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Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Wired: Macs in Damascus, Hasan the local 'Mac Guru'

Wired.com's story, The Mac Guru of Damascus in the Case of the Missing Laptops, is about Eric Umansky's experience losing his MacBook and his fiancée's MBP in Syria to a break in.
Before my fiancée and I headed to Syria to study Arabic, we often heard there was one advantage to living in a police state: almost no crime. So it came as a surprise when Sara and I returned to our Damascus apartment one night after a dinner party to find splintered wood in the hallway — wood that had once been part of our front door. I made a beeline for the living room to check on our most valuable possessions: my MacBook and Sara's MacBook Pro. Both gone.

Eric, the author who wrote his story on his recovered laptop, is a contributing writer for various publications and a columnist for Slate. He wrote that it wasn't the authorities who eventually led him to the thief almost two days after the crime, but a contact to an unlikely fellow: a local Mac technician.

A friend had put us in touch with Bassel Al Hassan, apparently the one guy in Damascus who services Macs. A few days later we shared a meal with Hassan, a soft-spoken man in his mid-thirties. "Yours were the seventh and eighth stolen Macs I've recovered," he said.

Eric said Al Hasan called up computer shops in town not telling the shop owners about the stolen Macs. When one of the shop owners confirmed having two units in his possession which he paid $200 for, Hasan informed the owner that the computers were hot items. The shop owner then met up with Eric and his fiancée at a street corner in our neighborhood.

Meanwhile, Eric wrote that all Bassel Al Hasan wanted in exchange for helping them recover the Macs was permission to 'friend' Eric on Facebook.>/p> Whole story here.