“I sorely need the drives back, they are my backups”

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No lectures please, please just keep your eyes peeled if you live/work nearby. Thanks. Contact jaxphoto(at)gmail.com with any info.

“Dear PoPville,

Around 9am this morning someone smashed my front passenger window on 7th St NW between Randolph and New Hampshire and grabbed a backpack off the front seat. I was only away from the car for about 1 minute so I think the person was on a skateboard or maybe a bicycle? Or a fast runner Bc I saw no one when I came back out.

Several key items were in the bag that I desperately need to have found:
MacBook Pro 13″ retina laptop, Serial number: C02NG69WG3QJ
2 external hard drives (desperate to find these drives)
2 mifi units
Passport
Insurance card

The backpack looks like the attached photo, with a White House patch on it, and one of the drives is labeled like the second photo only it says “2016” instead of 2015. Third photo is similar to the second drive that was in the bag only that one is labeled as “Ghana 2015 A” I believe. It’s a 1 terabyte seagate.

Fourth photo has a strip identifying the drives with my email and phone number. I’m not sure if the two drives that were stolen had that on it or not.

I sorely need the drives back, they are my backups which I normally store inside safely. They have files of photographs that don’t exist anywhere else from my job as a photojournalist for the Associated Press and personal photo files as well. If anyone finds them, in whatever condition, please contact me. No questions asked.

Inside is also a MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Mid 2014) with a purple cover. There is a round sticker that says “AP” on the front along with Velcro strips.

There are Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz stickers from when I covered their campaigns on the back.

I also had two mifi units to connect to the Internet in the bag, and a passport of me valid for four years, along with some cash and a discover card (which I’ve canceled)

It was only in the car for less than a minute in broad daylight. I’ve done a police report but need your help to get back my files, please help!

Contact jaxphoto(at)gmail.com with any info.”

51 Comment

  • I am a little curious as to why people use portable hard drives anymore? I mean, with all the free cloud services out there (OneDrive gives you 5GB, GoogleDrive gives you 15 and you can store and edit documents while they are on the cloud.

    I understand that some people may “need” access to items for their field of employment whose file size would make a free cloud service unusable, but for the 99.99% of the rest of us, it seems like a no brainer.

    I also had my work laptop stolen 2 years ago but because all my work documents live in the cloud, I didn’t lose a thing.

    • Well it sounds like this guy is a photo journalist for the AP and part of the 0.01% that needs larger backup capability.

      • Yeah, ok but pricing with any of the big ~4 cloud services is like 8 bucks a month for 1TB of storage, and even as an architect who uses enormous cad and bim files, 1TB is like 5 years of work product for me.

        Just seems like a no brainer

        • Uploading gigs of photos to the cloud via a mobile connection isn’t remotely feasible, assuming you have a connection to begin with. We’re not talking cat selfies here…

          • Yeah, someone hasn’t tried out the mobile data services in Ghana lately. Seriously, photojournalist for AP clears up why he needs hardware!

        • A lot of people have cloud computing crashes. Hard drives are more durable/reliable than they used to be. Perhaps OP should use both or have an extra layer of backup, but frankly, they are not being careless or necessarily luddite-ish.

        • For reference, each photo is at least 20mb. At 14 photos per second, that adds up very, very quickly.

          • justinbc

            Seriously. I thought I had enough storage space until I started shooting in RAW mode. LOL @ switching from hard drives to solely cloud storage. Flickr is a nice supplement since it has unlimited storage space for $24 / year, but even that is just a backup to the backup.

      • +1. This really sucks for OP. (Sorry, OP!) It sounds like they may have all been work items.

    • File size. Privacy concerns. Access to data when not online. Speed. There are plenty of reasons why someone might use portable hard drives instead of the cloud. However, you either need to treat them as if they’re made of diamonds or you need to always keep a backup in a separate location.

    • How about save this line of questioning for another time. It’s not really relevant to this guy trying to find his stolen items.

      • +1

        Either you can help the guy out or not. All your other questions/opinions are mute at this point.

        • Actually, knowing nothing about any of this stuff, I’m finding the discussion very informative. That is a blog, right – exchange of information & ideas? (Hopefully the OP has friends to commiserate with.) It is entirely possible for reasonable people to have compassion for this guy’s loss and still appreciate advice.

          • Fair enough. But for whatever reason, the editorial comment at the top of this post says “no lectures.” Some might interpret questioning the victim’s preferred choice of storage media and stating that the problem would have been avoided had different storage been used as being a bit of a lecture.

          • Some people here always interpret questioning as criticism and honest disagreement as “hating.” Nothing one can do but hope they keep reading, considering and hopefully expand their – (horizons? spheres? Understanding? – I’m struggling to think of a non-offensive word here!)

          • anonymous — it says “no lectures” because people like to post crap blaming OPs for having things stolen, which is not at all productive in this forum. I notice PoP has been pretty good at moderating this (thanks, PoP!)

      • What’s the appropriate time for these questions? I think they are fine. It’s not like people would be out looking in garbage cans for this stuff if they weren’t inside posting on PoP.

    • What do you do when someone hacks OneDrive for fun and erases all of your data? It will happen at some point.

      • Well, let me know when that happens, then I will worry about it. Considering the chances are 1 in 1,978,334,987,639,864,495 in my lifetime, I am not sweating it.

        Then again, the chances of losing a external hard drive, getting it stolen, it breaking are all significantly greater.

        • Microsoft does reserve the right to scan your files for ‘objectionable content’ (as does Apple iCloud) which could lead to deletion of the data and your account.

          External hard drive: no one else is looking at your data.

          Nothing against the cloud: I use Dropbox like it owes me money. But to suggest that an external hard drive is somehow more likely to be a problem than cloud storage is silly.

        • Interesting statistics @Kevin 3:00pm, sounds like you’re information is totally credible and fact-based so I’m not going to ‘sweat it’ either. I know this hacking thing never happens to larger companies and I will rest assured my data is totally safe….off to play the lottery!

    • Most cloud services downgrade the quality of photographs, something a professional cannot afford.

    • west_egg

      The ideal situation for most people is to have two backups — one local (i.e., a copy of your data on an external hard drive) and one offsite/in the cloud. Services like CrashPlan will manage both simultaneously. Having a local copy makes restoring much less painful; the cloud backup is your insurance against a house fire.

  • “The backpack looks like the attached photo, with a White House patch on it…”

    Is a photo missing?

  • I’m glad you explained why you had both Cruz and Sanders stickers, otherwise I’d have worried for you.
    .
    Hope you get your stuff back – I lost a bunch of personal photos (due to my own stupidity, not crime) earlier this year, and I was crushed. I can’t imagine losing all of this.

  • So sorry to hear this.
    .
    You might try looking in nearby alleys for any items the thief might have abandoned. I suspect the laptop is a lost cause, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the thief ditched the passport.

  • this hurts my heart. best of luck with recovery.

  • I live very close, I’ll keep a look out.

  • Any cameras on poles or onsite on any houses caught this possibly?
    FWIW, I have seen young males looking into cars that are parked they themselves looking very very up to no good. Rule of Thumb NEVER, Ever leave anything of value, no bag or backpack inside your vehicle and double check locks when you leave, anywhere.

    • +1 I was going to say the same thing about cameras.

      This might be helpful….
      Best bet would be to knock on neighbors doors that have a view of where your car was parked. A lot of people have security cameras for package theft purposes. I know DC even instituted a tax rebate program for in need areas if people bought home cameras or something like that.
      Obviously look around first, but you might not spot every camera. If your neighbors have one, you can ask them to send you the footage on that date.
      I would recommend going through the whole day because odds are these kids scouted the area prior to breaking in (from what other people have said).
      I get it might not a perfect picture but if you get something you can circulate throughout the neighborhood, give it to the cops to circulate, offer a reward for any info that gets your stuff back, etc….
      Good luck.

  • OP, I’m sure you know this already but the Find My iPhone feature also works for Macbooks: To get started, go to the iCloud website and log in with your Apple ID. After clicking on the “Find My iPhone” icon, you should see a map interface and a dropdown menu on the top. Use that menu to choose your missing Macbook. If your Mac is turned on and has an active internet connection, it should show up

    • PDleftMtP

      Thank you for actually attempting to be helpful.

        • OP here. Thank you for the helpful reply.

          Unfortunately “find my Mac” will only work if the thief turns on the computer, cracks the password, and gets online like you said, so I’m hoping that will happens but so far no luck. (Tech gurus correct me if I’m wrong).

          I’ve checked a ton of garbage cans and alleys unfortunately there are so many and I can’t canvass them all so appreciate as many folks keeping an eye out as possible.

          To answer some of the thread above (Bc why not) cloud storage doesn’t make sense when you shoot hundreds of thousands of raw files a year.

          I do backup but needed to work on both drives that day so had them both with me. Just horrible timing.

          I’ve posted on Petworth parents, is there another list Serv that might be helpful?

          PoP if you can post the photo I sent you of the backpack that would be great.

          Appreciate the kind words of some posters. Of course you should be smart in the city and never leave anything out. But you should also be able to run inside your home for literally one minute and not return to a broken window. I really love my neighborhood so this makes me so sad.

          Thanks again. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like the police really take these cases too seriously. My neighbors seem to think there has been an uptick in car breakins lately so it’s too bad that more isn’t being done.

  • Is there anything we can do that might help future break ins? I have called on more than 1 occasion when I witnessed kids obviously casing cars walking in the middle of the street and get a less than enthusiastic response. I know it is probably hard to prosecute but these punk a$$’s are the ones that do this!

    • Who is giving you the less-than-enthusiastic response — is it the 911 dispatcher (from OUC — the Office of Unified Communications)?
      .
      Try complaining to the MPD commander for your police district that you’re trying to help MPD by reporting crime, but that you’re concerned that OUC might not be relaying your reports to MPD with the proper urgency.

      • Yes, 911. They try and make me feel bad for calling questioning my motives, etc… I imagine that the lack of MPD response is probably a direct result of no dispatch or a non-urgent request

        • That’s a bummer. Were they asking you what made you think the kids were casing the cars??
          .
          There seems to be a wide range of quality/helpfulness among OUC dispatchers. I suppose one possibility if you don’t think the dispatcher is taking you seriously would be to end the call, dial 911 again, and hope you get another dispatcher?
          .
          I think the dispatchers usually provide their dispatcher number ID-thing at the beginning of the call — might be good to have paper/pen handy to make a note of it so that you can complain about a specific dispatcher if necessary.

      • Not the same but I reported two kids darting out of CVS one day with stolen merchandise. While I was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher they got on a bus. The dispatcher was very systematic in taking down all their details (including exactly what bus number they boarded — not the line number but the actual bus itself and at what stop). Who knows if any follow-up action was taken but it would be great if every call for possible break-ins/theft could be like this.

    • Yes. Of course call 911, but also consider that most smash & grab guys are just opportunistic (and possibly redeemable) punks. (The violent ones are roaming in packs or have guns.) I have often just gone outside and stood on my stoop clearing watching them, or outright confronted them. Totally a judgement call, since you don’t want them pissed off and coming back to break out all your windows – but it is a possible option.

  • Sorry AP guy. Maybe check craigslist for these items? I’m not sure where a thief would go to unload those kinds of external hard drives. I agree that you might find some of these items if you look in the area alleys and trash cans.

  • Jax- so sorry that you have lost such valuable items.
    Do the pawn shops on GA Ave accept items with no id’s?

  • I really hope you get your drives and everything back. I hate that someone took it upon themselves to break into your car and steal what is yours. Terrible.

  • Really sorry this happened to you, OP. I hope you recover the items.

  • OP here. Thank you for the helpful reply.
    Unfortunately “find my Mac” will only work if the thief turns on the computer, cracks the password, and gets online like you said, so I’m hoping that will happens but so far no luck. (Tech gurus correct me if I’m wrong).
    I’ve checked a ton of garbage cans and alleys unfortunately there are so many and I can’t canvass them all so appreciate as many folks keeping an eye out as possible.
    To answer some of the thread above (Bc why not) cloud storage doesn’t make sense when you shoot hundreds of thousands of raw files a year.
    I do backup but needed to work on both drives that day so had them both with me. Just horrible timing.
    I’ve posted on Petworth parents, is there another list Serv that might be helpful?
    PoP if you can post the photo I sent you of the backpack that would be great.
    Appreciate the kind words of some posters. Of course you should be smart in the city and never leave anything out. But you should also be able to run inside your home for literally one minute and not return to a broken window. I really love my neighborhood so this makes me so sad.
    Thanks again. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like the police really take these cases too seriously. My neighbors seem to think there has been an uptick in car breakins lately so it’s too bad that more isn’t being done.

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