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Boston Man Tracks Down Stolen Laptop, Helps Teen Found Using It

By Christina Hager, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Christina Hager Christina Hager
Award-winning reporter Christina Hager works as a general assignmen...
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BOSTON (CBS) – A Boston computer graphics designer is turning his own hard luck into someone else’s good luck.

It began when someone broke into Fran Harrington’s Jamaica Plain apartment and stole his Macbook Pro. It was the third computer he’s had stolen. But what the thief didn’t know, is that this time Harrington had installed security software that allows him to spy on people using his computer.

Sure enough, he could see a teenager browsing cartoons on it. “I watched for about four days. I was giving information to police, and the whole time he didn’t know this was going on at all, that I could see what he was doing.”

The software even provides a map with a rough location of where the computer is. Police finally tracked it down in the South End’s Cathedral Public Housing Complex. “I found out it was bought by a family living in the projects, and that they had no idea they were buying a stolen computer,” he says.

The family told police they bought it for their son who was headed to college. “I went from a high to a low pretty quickly,” he says. “I felt bad for the family.”

Harrington turned back to his computer, to a site that raises money for worthy causes. To his surprise, his online friends donated a total of $900.00 in three days. He’s using the money to buy a new computer to give to the family who had his stolen computer. “I just felt that I should help them out,” he says.

With that, anger turns to generosity. Make no mistake though, Harrington still hopes the real thief will get caught.

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