What was the worse offense: Stealing someone else's laptop computer or being such a god-awful dancer?
One and a half months ago, somebody walked off with Mark Bao's MacBook Air, which had been left unattended in a Bentley University lounge. Normally, this episode would have been entirely unremarkable except for a victim understandably frustrated, angry - and out-of-pocket to the tune of $1,000-plus. But Bao wasn't your typical 18-year-old freshman. He knew his way around a keyboard - and then some.
He had taken the precaution of installing online backup software (called BackBlaze) on the computer and that now allowed him to gain entry into the purloined machine's browser history as well as to view its hard drive where he could track any updates. "It was still backing up files when I logged in on Sunday," he said in an email to CBSNews.com.
The person absconding with Bao's computer almost immediately used it take a self photograph. "Wow. The first thing that MacBook thieves do REALLY IS take pictures on Photo Booth. I didn't think they were that dumb!" Bao wrote in a tweet.
That wasn't all.
"From the files on the computer and some legwork, I was able to track down who (the thief) was, his Facebook page, his email, and the (now) infamous videos," Bao noted.
Ah yes, that gem of a YouTube video with someone "dancing" to Tyga's "Make it Rain." Bao found the video hilarious. So hilarious, in fact, that he just had to share. After the video got uploaded to YouTube, it became a sensation (at last look, tallying over 700,000 views.) That's not the kind of publicity anybody would want and naturally enough, it led to a direct Facebook appeal asking for mercy from any further cyber-humiliation. The note read:
The person in the video has since returned the computer to campus police and admitted that he took it, according to university spokeswoman Michelle Walsh. She said Bentley was considering pressing trespassing and larceny charges but that no decision had yet been taken. The university is still discussing the matter with the Middlesex County District Attorney's office.
As for Bao, he has since bought a replacement laptop and plans to sell the old machine and then donate the proceeds to Japan relief. For the moment, he's undecided whether to take down the video or leave it up for posterity (though keeping it up there may qualify as cruel and unusual punishment in this case.)