An Open Letter to the Person Who Stole My Laptop

Hedy Gutfreund Co-Editor-in-Chief

On Thursday, January 30, I was in the theater tech booth, and my phone was dying. It was 5PM, and I went to grab my phone charger from my backpack, which I—like I had done for years—had placed in a seat in the balcony right outside the booth (still in the theater). If only it had been that easy. When I went to get it, I discovered my backpack was gone, and I panicked. I figured maybe I had absentmindedly left it downstairs in the theater, and when I took the stairs leading to the pit to go get it, I found my backpack, wide open, sans laptop.

Needless to say, Thursday, January 30 was not a good day for me. I spent the next few hours talking to Latin’s security staff, filing a police report, and being in shock. I just couldn’t believe that this had happened nearly right before my eyes—or that someone had known where I was and that I would leave my backpack open and that it was basically a security camera blindspot. So here’s to you, laptop thief. I can’t make assumptions about who stole my computer or why, but I have a few things to say.

First, I feel violated. This is not just about the theft, but it changes how I feel in our community. Because this incident required such an intimate knowledge of the school, my twenty-eighth semester at Latin just feels a little different. I don’t feel paranoid, per se, but I feel less safe. I don’t feel okay leaving my backpack outside of gathering or outside of the cafeteria or even in the yearbook room when we go to eat dinner in the photo room.

Second, after having a conversation with Mr. Fript, I learned that when similar incidents of heavy duty theft had happened when he was dean, it had been a student needing money to fund a cocaine addiction. If this is you and you are reading this, yeah, I’m angry. I would’ve really liked to find my laptop. But more important, if this is close to the truth, you need to look carefully at yourself. This is grand theft. Seek help, or one of these days you might find yourself in trouble way worse than needing a few hundred bucks to pay for drugs.

So I’m not sure what prompted this theft, but I want you, the person who stole it, to know that it’s not just about the laptop or the drug money or whatever you’re using my old computer to do. It’s about the most important community I’ve ever known. No one knows if all the thefts have been by the same person or if that even matters, but the knowledge of Latin’s inner workings and blind spots is scary. I know I’m not the only one who feels afraid. But this issue is also that someone, you, the person who stole my laptop, needs help, and there’s help to be gotten.

Finally, I wanted to close this letter by addressing all Macbook users. Whether it’s at Latin or beyond Latin, there are three things that can make your life easier if you’re ever faced with a theft. First, set up Find My Mac on your computer. It’s in System Preferences, and it’s really easy. I really wish I had done that—even if it wouldn’t have gotten my computer back. Find My Mac allows you to locate your device, like Find My iPhone, using your iCloud (Apple) account.  Second, put a password on your laptop. I know it’s a drag, but I don’t like the idea that my stuff was unlocked and made it that easy for someone to clear everything and resell my laptop. Finally, and perhaps most important, back up your laptop. Having our lives in five-pound chunks of metal is nice, but it’s also unreliable and vulnerable. With the help of Time Machine, I was able to almost perfectly restore everything from my stolen laptop to my new one. While that was a lifesaver, that doesn’t change the major issues left to resolve after multiple laptop thefts.