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Flickr Self-Incrimination
September 24, 2007 11:29 AM   Subscribe

Bill MacEwen's laptop got stolen last week, but all might not be lost. Someone in possession of the laptop -- possibly the thief -- just posted a self-portrait to Flickr using the account stored in the laptop. If you know anything about the gentleman in the photo, please contact Bill through his blog. If you like to fantasize about committing "the perfect crime", add this boo-boo to your "DO NOT DO" list.
posted by AccordionGuy (80 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Name that Theif."

Okay I will, when I can spell write.
posted by ericb at 11:33 AM on September 24, 2007


All right, so far my list of Larceny No-Nos is:

1) Don't upload self-portraits to the victim's flickr page.
2) Don't call someone a moron, then repeatedly misspell "thief".
posted by Greg Nog at 11:35 AM on September 24, 2007


"Theif" and "theifs". Sigh.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:35 AM on September 24, 2007


That's awesome.
posted by bitdamaged at 11:37 AM on September 24, 2007


Even people who cant spel gud don't deserve to have their stuff stolen.

Hopefully some internet detective will track this guy down.
posted by tapeguy at 11:37 AM on September 24, 2007


Don't you know it's "thier" and not "their?"
posted by ericb at 11:37 AM on September 24, 2007


3) Do not remove cloting and fall asleep a scene of buglary.
4) Do not leave wallet at scene of buglary.
5) Do not buglarize restaurant via vent.
6) Do not buglarize home via chimney.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:38 AM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ill cut hmi sum slak -- maebe the theift haz left him to distrot to spel properlie.
posted by AccordionGuy at 11:39 AM on September 24, 2007


7) Do not try to carjack a busfull of frail looking young women who turn out to be judo masters.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:41 AM on September 24, 2007


Why would Henry Rollins steal someone's laptop?
posted by digiFramph at 11:42 AM on September 24, 2007 [4 favorites]


I, THEIF, HAZ GOT UR CUMPUTER, DEWD!!!
posted by ericb at 11:43 AM on September 24, 2007


Why would Henry Rollins steal someone's laptop?

To sell to Robert Downey Jr?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:43 AM on September 24, 2007


haye yuar stiollin mai gigg. eye ipproofe.
posted by zennie at 11:44 AM on September 24, 2007



posted by AccordionGuy at 11:45 AM on September 24, 2007


My joke was going to be "What's the penalty these days for stealing someone's dictionary?" but clearly that line of humour is already a little tired. Good work, people.
posted by Kiell at 11:45 AM on September 24, 2007


So not being a mac user and not knowing a thing about photobooth can I infer that the application is probably set to upload to flickr without intervention?
posted by srboisvert at 11:45 AM on September 24, 2007


Weren't you lot taught this little mnemonic at school?

"i before e, except after somebody has just stolen your laptop"
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:50 AM on September 24, 2007 [14 favorites]


So not being a mac user and not knowing a thing about photobooth can I infer that the application is probably set to upload to flickr without intervention?

Unless there's a third-party addon that I don't know about -- nope. The guy would have done this manually.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 11:50 AM on September 24, 2007


This is one of the few situations in which asking for it to be returned, no questions asked, might actually bear fruit.
posted by hermitosis at 11:50 AM on September 24, 2007


Pretty sure this has happened before. Only last time, it was somebody's Sidekick that got stolen, and the thief was a teenaged girl from Queens.

The funny part was that, prior to posting about the ordeal, the original owner did manage to get ahold of the thief, who responded with a bunch of messages like, "it's my sidekick now, beeyotch! ur fucked!"

Anybody else remember this? Pretty sure I saw it here on MeFi.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:51 AM on September 24, 2007


So not being a mac user and not knowing a thing about photobooth can I infer that the application is probably set to upload to flickr without intervention?

And did the thief title the photo himself at Flickr, since it is titled "me?"
posted by ericb at 11:52 AM on September 24, 2007


Or bare fruit?
posted by Toekneesan at 11:53 AM on September 24, 2007


Unless there's a third-party addon that I don't know about -- nope. The guy would have done this manually

Got it, so he likely did indeed title the photo. What was he thinking then -- that he was posting the titled photo to a different photo set/stream?
posted by ericb at 11:53 AM on September 24, 2007


Oh crap, that's me!
posted by DU at 11:55 AM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hazarding a guess, this may be someone who only understood so far as, "cool I can put a picture of myself on the Internet," without realizing it would be on someone's account.
posted by zennie at 11:55 AM on September 24, 2007


Unless there's a third-party addon that I don't know about

Not in this case however there is a Mac program designed just in case of theft.
http://www.orbicule.com/undercover/
posted by junesix at 11:56 AM on September 24, 2007 [3 favorites]


They've changed to the proper spelling -- "thief."
posted by ericb at 11:58 AM on September 24, 2007


Technically it wasn't Bill's laptop, but rather one of the iMacs at Workspace, a shared office space in Gastown, Vancouver. This particular iMac (the one used to post the photo) was setup at the coffee bar with Flickrbooth installed and Workspace's account as the default account, so that anybody who came in for a coffee could, while waiting for their favourite caffeinated beverage, also take a photo of themselves. Whoever that is didn't know to change the Flickr account or, more likely, not to click the upload button after having taken the photo.
posted by sillygwailo at 11:59 AM on September 24, 2007


It just got BoingBoinged. By the end of the day, he'll be the best-known thief in the nerdsphere.
posted by AccordionGuy at 12:01 PM on September 24, 2007


Afroblanco, I believe it was this. Looks like he took the photos down, though.
posted by rottytooth at 12:05 PM on September 24, 2007


As a starter, I hope the Vancouver Police take the two photos to local tatoo parlors to see if "me" was inked locally.
posted by ericb at 12:06 PM on September 24, 2007


Afroblanco, I believe it was this. Looks like he took the photos down, though.

Ah thanks for the reminder of that incident. The MeFi thread about the stolen SideKick is here.
posted by ericb at 12:08 PM on September 24, 2007


digiFramph writes "Why would Henry Rollins steal someone's laptop?"

Ah, you beat me to it.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:09 PM on September 24, 2007


SomethingAwful forum is on the case.
posted by ericb at 12:11 PM on September 24, 2007


ericb writes "SomethingAwful forum is on the case."

For those of us who aren't going to pony up $10 just to get the exciting news, what's up?
posted by krinklyfig at 12:13 PM on September 24, 2007


Rottytooth - yup, that was it.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:16 PM on September 24, 2007


I, THEIF, HAZ GOT UR CUMPUTER, DEWD!!!


LOLFELONS
posted by CynicalKnight at 12:17 PM on September 24, 2007


Whoa - the dad from "The Wonder Years" has really fallen on hard times, huh.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 12:17 PM on September 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


Looks like Pete Sampras after 10 years in the pen.
posted by psmealey at 12:24 PM on September 24, 2007


he'll be the best-known thief in the nerdsphere

Man, dude better watch his back. Could be in for an ass-kicking.

Oh, wait.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:25 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


18,989 flickr views alone ...
posted by R. Mutt at 12:45 PM on September 24, 2007


They've changed to the proper spelling -- "thief."

URL's still buggered, though.
posted by Nabubrush at 12:51 PM on September 24, 2007


Bill MacEwan has posted more (surveillance) photos.
posted by ericb at 12:59 PM on September 24, 2007


The sad thing iz da people dat spell dat way on purpose, because dey think being stoopid iz da shit.


Kindest Regards,

Every Other You Tube Poster
posted by wfc123 at 1:08 PM on September 24, 2007


You might think those surveillance photos are too low rez to identify anyone, but you'd be wrong.

At this very moment, the local precinct commander is waving her hand, saying, "Enhance! Enhance!"

That always works.
posted by Malor at 1:12 PM on September 24, 2007 [5 favorites]


Don't worry! Help is at hand!!

i just sent it to perezhilton.com...goodluck!
posted by a3matrix at 1:18 PM on September 24, 2007


Don't know the guy, sorry.
posted by chlorus at 1:18 PM on September 24, 2007


It just got BoingBoinged.

Was Cory Doctorow praising the thief for recognizing that information wants to be free?
posted by Greg Nog at 1:20 PM on September 24, 2007 [11 favorites]


The MeFi thread about the stolen SideKick is here.

This won't end well.
posted by intermod at 12:56 PM on June 7 [+] [!]


Aww. How charmingly antiquated.
posted by dreamsign at 1:21 PM on September 24, 2007


"our two iMac’s"

Bloody painful to read. Does he always write like that? Great story though, can't wait to see how it turns out.
posted by sidereal at 1:30 PM on September 24, 2007


Maybe the actual thief just uploaded a picture of someone else?
posted by solipsophistocracy at 1:54 PM on September 24, 2007




Devil's advocate:

Or it could be the completely ignorant buyer of that machine.

/Devil's advocate
posted by batmonkey at 2:19 PM on September 24, 2007


Wow, what an amazing photograph. I'm completely entranced by it, like that high-society couple was by "The Kramer."

The forlorn look on his face. The hint of shame and excitement. His slight baby-face features. The age inappropriate tattoos of an aging hipster. Specifically, the antiquated crappy HR Giger tattoo that was fashionable when he was 22. Its like I'm looking at the sum total of a life of bad decisions.

This is some high-brow powerful shit here.
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:23 PM on September 24, 2007 [7 favorites]


posted by damn dirty ape This is some high-brow powerful shit here.

Indeed. The look on his face suggests a combination of wonder and sadness. The thief marvels at his newest acquisition but knows he cannot fully take advantage of its technology since he does not fully understand it, and in a wonderfully ironic twist, he is unaware of his growing fame and the fate that awaits him due to his own ineptitude. The twinge of sadness we see is his subconcious acknowledgment of the fact his failure to understand that the technology he has stolen will itself lead to his arrest.

The antiquated tattoos of Death on his back suggest a fascination with the inevitable coupled with his own inability to control, see, or comprehend Death itself. To the thief, Death is an image he cannot see without a mirror, much like the images he has uploaded to his account, unaware that in so doing he has contributed to his own inevitable downfall, a fate to which everyone but he can see.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:41 PM on September 24, 2007 [9 favorites]


Indeed ... tis downright Shakespearean.
posted by R. Mutt at 2:53 PM on September 24, 2007


To me, the photo looks photo-shopped. The head looks odd on the body.

Either that, or the thief is just ugly.
posted by misha at 2:53 PM on September 24, 2007


Amidst all the smug superiority & quasi-vigilantism of the 101st Flying Keyboarders, I'd like to suggest that the person in the photo probably doesn't have all that much legal evidence pinning him to the crime, unless the grainy surveillance tape or other forensic evidence from the crime scene can somehow match up with him.

Legally speaking, the photos could be of anybody, and with all this internet attention - if he gets wind of it - all the thief need do (if he is the actual thief) is get rid of the machine.

Unless he is caught in possession of the stolen computer, there'd probably be enough reasonable doubt over who uploaded the photos to prevent a conviction.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:17 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


damn dirty ape & fandango_matt

Damn, when did this place turn into MetaPhil (m)....

http://www.metaphilm.com/
posted by jkaczor at 3:19 PM on September 24, 2007


Dad!
posted by LarryC at 3:24 PM on September 24, 2007


Why are so few questioning that that photo portraits the guy who uploaded it? Oh, right -- I forgot -- people never misrepresent themselves on the internet. You tend to forget that when you've been living in a space station long enough. You lose perspective I guess - mea culpa.
posted by JeNeSaisQuoi at 3:30 PM on September 24, 2007


the grainy surveillance tape or other forensic evidence from the crime scene can somehow match up with him.

Here's surveillance video footage posted by macewan at YouTube. Pray tell, why is it categorized as -- Category: Comedy?
posted by ericb at 3:50 PM on September 24, 2007


From the comments: "Did this guy theif your computer"

This story is just full of geniuses.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:52 PM on September 24, 2007


Pray tell, why is it categorized as -- Category: Comedy?

I sure as Hell hope that this isn't meant to be a viral meme, a "buzz" advert for WorkSpace, etc.
posted by ericb at 3:54 PM on September 24, 2007


As an afterthought, all this internet activity has done the victim a grave disservice, I think.

Assuming that the guy in the photo is one of the criminals, chances are he'd be relatively easily identifiable by the police, given the tattoos & assuming a prior criminal record (not unlikely, for an office break-and-enter). If this information were passed on to the police privately, they might have been able to track him down & catch him with goods-in-possession.

On the other hand, posting the story all over the internet just gives him a better chance of finding out that people are onto him, allowing him to get rid of the evidence, construct an alibi and/or go underground or flee the jurisdiction.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:31 PM on September 24, 2007


I sure as Hell hope that this isn't meant to be a viral meme, a "buzz" advert for WorkSpace, etc.

It's not. The computers were actually stolen. My guess: it's because YouTube's categories are a pretty limited set (I have to choose "Autos & Vehicles" when uploading videos of passing trains), and since it's funny that someone mistakenly uploaded a photo of themselves from a stolen computer, comedy is the best fit. I'm not speaking for anybody, I just happen to work across the street from WorkSpace and visit every so often for coffee.
posted by sillygwailo at 4:51 PM on September 24, 2007


The "surveillance video footage posted (to YouTube) by macewan" is what is categorized as being "comedy," not the original two photos posted by the alleged thief (to Flickr) . I'm on the side that this is all real ... but couldn't help but take pause that the "victim" would tag the video as "comedy."
posted by ericb at 4:57 PM on September 24, 2007


sillygwailo -- on second thought, I get your point. Yeah -- "macewan," WorkSpace and most of us do see this event as being comedic ("What a dumb asshole!"). Hence, I can understand why such is classified as being "comedy." "me" is by far the "sharpest knife in the drawer!"
posted by ericb at 5:01 PM on September 24, 2007


*is by far not the "sharpest knife in the drawer!"*
posted by ericb at 5:02 PM on September 24, 2007


couldn't help but take pause that the "victim" would tag the video as "comedy."

well, it's Revenge of the Nerds, no?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:03 PM on September 24, 2007


ericb writes "Got it, so he likely did indeed title the photo. What was he thinking then -- that he was posting the titled photo to a different photo set/stream?"

Or maybe he's setting up the guy sleeping with his wife.

solipsophistocracy writes "Maybe the actual thief just uploaded a picture of someone else?"

Glad to see I wasn't the only one to consider this.
posted by Mitheral at 5:04 PM on September 24, 2007


krinklyfig -

Not much useful, but here's the current SA chatter.

Yes, I'm a goon too.

(It's a RapidShare link. I'll update it after work. Sorry for the delay, but I had to work around things here...)
posted by Samizdata at 6:55 PM on September 24, 2007




Anonymous Ask MetaFilter: It's like I'm looking at the sum total of a life of bad decisions.

Much better.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:18 PM on September 24, 2007


fandango_matt, you were quoted, completely at face value, in the story that ran on the front page of the local paper today.
posted by jokeefe at 8:26 AM on September 25, 2007


OMFG
posted by fandango_matt at 10:38 AM on September 25, 2007


They got him!
posted by fandango_matt at 8:34 AM on September 26, 2007


The man also contacted Global BC on Tuesday, telling the station he did not know the computer was stolen and that he had bought it from a friend who had bought it from someone else.

See? It was a simple misunderstanding.
posted by R. Mutt at 9:03 AM on September 26, 2007


I knew it!

Now I can ask my obnoxious question:
I wonder how all those people who insulted his appearance compare, if a similar picture were taken of them?
posted by batmonkey at 1:48 PM on September 26, 2007


I knew it!

He had time to construct a story & engage a lawyer.

Can't wait to hear the full story. Let's guess: "I bought it off a guy I met in a bar, never seen him before or since. He told me that he also bought t off a guy he met in a bar, never seen him before or since..."
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:15 PM on September 26, 2007


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