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Sunday, 17 June 2007


Manila, Philippines.

IT IS TRUE: EVEN NOONTIME GAME SHOWS have been giving away notebook PC computers to contestants by asking (almost) very elementary questions. And, why not? Haven't computers leveled the field for the haves and will-haves for decades already? Everyone deserves a digital life.

Computers of all sizes have created a virtual life of freedom. On the other hand, it may also have encouraged a different kind of freedom for other members of society, that is, the freedom to take someone else's property. Well, it is not as if stealing is a recent phenomenon. From petty theft to big-time plunder, they do come in all shapes and sizes.

With the dropping of prices of notebook computers happening at every mall and distributors' shops, not to mention the boost in purchasing power of the average consumers, come the unpleasant realization that some of our movements may have to be curtailed.

It is alarming that the spate of laptop theft happening around the Metro have occurred quite regularly, mostly in public spaces as guarded parking areas and popular caf├ęs. Coincidentally — though this is not to condemn legitimate businesses — so have the sprouting of laptop pawnshops (some with signage screaming: LAPTOP PAWNSHOP).

It seems that our low-tech elements have gone hi-tech. These low-lifes have graduated from snatching cellphones to stealing laptops for obvious reasons (in the same token, so have pawnshops and other shady trading posts). It is not identity theft or credit card fraudulence that makes it to the top of the list of technology-related crimes in this country, but low-tech means like smashing a car window or unlocking a car door with wires to steal notebook computers and other gadgets, that do (the thieves do not seem to care as much for the cars, leaving them behind). Apparently, surveillance cameras won’t help either: if not smashed or vandalized, maybe they are set-up only as props.

A laptop is an investment, whether bought brand new or second-hand. It is used by many law-abiding, tax-paying citizens to make an honest living. On the side, it may function as a toy, a journal of personal milestones, a communication device, but it is primarily a tool for work by many. What right have you, varmint, to take that away?

So, here it is, a lonely site that may serve like a roll call or a memorial list of the serial numbers of stolen Apple computers and gadgets from Manila and elsewhere, culled from popular forums and posted notices on the internet. (I’m pretty sure there as are many lost PC notebooks out there.)

Since Apple Inc. itself does not have a database of stolen items in its site, and Manila without an official Apple office to receive complaints (except for very reliable certified service centers) this site aims to make public the serial numbers of items for fair public warning. Let's just say the we have developed intolerance for taking someone's life, because in many cases that's just what it is.

Is yours on the list?

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