• United States



Profile of a laptop thief

Oct 31, 20072 mins
Core Java

The St Petersburg Times has a great profile of the CISO’s worst nightmare: Eric Almly.  Dressed in Khakis and a white shirt, he’d draft in behind an employee, mingle until the end of the workday and then leave the building with laptops stuffed into a bag. Hours later, the laptops would be listed for sale on eBay. Burger King and FedEx, and Outback Steakhouse were amongst his vicitms.

From the story:

Shrewdly, he began focusing on laptops. Lightweight and slim, easy to conceal, cheap to mail and a breeze to sell, they are, ounce for ounce, among the most valuable items in any corporate office. Almly sold many of the units to shady brokers in overseas locales such as Latvia; a manifest kept at the U.S. Post Office in Carlsbad, Calif., showed he had sent 35 packages to Taiwan in 2004 under the alias Jeffrey Scott Siegle and the corporate name NBE Ventures. Almly sold many of the remaining computers on eBay via the online name LaptopDlr55.

And how did Outback finally help authorities bust him?

Nine of its 11 stolen laptops had been equipped with security software that transmits a stolen computer’s physical location the moment a thief accesses the Internet with it. With that information, a nationwide crime spree began to unravel.

Apparently the thief thought that companies like Outback would just write off the loss of a few thousand dollars worth of laptops, but I wonder how much these thefts really cost. Were there data breaches? I haven’t heard of Burger King, Outback or FedEx reporting breaches due to stolen laptops, but clearly this type of crime is top-of-mind these days.

 The Times also has this April article on this guy and how he ripped off Outback. 

–Robert McMillan