Follow by Email

Saturday, March 19, 2011


By JC Leahy

DC Police have thus far failed to file charges in the Keystone Cops case.  The Keystone Cops case involved the theft of property from a physician's office at the Veterans Administration Medical Center on Irving Street, NW.  Among the stolen items was the physician's laptop computer.  The laptop was equipped with Lojack for Laptops.  Impressively, Lojack not only located the computer, but located it on the same afternoon of the theft and also identified the user by email and Facebook account data and physical address.  Nevertheless,  the seemingly reluctant DC police took 30 days to act on that information and recover the computer.  By that late date, the computer was with a different person at a different address and had been separated from the other property stolen with it.

"The thing is," said victim Matthew Steehler, "If someone breaks into your house and steals everything including your laptop, you can probably find everything if you can find the laptop quickly."   Quick police action is vital.

The police finally recovered the computer on February 25,  immediately after the Journal published a story titled "Lojack vs. Keystone Cops."  DC City Council member Harry Thomas read the article and began making inquiries.

"I am convinced that the Journal of American Ideas Today article prompted action on this case," said victim Matthew Steehler today.  "If it were not for the Journal article, DC Police might have recovered the computer eventually, but it would have taken much longer.  After the Journal  article, they  went right into 'attack' mode and just recovered it!   My understanding is that the Police contacted the person at his workplace and got him to hand it over." 

Commander Hickson, Chief of Detectives for DC, who was placed in charge of the investigation immediately after Councilmember Thomas' inquiries, did not respond to a request for updated information. 

According to the victim, however, the police have consulted a prosecutor or magistrate and do not believe they have sufficient evidence to charge the end-recipient of the stolen laptop.  In that instance, the crime would have been receipt of stolen property. 

As for the actual felony theft, the investigation is ongoing but doubtful, according to Dr. Steehler. 

"What I have been told is that the first person to check her e-mail with the stolen laptop [on the afternoon of the theft] was someone by the name of Alicia (sp?) Cunningham.  I am told she has  a prior record.  I'm told that during that computer session, she was on the internet using the stolen computer for a significant time.  But checking your e-mail doesn't necessarily prove that you stole the computer.  I don't think they can really prove that she stole it without seeing the  surveillance videos of the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center police --- and I've kinda' given up on ever seeing those videos," said Dr. Steehler.

"The good news is that I've managed to restore and reconstruct all of my data files on the computer.  The bad guys had deleted all my files, but that only deletes them from Windows.  The deleted files are still on the physical hard disk until  they are overwritten by some other file.  I thought that the Windows "restore" utilities would do the trick, but they only restored my system settings.  That was a big disappointment!!   But I found a software package called Recover My Files.  It worked wonderfully!!   The only thing is that I  had to recover my files to a new and  different hard disk.  You see, if you recover a deleted file and write it to the same hard disk, you may be writing in the space that contains another deleted file you want ot recover.  So I recovered all my pictures and research data and everything else to a new hard disk.  It's all there!!  That software is amazing!!"

Dr Steehler said that an internal DC Police review has been initiated to see how the Police could have done a better job.  Council Member Harry Thomas declared today that, "We will continue to look into this matter"  of the Keystone Cops of Washington, DC.

1 comment:

Claudia said...

Finally! Well, I'm glad to see he got his computer back. I am glad the DC Police are investigating how they could have handled the case better. I hope this initiates changes in the DC Police Department!