Stolen

2011 September 26
by Grace Boyle

We pulled up to one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants just North of downtown Boulder for a late dinner.

Our loving, goofy puppy stayed in the backseat with my laptop and we walked hand in hand to sit down, decompress and dine.

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  • My boyfriend’s car and the pup sat just 15 feet from the entrance.

    After about an hour we came out to a quiet, dark sky. The car as it should be and the puppy wagging his tail excitedly.

    Except…

    In the swift decision to eat out on this random Tuesday evening and having my laptop (unusual, I’m never out with it) tossed into the backseat along with his book bag I started to wonder where my bright green laptop case was. We rustled around confused.

    Panic started rising up in my throat, choking my words. The unimaginable creeping into my mind.

    My eyes darted up to his with a, “what the hell is going on here?” look. nike legging homme He looked confused and unsure. Brows furrowed.

    We searched and searched. And realized the driver door was unlocked and my laptop was in fact, gone. Swiped from under our nose in our wonderful, safe small city.

    What followed after doesn’t matter (police report, insurance claims, long customer service calls on hold, tears, wanting to break plates, etc.).

    I was left feeling stupid, sad and lost. I’ve traveled around the world from Bangkok, Barcelona, Rome, San Jose and New York City.

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  • I’ve never had anything stolen. I pride my ‘street smarts’ and cognizance. I also have a long history of trusting as I’m a firm believer that if you’re paranoid and your thought process if filled with fear, that is what you create around you. Asics Tiger damskie Within reason, of course.

    To have the one most important material possession stolen, out from under our nose in Boulder feels violating. I should never had the laptop in the car, but of course, sometimes we slip up. Sometimes we don’t consider, let alone, imagine the possibility.

    I am waiting on insurance to potentially cover some if not all of the cost, however, I’m writing this post on my brand new Mac Book Pro. Regardless, I knew I needed a new computer.

    Purchasing…

    I had almost four years on my last computer. For someone with two blogs who works online and is a communicator by nature, my computer is a lifeline. After hearing Jenny had her laptop recently stolen, I backed up my laptop since it had almost been a year. The one good bit of news is that three weeks prior to the theft, I had backed up. I don’t think too much was lost…besides my dignity.

    Not all is lost. I’m moving forward. Also, did you know that 97% of all PC’s are not recovered? So yeah, onwards and upwards.

    I went about a week sans laptop and instead of resorting to daily negativity, focused on the solutions and working actively with my insurance provider and renters insurance. After all, let’s do things we can do. De\’Anthony Thomas – Oregon Ducks

    A few tips:

    • Please back up every month: I use an external had-drive time machine. Here are some good options and buy one if you don’t have one. Pat Sullivan – Auburn Tigers Jerseys Please! This isn’t just for stolen but if anything happens to your computer, period.
    • Amazon S3 & DropBox: Re: Jenny’s advice, look into Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3). It’s storage for the Internet that allows you to store and retrieve any necessary data you want. Pricing is fair and stated here. I use DropBox and it’s free depending on the amount of space you use. Great for sharing too.
    • Serial Number: In a safe deposit box, safe or even somewhere external be sure you have your computer’s serial number. My serial number was necessary for the police report I filed and is now registered in the national system in case it appears (e.g. pawn shop, etc.)
    • Security and Fraud: I can’t remember every single document on my laptop and my browser history, but I do know there’s a lot of saved passwords (e-mail, Amazon.com, etc.) that were easily accessible via my browsers. Within a half hour of finding out, I changed all my passwords to anything from my bank account, 401K login, e-mail, Amazon, Facebook to PayPal. I also alerted my bank in case anything unusual showed up in my bank accounts.
    • Label and Tag the Laptop: With your name, stickers and tags across the laptop (I had none of this) it becomes more inconspicuous, harder to re-sell and easier to spot.
    • GPS and Alarm: Although this software isn’t cheap, it could be useful if you travel a lot. Check out software that installs GPS and alerts you of the location of your laptop. asics gel stratus hombre This is also a free alarm software, I’m looking into these.
    • Never leave anything in your car. Period. Isn’t this obvious? Sometimes we forget, get lazy or think we’ll be just a moment. It doesn’t really matter where you live, it’s just good to be safer than sorry.
    • Hidden: WHY didn’t I know about this before?! It’s a cheap, useful application for your Mac that will show you where it is and who has it. Only $15/year. Matt Holliday Womens Jersey Buying NOW: http://hiddenapp.com/. Thank you Robert!

    Letting go is always a good lesson. Matt Cain Jersey I hope to never have to let go of this computer again as I try to rebuild the last three years of folders, photography and documents.

    Thanks for all your support.

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    • http://jennbollenbacher.com/blog Jenn

      So sorry this happened, Grace! I had my work laptop stolen out of my car (a week after I started working at this job – kind of embarrassing) and the hardest part for me was the feeling of being violated. Like, that’s my car, and my computer, and I’m in my apartment complex and someone has totally just violated that little safe world I live in.

      Good tips for everyone to protect themselves better though.

    • http://twitter.com/ChelsTalksSmack Chelsea Talks Smack

      Ugh, Gracie this is the worst- after my car was broken into I had that same, violated, awful feeling- so so sorry- sigh.

    • http://www.robertcalise.com/ Robert Calise

      I use (and love) Hidden App (http://hiddenapp.com/) for my Mac, and it’s cheap as hell. Highly, highly recommend it.

    • Anonymous

      Really really useful, helpful tips. So sorry you had to go through that but sounds like you’re ready to take all necessary precautions from here out!

    • http://woreout.wordpress.com/ Caitlin

      Ugh, I’m so sorry to hear that your laptop was swiped. I hate when the world reminds us that bad stuff can/does happen. Kudos for turning this totally crummy experience around with your amazing attitude and a wonderful list of helpful hints and tips. Hang in there girly!

    • http://woreout.wordpress.com/ Caitlin

      Ugh, I’m so sorry to hear that your laptop was swiped. I hate when the world reminds us that bad stuff can/does happen. Kudos for turning this totally crummy experience around with your amazing attitude and a wonderful list of helpful hints and tips. Hang in there girly!

    • http://diamondkt.blogspot.com David Stehle

      See, I’m the opposite. I don’t trust anyone when it comes to my valuables. Of course I work in a field where the more untrusting I am, the better. So all sensitive data is encrypted, backed up and locked down.

      You’re lucky all they took was your laptop and not your dog! That would upset me waaay more! Then again, I’m extra paranoid when it comes to leaving Diesel locked up in my car because I hear Bulldogs are the #1 stolen breed. And I can’t stomach even thinking that someone may try turning him into a fighting dog or even worse a bait dog! Anyway…

      You might want to take a look at cable locks (Targus.com sells good ones). They’re meant to secure your laptop to a desk, but you can easily secure one end to something sturdy inside your car. Wise alternative if you don’t have a trunk to keep your laptop out of plain view.

      (Wow, comment entirely too long!)

    • http://diamondkt.blogspot.com David Stehle

      See, I’m the opposite. I don’t trust anyone when it comes to my valuables. Of course I work in a field where the more untrusting I am, the better. So all sensitive data is encrypted, backed up and locked down.

      You’re lucky all they took was your laptop and not your dog! That would upset me waaay more! Then again, I’m extra paranoid when it comes to leaving Diesel locked up in my car because I hear Bulldogs are the #1 stolen breed. And I can’t stomach even thinking that someone may try turning him into a fighting dog or even worse a bait dog! Anyway…

      You might want to take a look at cable locks (Targus.com sells good ones). They’re meant to secure your laptop to a desk, but you can easily secure one end to something sturdy inside your car. Wise alternative if you don’t have a trunk to keep your laptop out of plain view.

      (Wow, comment entirely too long!)

    • http://twitter.com/pug Ef Rodriguez

      Great advice. Unfortunate story. Hugs, Grace!

    • http://twentyorsomething.com Susan Pogorzelski

      My heart stopped when I read Cerna was in the car — so relieved he’s safe and ok, but so sorry to hear about your laptop!

      I’m notoriously bad at not backing up my files, but the thought of losing all of my writing terrifies me, and since my computer has been acting up, I decided to finally be responsible instead of helping along what only seemed inevitable. I recently spent an evening copying everything — documents, pictures, music — over to dropbox, and as I’m still a little paranoid that my work will get lost along the cloud somewhere, I back THAT up with emailing the important documents to myself so that I have them stored in gmail.

      Computers really have become our lifeline…Thanks for the tips!

    • http://fivefourandaquarter.wordpress.com Arianna Bolotin

      So sorry to hear about this. Just remember that in the long scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. Stay optimistic–it could have been a lot worse! As you eluded to, bad things happen and we learn lessons and move on. At least it wasn’t the doggy!

    • http://eemusings.wordpress.com/ eemusings

      Oh Grace, I’m so sorry.

      We’ve been burgled multiple times in the past few years, and it just plain STINKS.

    • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

      Aw, I’m sorry to hear that. Thanks for your support, as well.

    • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

      My dear mother reminded me that in a year or so I probably won’t be lamenting about it. I also feel lucky I’m able to buy a new computer :) Thanks for the support and stopping by.

    • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

      I know! Cerna would be irreplaceable and we would never forgive ourselves. He’s so friendly we imagine him probably just kissing and licking whoever stole it (while wagging his tail).

      Yes, you don’t even need an external hardrive, even just put your writing on Google Docs or DropBox. Oh please do it :)

    • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

      Meow. Thank you :)

    • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

      From traveling around the world, to the most notorious places for stealing (e.g. Barcelona, Bangkok, etc.) I just thought I would be one of those people with nothing stolen. Stupid me :)

      I’m so glad they didn’t take the dog. That would have been awful and irreplaceable (a computer is). Thanks for the Targus tip – I didn’t know much of this prior to the stealing unfortunately, always good to be informed. Super useful, thank you!!

    • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

      Thanks dear :) I TRY! I’m already feeling better and am glad I now feel more equipped…

    • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

      OH yes, paying even more attention now. When in doubt, right? Thanks for the support dear.

    • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

      This is the most useful app I ever have heard of. I included it above in the post after you left this comment. Thank you, signing up now.

    • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

      Thanks dear. Totally a violation. Lucky nothing wrong with the car and Cerna is still with us :) Moving forward, thanks love.

    • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

      I remember that. Ugh, so awful. I always am scared that they were watching us prior to…

      Thanks for your support. Did you hear of http://hiddenapp.com? SO useful. Only $15/year and it tells you where your computer is and who has it if it’s taken. Amazing.

    • http://www.elginista.com Crysta

      Oh, that’s terrible! But thankful that your dog wasn’t taken, and even more thankful that you’re making lemonade and offering some great tips.

      Years ago, I was pickpocketed and went through the same thought process. I had always been so careful in crowds and in my less-than-ideal neighborhood, my guard was always up. But I was in downtown Chicago shopping, and realized my wallet was gone. I felt so violated. I’d like to think that we should be able to leave doors unlocked, purses unzipped, etc, but sometimes reality comes crashing back.

      At least you ended up with a new laptop.

    • http://twitter.com/bodhi_bear kia

      Sorry this happened.

    • http://twitter.com/baxie404 Ashley Baxter

      Good tips at the end! I recently had my occupied room given away by Extended Stay hotel at SXSW and both a friend and I had our laptops stolen including about 7k of other items (shoes, jewelry, suitcases, etc). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGnS9nQKtcE&feature=channel_video_title

      Most important thing we learned is to not trust your surroundings when out in public, back EVERYTHING up on a regular basis, and that the sooner you can force third parties (cops, insurance, etc) to act on things the better chance you have of recovering your items. None of our belongings were recovered, and we are both online professionals, but as much as it sucks the best thing to remember is that you weren’t harmed! Hope you are able to get back on track and thanks for sharing your story.

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    • http://superduperfantastic.com/ suki

      Sorry to hear about your loss! :/ I always feel so violated when I hear that something like this has happened. Great tips for the future though.

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    • http://twitter.com/ClickSafelocks Kensington ClickSafe

      Hey… nice tips :) But I would say you’re missing out on one… have you considered a laptop lock? Most people haven’t heard of them.. See my blog on laptop security: http://clicksafe.kensington.com/blog/