Dominic DeGrazier 3:37 p.m., Sept. 21
USD Student's Police Work Leads to Recovery of Stolen Laptop
Two students at the University of San Diego were recently the victims of electronics theft, the USD Vista reports.
Both students reported that their items, a digital camera and a laptop, went missing shortly after encounters with a woman described as about 5’2” with brown hair and glasses during the evening of February 9.
Sophmore Jeffrey Zhu, owner of the laptop, reports police were less than helpful in attempting to locate his computer. Zhu says he initially contacted a Public Safety officer on campus, who “sounded really nice and sounded like he wanted to get my laptop back.”
Zhu then activated Hidden, an app he’d downloaded to his computer that was programmed to randomly take photographs of whoever was using the device and broadcast them, along with GPS coordinates, to his cell phone. He used the program to obtain pictures of a male suspect working on his computer, as well as the address of an apartment complex.
“After I got all of that good stuff I called the San Diego Police Department and they were not helpful,” Zhu told the Vista. “They said that they couldn't just ‘knock on doors' for me. Then I called Public Safety and they said that they couldn't do anything if the address was off-campus.”
Zhu took his photos to the apartment building himself and contacted the building manager, who confirmed the identity of the suspect as a resident and provided Zhu with the suspect’s contact information. The manager’s wife pointed out that the suspect’s car was in the parking lot, indicating that he was likely home at the time.
“So I called the SDPD and I told them that I had done all of this work and I had all of the information and proof,” says Zhu. “I told them that they didn't have to knock on any doors. So they finally sent the cops over and the guy happened to be leaving [his apartment] at that moment.”
Police searched the apartment and recovered the stolen laptop. No word was given on whether the camera stolen from sophomore Marc Gonzales had been located.