Los Angeles: Detectives have arrested Abimael Garcia, 29, for knowingly buying a stolen MacBook computer from a man known only as “Pelon.” A camera and tracking system built into the computer led police to Garcia at his home in the Pico Union area.
“We want everyone to know, if you buy a $1,500 computer from a guy on the street for $150, it’s probably stolen,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Central Detective Division. “And now, that computer may rat you out.”
That’s what happened after a USC college student’s computer was taken from her friend’s car on October 22, 2011, after they parked the car near the Fashion District. The 21-year-old woman came to the police station with screen shots of Garcia using the computer. She explained that she had installed tracking software on her computer, which records the user’s likeness and the computer’s location once the tracking program is activated by the owner.
Garcia explained that he met “Pelon” while working as a valet one night near 5th Street and Broadway. The man offered to sell the computer for a good price, but Garcia realized it was probably stolen.
The public should know three things: (1) the top things stolen from cars are electronic items like computers, GPS devices, IPods, cameras; (2) knowingly buying stolen items is a crime and (3) it’s important to lock your car and remove all items from the passenger compartment.
Detectives are urging that those who consider buying someone else’s stolen computer should consider how violated that victim felt when she saw her car broken into and property gone. By refusing to buy and reporting anyone who attempts to sell stolen goods, residents help insure that others won’t be a party to someone else’s misery or a drug addict’s habit.
Anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Online tips may be placed at www.LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.