Kansas City libraries trace stolen laptops with program

Sunday, June 7, 2009

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Public Library system isn't giving up on stolen laptop computers easily.

The libraries are using the tracing program Computrace to find the computers once the thief connects to the Internet.

The library works with Kansas City police and the software company to track the stolen laptops. The software company pays $1,000 if they can't find a laptop.

The Kansas City libraries loan out 60 laptops to the public. The library bought its first batch of laptops in 2005 and added the tracing software about 1 1/2 years ago, said Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner, deputy executive director for operations.

She said some laptops taken from the library are just by accident and usually a phone call to the patron is enough to get them back.

In one case, police traced a stolen laptop to a library employee's home and found out the woman also stole four others.

"We were able to recover them pretty easily," Kositany-Buckner said. The employee has since been charged in Jackson County Circuit Court with felony theft and no longer works for the library.

The woman told detectives she pawned one computer and gave one to a friend, one to her brother and one to her mother in St. Louis.

The Kansas City, Kan., school district uses the same software and has recovered 28 stolen computers in its high school laptop program.

The school district reported 123 stolen laptops to the company since enlisting its services last year, said Joe Fives, director of technology and information services.

Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com

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