seriously. It’s been a hoot Matthew.

    Reply
  134. Ian [EagerExistence]
    February 17, 2012

    Amazing that you were able to install this software, setup the guest account, all “in case” something happened.. then when it did, you were ready.

    If only I had a similar paranoia before my laptop (passport, and phone too) was stolen in Florence.

    I will have to setup something similar on my shiny new replacement laptop.

    Reply
  135. Amer @TendToTravel
    February 15, 2012

    I’m glad you’ve got everything sorted out! Thanks for sharing, now am thinking of installing the same software.

    Reply
  136. Patrick
    February 9, 2012

    Congrats, I LOL’d numerous times! Especially when “Chonga” was mining for gold! Good on you!

    Reply
  137. Scarlett
    February 2, 2012

    My computer was grabbed in Brussels in April 2011. I did not know about this program then but I really wish I had. I assumed my password protection would keep anyone from accessing my private stuff but now I’m concerned. I thought they would have to wipe it to gain access. I just put Prey on this computer but I had several chapters of a book I’m writing on my Mac and a lot of stories that were ready for publication. I feel like an idiot for not having those on a flash drive and now I feel like more of an idiot for not knowing about this program. Glad you had a happy ending.

    Reply
  138. Chris
    February 2, 2012

    That is an incredible story; I will immediately install the program in my computer. This post is so cool!! Ciao

    Reply
  139. Nomadic Samuel
    January 31, 2012

    This is just brilliant…what more can I say? I’ve got quite a few nose picks myself in my travel galleries. Shall we combine on a joint photo essay sometime? What say you? :P

    Reply
  140. Sailor
    January 28, 2012

    Great job man! I have been following this story in FB and glad to see that you got it back. Also I downloaded Prayproject and it is active now :D

    Reply
  141. Bill Mills
    January 26, 2012

    It was an entertaining and enlightening story. It was also the kind of story that allows a world of victims to feel, voyeuristically at least, some sense of sharing in your victory and feeling a bit less helpless and pessimistic about being so powerless against the greedy and criminal individuals in the world who are always on the hunt for easy prey. We spend much less time in our lives trying to protect ourselves from such people, than those people do devising ways to selfishly and lazily take what isn’t theirs and searching for new victims.

    Thank you for so articulately and throughly documenting this event in your life. It was edcuational, a ‘cautionary tale’ and generally just a good read. You have done more to convince laptop owners to follow your example and get the Prey software immediately… as extra insurance against permanant lose of their computer as a result of theft.

    Respectfully Submitted,
    Bill Mills

    Reply
  142. Philip
    January 26, 2012

    Matt,

    I have been enjoying this unfolding story on FB all along. There has been compassion for your loss as well as moments of unbridled hilarity as I view the perps various antics, nasal and otherwise. Congratulations although I am saddened to see such an entertaining tale conclude. I hope this story has driven much additional traffic to your already successful blog and I would like to option the film rights. Let’s do lunch.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      January 27, 2012

      LOL. Thanks Philip.

      I’m thinking of creating a new reality TV show. Just leave laptops lying around with Prey installed and record what happens. :)

      Reply
  143. Pavel
    January 26, 2012

    Congrats bro…. what you did was awesome!!! I’ve been sharing this story with everyone in my circle of friends.

    Reply
  144. Ree @ Little Aussie Travellers
    January 26, 2012

    Oh boy how funny! So glad I checked in to see your update! So glad you returned it, and I’ll be installing Prey on my own laptop for sure, even just for the fun of it in case it ever gets taken!

    Reply
  145. Carlo Medina
    January 26, 2012

    Has Prey made you a spokesperson yet?haha. Damn, I got a friend who just got his laptop stolen in the safest place in San Pedro. Just curious. How much are you selling the laptop for?

    Reply
  146. Giulia
    January 26, 2012

    I’m totally buying Prey too! I am too scared of losing/having my Macbook stolen… This story was a lot of fun to read but I can understand your excitement! OMG thieves should all get public exposure so that they would stop stealing to avoid the shame… They deserve it!!! Well done Matthew :)

    Reply
  147. Jerri
    January 26, 2012

    Awesome, awesome story! So glad you got it back. I totally think Prey should sponsor your website now for all the publicity you have them. I, for one, downloaded it as well.

    Reply
  148. Bon
    January 26, 2012

    Just amazing, I almost felt like cheering at the end – way to go Matt!!!

    Reply
  149. Lisa | LLWorldTour
    January 25, 2012

    Amazing story Matt. I saw this on Twitter, I think, and already have a tab open with Prey. I wondered if they could see your info and eventually your website…
    In a way I’m surprised it all went down so easy in the end. I thought they would just get rid of it, but I guess you had enough of their info. Incredible!

    Reply
  150. Norm
    January 25, 2012

    Awesome post, hilarious mug shots, good going. I will definitely run prey on my laptop. Thanks for the tip by the way.

    Reply
  151. Greg Rodgers
    January 25, 2012

    Congrats! You exercised a lot more patience and discretion than I probably could.

    I think PreyProject software owes you something for all this publicity!

    Cheers,
    Greg

    Reply
  152. Abby G$
    January 25, 2012

    Awesome story and even more awesome outcome! How much are you selling the famous laptop for? I might know someone who may know someone else who would be seriously interested in a LEGAL TRANSACTION… :)

    Reply
  153. Jeremy
    January 25, 2012

    Glad the ending worked out great. I will be installing Prey on my next computer before we travel again.

    One question – Did you use your travel insurance to recover the cost of the laptop or fund it on your own? If it is with insurance I know many have the stipulation that if stolen equipment is ever recovered it is their property. Just thought I’d throw that out there for you.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      January 25, 2012

      My travel insurance had recently expired before this happened. It wouldn’t have covered much anyway, because the policy had low per-item limits. One of the reasons I was searching for a new provider actually.

      I had help financing the new one from generous readers who purchased photography prints or made donations after the incident.

      Reply
  154. Laurence
    January 25, 2012

    Wow, great to hear you got the laptop back. Good work!

    Reply
  155. Tracey - Life Changing Year
    January 25, 2012

    This story has had me entertained for days. So glad you are a twisted soul with enough of a sense of humour to share with us all!!! Possibly the most original travel post I’ve read in ages!!!

    Reply
  156. Roy Marvelous
    January 25, 2012

    Wow. Glad to hear you got it back. I’m downloading Prey now!

    Reply
  157. Jeremy (The Travel Apprentice)
    January 25, 2012

    Wow, best $5 bucks you ever spend, what a deal! Make sure you sanitize that keyboard too, i can only imagine what you’ve seen the various hands doing to that lap-top. That mac might need some counseling lol… what a great story!

    Reply
  158. Ayngelina
    January 25, 2012

    What an insane story, I am so glad it turned out well for you.

    Reply
  159. Leah Travels
    January 25, 2012

    I’ve been waiting with bated breath regarding the computer. Excellent job!

    Reply
  160. Peggy McPartland
    January 25, 2012

    Just can’t make up something as entertaining as this! I’m so happy it all worked out and you got your computer back.

    I downloaded Prey on my laptop and Android as soon as I found out how incredible it is. Thanks for the heads up!

    Reply
  161. Akila
    January 25, 2012

    Yay! Congratulations on getting it back. That’s awesome.

    Reply
  162. tunimaal
    January 25, 2012

    Awesome story… I’m gonna get this software…. It’s amzing how it works pretty well, and your story is so much fun!!!

    Reply
  163. Shannon
    January 25, 2012

    Wow it seems Prey has a 100% recovery rate; why aren’t other companies that offer this service jumping on this? :D

    I think this has been one of your best stories ;) you might get a bonus charity sale for the laptop for the story it has made out to be.

    You might consider putting a bird of prey wrap on the macbook as a token for the buyer or something.

    Reply
  164. Amanda @amandaelsewhere
    January 25, 2012

    I’m so glad this story has a happy ending! I’m definitely going to download Prey onto my Macbook. Thanks so much for sharing your story!

    Reply
  165. worldlynomads
    January 25, 2012

    This is brilliant, I’ve been following this story since the beginning and I’m amazed how quickly they found out about your posts! Just goes to show eh? I’ll be setting up a guest account on my laptop just in case then…

    Off to download it now, thanks for the heads up!

    Reply
  166. Cass
    January 25, 2012

    Matt, amazing to read about your detective work! So glad it all worked out! All the best. Cass

    Reply
  167. Kobe
    January 24, 2012

    Hi Matthew,

    I enjoyed reading your post (and actually might come back to your blog), especialy since I have a personal interest in it.

    Unfortunately, about 5 days ago, my Asus laptop machine was stolen whileI was at a public library. I’d left it unattended for about 4-5 minutes, and when I got back it was gone. They had left me with the charger and the mouse :-(

    I am very happy for you, and also filled with hope regarding my case.
    Since I only had one password protected account, I was sure they would simply erase the whole thing (including the Prey sofware copy I had installed)and
    reinstall the operating system. however, I read your situation was similar, and still they managed to work around it. I’m really crossing my fingers that my thieves are also password hackers…

    I was wondering why do you think it took 3 months for them to start operating it?
    Did you get any hints regarding that on the reports? I´m very curious.

    Good luck to the both of us…

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      February 24, 2012

      My guess is that the thieves didn’t know how to break into it, so it took awhile for them to figure it out.

      In the future I’ll be including a password-free guest account too, so if it’s stolen, they can start using it right away (but my personal info will still be protected in my own account.)

      Reply
  168. Traveling Ted
    January 24, 2012

    This is simply amazing. Great post and incredible use of technology and social media. You should become Prey’s spokesperson.

    Reply
  169. flipnomad
    January 24, 2012

    hope you recover your mac… very entertaining story though hehehe

    Reply
  170. Someday I'll Be There - Mina
    January 24, 2012

    This post classic! I love it and looking forward for further updates :D and hope you get your laptop back soon :) goodluck

    Reply
  171. Rachelle
    January 24, 2012

    WOW! I can imagine you’re having loads of fun getting these bizarre nose-picking-internet-porn-searching updates and posting them live on the web for all to see. Looking forward to see how this goes!

    Reply
  172. Jennifer Avventura
    January 24, 2012

    Ha. Brilliant post! And I can’t believe there is software like what you have downloaded! Im eager to hear the end of this story.

    Reply
  173. Nick
    January 23, 2012

    When my laptops camera is on it is always lit up. I’m wondering if yours does the same thing? If so I would think that they would catch on.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      January 23, 2012

      The camera light quickly blinks once when a photo is taken. I tested it. Very easy to miss actually.

      Reply
  174. Kerri aboard SV Marquesa
    January 23, 2012

    Thank you for a truly unique travel blog entry, although I’m sorry it was at your own personal expense.

    I will never buy a secondhand laptop again.

    Reply
  175. archer
    January 23, 2012

    i know you’re finding this entertaining, as am i, but if it were me these low-lifes would already be in jail. i don’t get why you don’t contact the police.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      February 24, 2012

      I will if I need to. There is no rush. The more info I learn about them, the better my chances for recovery will be.

      Reply
  176. Tracy Benham
    January 23, 2012

    Thanks, so much, for sharing the updates. I have Prey installed, but never needed it (thankfully). Glad to know it works so well.

    Reply
  177. Joost Schuur
    January 23, 2012

    Question regarding the effectiveness of Prey Project: If I password the only account on my laptop wouldn’t this force any thief to do a reinstall of the OS, and wipe Prey?

    Or are they using a maintenance mode/boot disk to create an additional account, thus preserving the OS install?

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      January 23, 2012

      I don’t know. In my case, I had a single password-protected account.

      Somehow they bypassed it without wiping the hardrive. They are not logged into my account though, there is a new one. I have no idea how they did it. But Prey is still on there. :D

      Reply
  178. Joey Lennon
    January 23, 2012

    This incident is epic. If I were on your shoes, I don’t know what to do with these people but I will gather as many pieces of evidence as much as I can so I would have solid proof about the grave criminal act they did. I was really reading the post til the end because I’m so intrigued by the outcome. What did you do next?

    Can’t wait for the next post!

    Reply
  179. Sabrina
    January 23, 2012

    Never knew about this program, but will download it for sure. Hope you get your computer back!

    Reply
  180. X-man
    January 23, 2012

    Matt,

    you should call police so they can catch em. I saw this on FB and probably they will too. if u take more time, the will probably split and loose ur laptop.

    better have police on their ass and u get ur pc back, unless u are enjoying the pics on their FB.. LOL..!!

    Reply
  181. Lisa
    January 23, 2012

    It totally bites that your laptop was stolen. I hope through your Prey program you are able to recover it. In the meantime the post is hilarious! I agree with one of your other readers you should contact a reporter, this would make a GREAT story. They may be able to get your laptop back.

    Reply
  182. Lee
    January 23, 2012

    See if you can friend them on Facebook – call them by their real names… tell them you met them at some place you know they’ve been. It’ll drive them crazy trying to remember who you are and how you know so much about them. Then see if you can get them to give you any more info on where they live, how they got the laptop, etc.

    If you can mess with them via Facebook, maybe they won’t suspect that the computer is the source of all the info you have.

    Once they figure that out and ininstall Prey, you’re window into their world will close, and that would be a shame!

    Reply
  183. Andrew
    January 23, 2012

    Sorry , I can’t help but laugh at these clowns . I hope you get your laptop back and they get what they deserve . And thanx for the tip on the software .

    Reply
  184. Natalie
    January 22, 2012

    I like the idea from Jeremy – Send messages claiming you are God and she will go to hell for her deceit and lies :) Anyway, you can get their attention by sending a link to this post via Facebook. Keep me updated on the outcome

    Reply
  185. Abby
    January 22, 2012

    This is beyond. My laptop was stolen in Costa Rica a few years ago, and having this program possibly could have changed my life! There, I guess it is not illegal to hold stolen goods, because my guy got off, despite wearing sneakers that I proved were mine. I got the sneakers back but could not get a search warrant for house, down the street from mine. And he was let of jail after one day, because he said the sneakers were a present from his sister. Even though they were Nikes, which aren’t sold there, and she’d never left the country. Even though I proved they were mine enough (pics of me zip-lining!) to get them back. I can’t wait to see what happens!!

    Reply
  186. Cam
    January 22, 2012

    Hah! This is incredible. Ah the wonders of technology!
    What a story… sorry you lost your laptop,, but hopefully things will work out. You should totally keep messing with them… hah! ;-)

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      January 23, 2012

      I really want to mess with them, and try to catch their reaction on camera. :D

      Reply
  187. Quickroute
    January 22, 2012

    I love the mug / bugger shots – saw this a few days ago which might give you some ideas http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=f03_1327071465

    Reply
  188. Jeremy (TheTravelApprentice)
    January 22, 2012

    Wow, amazing story! Hope you get your lap-top back and throw the book at them…

    …on a side note, i could have done without the picture of that guys femur sticking out of his leg lol!

    Reply
  189. Delphine
    January 22, 2012

    Love this new “trip” Mat’ !!!! ;-)
    Please, keep the story going on as long as you can !!! Love Chonga’s gold mining !!!! Take care

    Reply
  190. Gareth Leonard
    January 22, 2012

    Oh man, automated audio messages would be so much fun to mess with them! Only if you could see their reaction live. Good luck with everything, this is a great/sad/awesome/frustrating story.

    Reply
  191. Amanda
    January 22, 2012

    NICE! Amazing what technology can do, eh? I’ll be interested to follow along and see how this pans out!

    Reply
  192. Lori Barber
    January 22, 2012

    Awesome post! Although I have enjoyed following Chonga and Handlebar’s activities, I agree with Angie – it is time to go get ’em!

    Reply
  193. Angie Orth of Angie Away
    January 22, 2012

    Go get ’em!

    Reply
  194. Jillian
    January 22, 2012

    Well this is getting VERY interesting…. :)

    Reply
  195. dusty
    January 22, 2012

    Nice! Bet that was a nice surprise after all that time. Tucking my tablet in the pillow case at night in Costa Rica now. No prey sftwre for Android, but looking for something different.

    Reply
  196. Stephanie - The Travel Chica
    January 22, 2012

    This is awesome! Almost worth having your laptop stolen. Please, please keep the stories coming.

    Reply
  197. Sergio Felix
    January 22, 2012

    Hilarious!

    I don’t think I’d try to recover my laptop after watching all that it has been done on it with people like that but I sure well damn miss it!

    I did a little bit of research on “parce” since I thought she wanted to say “parece” which in Spanish means “looks like” so the whole sentence from her would be something like “looks like gonorrhea”.

    However, “parce” -or “parcero(a)- is actually a common low-class Colombian term mostly used by hookers, narcs and drug addicts meaning close friend in intimacy.

    The term got very common and now it denotes close friendship, partnership or even family related (I’m guessing the same thing that happens in the US with “bro”).

    I’m sure that you’d be able to do something about it, if you decided to go and track them down merely with the GEO location capabilities as in renting a near by place and just watching people on the street.

    It wouldn’t be that quick but you would certainly bump into these guys.

    However, while this may seem like fun to us here, it is still a delicate issue and could get ugly in less than one second after explaining to any of them, that they have been using stolen property.

    I would first file a detailed report about the software you have been using, pictures, names, zone in which they have been logging to the internet and go there for a few days if really interested in recovering it.

    Or, don’t do anything and just mess with them like it has been suggested.

    I really wouldn’t have an issue having to disinfect the computer completely before using it again but just by looking at them, the mere idea grosses me out! haha

    Good luck with your hunt man!

    Sergio

    Reply
  198. adventureswithben
    January 22, 2012

    Let them keep the laptop. I wouldn’t want it back after it had snots all over the keys and who knows what else from looking at lingerie.

    You should post a daily photo of the perps and perhaps someone will recognize them and mail the laptop back!

    Reply
  199. Toni
    January 22, 2012

    Oh my God, this is hilarious! It sucks that you had it stolen in the first place but, as they’ll find out, payback’s a bitch! Also, thanks for the sharing this story – I feel like we’ve all just become part of the Scooby Gang =D

    Reply
  200. Ryan
    January 22, 2012

    Ha, wow, this post is hilarious! I can’t believe you can see everything they are doing, that is wild! Must be addicting watching their every…interesting…move. Hope you get your laptop back mate!

    Reply
  201. Anthea W
    January 22, 2012

    Hello Matthew,
    I wish l’d known about the tracking software in 2011, as my Macbook was stolen from my hotel room in Cusco, Peru and l have no doubt it was the hotel staff as on-one else knew l had a computer. The biggest problem for me was they also stole my external hard-drive back up, which meant that l lost 20,000 photos and 2 years of travel photos.
    The hotel refused to call the police and nor would they give me a line out to phone them directly.
    Eventually l made my way to the Police station at 12 midnight.
    The Tourist Police took my robbery seriously as they could see the broken locks and the suitcase was slashed by the thieves.
    Unfortunately for me, I was made out to be the liar and the Hotels defence to the DDP was that l never owned a computer as l’d never asked them for a wifi password. Wrong!
    I spent an extra 2.5 weeks in Cusco preparing a formal application against my Hotel and Travel Agency ( they also didn’t help) and paid the 36/s to submit the application to Indecopi. Indecopi is the Peruvian’s answer to Consumer Affairs, whereby both the locals and tourists can submit applications against service providers and ask for restitution.
    After 3 months of waiting on the Secretary’s decision as to the outcome of my case, l was provided with what l can only call “a Joke” of an outcome. The Secretary came down on the side of the Hotel and Travel Agency and made a ruling that no robbery had occured since l had not asked for the wifi password ( to prove l had a laptop) !!!!!
    But….. more importantly Apple Mac told me there was no way of tracking my laptop as it wasn’t like the iphone…..
    Thus 20,000 photos down the drain later, and one new MacBook Pro, l now back up my photos on iCloud.
    I sincerely hope you retreive your MacBook but unless you physically go down to Columbia and know a Police Officer there, l doubt that you’ll get it back.
    But l do hope if you can’t get it back in one piece then you can remotely disable it so its rendered useless to anyone!!

    l wish l’d had that software though as l was still in the country and would have demanded the Police retrieve it and take the perpetrators to court.
    Best wishes,
    Anthea

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      February 24, 2012

      That sucks Anthea, I feel your pain. I can’t imagine losing all my photos. I backup all my finished images with Smug Mug just in case that kind of thing happens in the future.

      Reply
  202. Grace
    January 22, 2012

    Wow what a story! Chonga and Handlebar look like they were made for each other. I think it’ll be amusing to see how they would react to random messages on text and audio suddenly popping up on the screen. Ha! I hope you get your payback.

    Reply
  203. Suzi
    January 22, 2012

    This is priceless! What a fantastic piece of software, and although it’s frustrating losing your laptop, the story is hilarious! I can see this going viral. Can’t wait to see how it unfolds…. keeping my fingers crossed for you!

    Reply
  204. Andrea
    January 22, 2012

    Was having the worst day until I saw this – totally cheered me up. I see they attended the same Slayer concert we did (poster in the background of first pic)…keep the laughs coming =)

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      February 24, 2012

      Great to hear Andrea! Sure cheered me up pretty quick too.

      Reply
  205. Matt Gibson
    January 22, 2012

    So entertaining. Almost worth having your computer stolen in the first place!

    I’m so going to download Prey.

    Reply
  206. The Curmudgeon
    January 22, 2012

    There once was a song called “May the bird of paradise fly up your nose.” It looks like Chonga is trying to find it, but looking at the beach picture she may need to look elsewhere. It may be a Vulture, it’s certainly not a Chickadee is it?

    Reply
  207. Joel
    January 22, 2012

    Matt – interesting software and a great story.

    Out of curiosity, was your computer password protected? It seems like Prey’s usefulness would be minimized if the computer was protected with a password? I know there are ways to hack through those, so I’m wondering if that was what happened.

    Reply
  208. Michael Hodson
    January 22, 2012

    I love this. That is all. :D

    Reply
  209. Black Chick On Tour
    January 22, 2012

    Getting robbed sucks, but this retaliation is awesome. I love it!! I would definitely torture them as much as possible (via the “fun” things you mentioned), and hopefully you’ll be able to work out a way to get your computer back.

    Reply
  210. wendy wallach
    January 22, 2012

    you should contact Apple…There might be a free replacement computer for you..either through them or the prey program that you are now giving all this free advertising for!

    Seriously..contact some reporters..great story!

    Reply
  211. CanCan
    January 22, 2012

    as someone who was robbed AND burglarized while abroad, this is the best thing I have ever seen. Ever.
    But can you change those nasty gruesome photos?

    Chonga is an awesome nickname.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      February 24, 2012

      It is a pretty nasty photo, probably should have warned people. :D

      Reply
  212. nancy todd
    January 22, 2012

    Excellent advice on how to recover computers, not boogers. Thanks!

    Reply
  213. Christy @ Ordinary Traveler
    January 22, 2012

    This is hilarious! I love that you are finding a way to make light of the situation. This software sounds amazing. I may even use it to mess with friends. :)

    Reply
  214. Jason
    January 22, 2012

    The ultimate reality TV show! I would be so mad if someone stole my Macbook. I plan to download that software tonight and really hope you can recover your laptop.

    Reply
  215. Gerard ~ GQ trippin
    January 22, 2012

    Can’t wait to see which option you pick! haha

    Reply
  216. Tawny- Captain and Clark
    January 22, 2012

    Thank you so much for sharing! Chris downloaded Prey on our Macbook Pro and then had me get on it so he could test it out from a computer in another room. His customized message exclaimed, “This computer is stolen! You are being tracked. Good luck, dick”. Amazing.

    You should probably keep track of all of the photos of “Chonga” with her fingers up her nose. Those are priceless.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      February 24, 2012

      I’d probably recommend that you don’t use the alarms right away, so they don’t freak out and ditch it before you get plenty of juicy info. :)

      Reply
  217. Lorenzo Gonzalez
    January 22, 2012

    This is better than anything showing on TV… Lol

    Reply
  218. tunimaal
    January 22, 2012

    I didn’t know that ou can track down a laptop by this way… Hope ou will get it back and have fun while track it down….

    Reply
  219. Nancy Sathre-Vogel from Family on Bikes
    January 22, 2012

    This is HILARIOUS! I almost hope you don’t get it back, but continue to post about what they’re doing! I’m sure you’ll end up with a gold mine here!

    Reply
  220. Rolando
    January 22, 2012

    I really sorry about your mac, Matthew. and it’s good you’re making all things calm enough to take the best decisions.
    I also loved the idea of prepare some messages, maybe some “spooky” ones. Can you imagine if that woman believes in santery, witchcraft and all those stuff? but make sure just the woman to read them.
    And when you get all the good details, try to get some help from tourism authorities. Maybe they can help you with that. In El Salvador, we get a special police department calles “POLITUR” (Policia de Turismo), decidated to make all visitors feel safer all the time. I don’t know if they have this kind of help in Panama, but Tourism authorities would know better.
    Success!!
    @RolandoPeralta

    Reply
  221. Runaway Brit
    January 22, 2012

    This is absolutely hilarious! If you can live without getting your laptop back then I thnk you should just continue blogging about what they get up to, I’ll definitely be a regular reader. If you really want it back then let me know, I’m in Panama City until next Tuesday, I could go round and have a word!!

    Reply
  222. Claudio @ LigeroDeEquipaje.com
    January 21, 2012

    Actually, if you are a good faith buyer you can buy a stolen item without consequences. (Bona fide purchaser defense). The thing is that you have to prove the “new ownership” by a receipt, an invoice or by giving the seller’s name and contact information! If not, you are going to jail!

    I’m Panamanian, a criminal lawyer, and a traveler. I’m right now in my hometown preparing for my next trip so, if you need any help down here just let me know.

    “Que gonorreaaaaaaa parceeeee” + big butt tattoo… oh pal, she is not even Panamanian. And by the way they stole your laptop at Casco Viejo, I bet she IS involved. It’s a common modus operandi.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      January 22, 2012

      Colombian? :)

      I’ve learned that “Handlebar” is from Chile.

      Thanks for the info Claudio, I may take you up on that offer.

      Reply
  223. The World of Deej
    January 21, 2012

    I can not wait to see where this goes…

    Reply
  224. Cavan
    January 21, 2012

    Set up a second Facebook account in one of their names, friend their friends, and start revealing hidden secrets regarding sexual orientation, new careers erc

    Reply
  225. Raymond @ Man On The Lam
    January 21, 2012

    Those shots of Chonga are hilarious! I worked for a company in Guatemala that has offices in Panama — maybe I could convince someone to go on a reconnaissance mission for you if you get an exact address.

    Oh, and I’m downloading prey right now!!

    Reply
  226. Jade - OurOyster.com
    January 21, 2012

    Can you not just send these details to the police and have them recover the laptop? It seems like you have more than enough evidence!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      January 21, 2012

      From what I’ve read, the WiFi tracking can be a few blocks off sometimes. Many people use fake names on Facebook too. Chonga has logged into 2 different accounts, with different names and email addresses.

      I want to be absolutely sure with an exact address if I can. No harm in waiting a few days to make sure it’s done right.

      Central American police don’t always do things the same as police in the United States. I have first hand experience with that. I won’t go into details, just in case I do end up asking them to help. Don’t want them mad at me. ;)

      Reply
  227. Roy Marvelous
    January 21, 2012

    Hope you get it back! Surely, once you get her home address you will have enough proof for the police to intervene?

    Reply
  228. Jeremy
    January 21, 2012

    If you do not care about getting your laptop back, I would seriously start messing with her. Could you trick it in such a way that she wont know you are the owner of the computer? Like could you have it pop up and act like it is a message from God? I’m assuming she speaks Spanish? Definitely mess with her.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      January 21, 2012

      I’m loving that idea. :)

      Yes, I actually tested how it works on my current Macbook Air.
      The message won’t say I’m the owner unless I make it…

      Reply
  229. Matt
    January 21, 2012

    So glad that a little bit of joy can come from having lost your Mac. :)

    Reply
  230. Dina
    January 21, 2012

    When you finally talk to Chonga, ask her to share the gold nuggets she’s been mining!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      February 24, 2012

      Will do Dina! Looks like she’s got plenty to go around. :D

      Reply
  231. Roman
    January 21, 2012

    Matt, it’s incredibly useful post. 2 weeks ago i was robbed in chicken bus in Esteli, Nicaragua. Later this day, doing inventarisation of my gear, I discovered that also other gadgets are absent, it total for 900 usd.
    I will share this post on fb for sure and offer my travelmates do the same. I thought that ready for being robbed, but when it happened – emotionally I wasn’t ready at all!
    And I was very blind in my anger and hated all ppl around.
    But what do u think, just imagine, that u’ve lost ur laptop in Panama, and a week later dacided to buy another. and after a few months of using it someone tell u: u have to return it because it was stolen before u bought it. but u bought it for ur money.
    I don’t have the answer, in fact it’s very complicated, what to do with the revenge. maybe this girl bought ur stolen laptop in second hand shop, how could she know is second hand laptop stolen or not?

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      January 21, 2012

      You are right Roman, that is possible. And I’m keeping it in mind when I decide what to do.

      If I unknowingly bought stolen property, sure it would suck to give it back without compensation. It would suck to get arrested for it too. But that’s the way it works.

      Frankly I’d much rather have embarrassing photos go up online than get arrested. Which is why I’m leaning towards avoiding using the police if possible.

      We’ll see what they do when I confront them. Their actions will determine mine.

      Reply
  232. Trevor Wolverton
    January 21, 2012

    Matt this is freaking hysterical – I can’t wait to see what you decide to do lol

    Reply
  233. Carrie (@PipeDreamJunkie)
    January 21, 2012

    Just saw this, and I’m really glad that you have a lead on the case! Make sure that when the time comes that you get the Mac back, that you bring a huge case of Clorox wetwipes!! You never know, you could end up discovering gold on your keyboard… ;)

    Reply
  234. Sebastian @ Off-The-Path.com
    January 21, 2012

    Mate, that is amazing… going to download this software first thing tomorrow morning!!! Have you called the police to see what they can do now that you aren’t in the country? What about some friends you have there?

    I wish you would have a second external camera to see their face expression once the police sound and the computer voice turn up… haha It would freak me out…

    Good luck with the recovery and I can’t wait to read more… this is epic stuff :)

    Reply
  235. kadri
    January 21, 2012

    So funny! i’m squeezing my thumbs for you… and i need to start checking myself for subconscious nose-picking.

    Reply
  236. Julian
    January 21, 2012

    Hey, send me the fb account and we’ ll see if we have friends in common

    Reply
  237. Christy
    January 21, 2012

    Holy Cow! Funny. Yet that girl kinda grosses me out now. And then the ER photo came. lol I hope you get it back as entertaining as this might be! Good luck and now I’m interested in the stories to come!!

    Reply
  238. Julia b
    January 21, 2012

    Haha :) steal your computer back! Follow them and when they are not home replace the computer with embarrassing photos of them and some wisdom words :)

    Good stuff for the positivness.

    Reply
  239. Mica
    January 21, 2012

    If I was close by I would totally try to recover my laptop. For sure. Get some help, and bust them.
    Why not? It’s still your laptop!
    Take it back! I will share this!

    Reply
  240. Carlo Medina
    January 21, 2012

    OMG. This post is classic. If we see these folks in Colombia. We’ll drop you a line or just run away from them. haha.

    Reply

Leave a Reply