When Boston computer graphics designer Fran Harrington discovered that his MacBook Pro had been stolen from his Jamaica Plain apartment, he logged into the security software installed on it and started spying on the laptop's new user.
It was Harrington's third stolen computer. This time, he would track down the thief.
Harrington could view a teenager watching cartoons on his computer.
"I watched for about four days. I was giving information to police, and the whole time he didn't know this was going on at all, that I could see what he was doing," Harrington told CBS Boston.
The security software included a GPS-like feature that helped police locate the computer. They found it in Boston's South End's Cathedral Public Housing Complex.
"Computer: Recovered," Harrington tweeted.
The computer had been purchased by a low-income family for their son who was heading to college — "and they had no idea they were buying a stolen computer," Harrington added, admitting that the high of chasing a thief quickly turned into a low.
"I felt bad for the family."
Harrington decided to help out the family and asked friends online to help him raise enough money to purchase the family a new computer. In three days, he raised more than $900.
"I just felt that I should help them out," he told CBS Boston.
Harrington still hopes the thief will get caught.