Robbed in Riyadh – Laptop Owners Victims of Black Market Thieves

The black market lives in every major city in the world — certainly a sad commentary on society. Add to that the recent victims in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, who have been robbed of their laptops — in broad daylight, even on weekends and after morning prayers — some right out of their own hands.

The perpetrators are a gang of four large, strong men dressed in traditional Arab dress, who prey on people at times and places in which they feel safest. One man reported a notebook being slung off his shoulder and into the hands of these thieves — while he was simply getting into his car one afternoon.

Another man locked his laptop in the trunk of his car while shopping, only to find it A.W.O.L when he returned — the trunk had been jimmied open, and the notebook, containing all of his unbacked-up data, was gone.

Police and other informants say this gang (and likely, a few copycat others arising in the city) then sell the laptops for a good deal of green — much more than they can get for mobile phones — on the “no questions asked” black market.

This story illustrates the need for laptop owners all over the world, to take steps to safeguard their precious notebooks and data. Cable locks, motion detectors and installing tracking software are just a few laptop security options available right now.

If you’re sitting in a coffee shop, chewing on a doughnut, and sipping an expresso while surfing the web, look over your shoulder. There could be a thief greedily eyeing up your shiny new Dell XPS2, Fujitsu N3500, or Ferrari 3400 right now.

Anyway these Saudi laptop lifters may not be prowling the sun-filled streets so brazenly for long, thanks to a powerful M.O. provided by both the victims, and the Arab police.

This kind of “theft confidence” invariably means the thieves will be caught soon — but by then it will be too late for many already suffering from 40GB worth of pain.

By Catherine Van Herrin

Saturday, March 12, 2005