This reminds of the story in Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody, when a woman called Ivana left her cell phone in a taxi. Thinking it lost for good, Ivana was surprised when a friend, Evan discovered the girl who had found the phone was using it as her own. They contacted the girl and asked her to return it. But the girl told them to go to hell. So Evan started a webpage called StolenSideKick, and blogged about the phone and the girls actions. As Shirky pointed out in his book:
“Everyone who has ever lost something feels a diffuse sense of anger at whoever found and kept it.”
And this “diffuse sense of anger” makes people behave in different ways.
When Joshua Kaufman had his MacBook stolen, he responded by taking direct action to get it back. He set up a tumblr page This Guy Has My MacBook and started posting photos from a hidden device contained in his Mac. It takes pictures of the person who allegedly has it:
On March 21, 2011, my MacBook was stolen from my apartment in Oakland, CA. I reported the crime to the police and even told them where it was, but they can’t help me due to lack of resources. I’m currently in the process of contacting the mayor’s office. Meanwhile, I’m using the awesome app, Hidden, to capture these photos of this guy who has my MacBook.