California police recovered a stolen laptop after a software programme sent its owner the suspect's location and photograph taken on the Mac's camera.

Joshua Kaufman, an Oakland interaction designer, reported the theft in March.

But police only acted on Tuesday after Mr Kaufman's blog on the theft attracted news media attention.

Cab driver Muthanna Aldebashi, 27, was charged with felony possession of stolen property. A police spokesman said an initial reported was misfiled.

"I'm excited I was able to get it back," Mr Kaufman told the BBC, "very happy and relieved that I don't have to sit and watch someone else use my old computer."

On 21 March, during the day when Mr Kaufman was not at home in his Oakland flat, a thief broke into the apartment through a window.

'Hidden' software

Mr Kaufman immediately reported the crime to Oakland police and the officer who took the report noted he said he had tracking software installed, Officer Holly Joshi told the BBC.

The software, called Hidden, supplies to the owner the computer's location, photographs taken on the Mac's internal camera and shots of the Mac's screen display.
A man identified as Muthanna Aldebashi Mr Aldebashi was identified after Mr Kaufman provided photos like this one to Oakland police

The programme immediately began sending Mr Kaufman photographs of a bearded man with shaggy dark hair sleeping on a couch, sitting shirtless on a bed in front of the computer, and driving.

"It wasn't really that interesting," he said. "Most of the photos were pretty boring - just some guy staring into a screen or sleeping or watching Youtube videos on his bed."

The software also send Mr Kaufman a screen shot showing the man logging into his own e-mail account - information investigators later used to lure him into an arrest.

Mr Kaufman says he handed the evidence to Oakland investigators but did not get a response. Meanwhile, he began blogging about the theft on a site called thisguyhasmymacbook.

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I thought this story quite amusing.