Dodgy Keyboard Busts Crime Ring

Everyone would agree that it’s always a huge bummer when your laptop keyboard freezes up. But for police in Durban, South Africa, one laptop with a wayward keypad paved the way for a major crime sting.

Ari Danikas, a computer repair center owner, smelled a rat when a Congolese man brought a laptop in his shop for keyboard repair.

Trusting his instinct, Danikas carefully sifted through over a thousand photographs stored on the hard drive, eventually discovering not only the laptop’s rightful owner, Dr. Frank Schneider, a German exchange student, but some of the extensive work Schneider, a student physician at the King Edward VIII Hospital, had saved.

Danikas notified police, who then arrested the Congolese man when he returned to pick up the stolen laptop. Detectives also kept a trained eye on the Congolese man’s associate, a Nigerian owner of a cell phone shop in Durban’s Point area.

The very next day, police closed in on the Nigerian, who was holding more than 250 cell phones, and jewelry – all suspected of being stolen – and made yet another arrest.

It turned out Schneider had been robbed of the laptop in March while at a friend’s home, and the thieves also took off with the homeowner’s cell phone and camera, among other personal property.

Looks like another nomination is in for the “Stupid Thief of the Year” award.

Source –

By Catherine Van Herrin

Friday, 20 May, 2005