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Thieves Caught by Stolen Laptop

Posted by shadmia on May 21, 2008

The budding criminal careers of Edmon Shahikian, 23, of 13 Cobbling Rock Road, Katonah, and Ian Frias, 20, of 1609 E. 174th St., the Bronx, were cut short by a program on one of the laptop computers they stole. Shahikian and Frias are charged with second-degree burglary and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, both felonies. In a separate incident, the pair were also arrested last year on felony charges of criminal possession of marijuana.

When Kait Duplaga returned home with her two roommates on April 27 at about 10pm, they discovered that their Ridgeview Avenue apartment had been burglarized. Among the items stolen were: Two laptop computers, two flat-screen televisions, two iPods, gaming consoles, DVDs, computer games, a box of liquor and a set of car rims. One of the stolen laptops was a Macintosh belonging to Kait, who works at the Apple store in the Westchester mall. One of the programs installed on her computer was “Back to My Mac”, which allows users to access their laptops from remote locations.

Shortly after the burglary one of Kait’s friends contacted her and congratulated her on the recovery of her stolen computer. Kait told her: ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ and her friend said, ‘Well, you popped up as being online.’

After hearing this Kait Duplaga immediately signed on to another Macintosh computer and, using the “Back to My Mac” feature was able to gain access to her missing laptop remotely. She could see that the person who had her computer was doing some online shopping. Then it occurred to her that she could activate a camera on her laptop and watch the thief live. At first all she saw was an empty room but eventually a man came and sat down. Using the same program Kait was able to get the computer to take a picture.

“When you take a picture with that computer, it shows a countdown, and when it does, this guy figures out what’s going on. It all clicks for him, and he puts his hand up to cover the lens, but it was too late. The picture had already been taken.”

When Kait showed the picture of the thief to one of her roommates, the roommate replied: “Oh, I know exactly who that is — it’s Ian,” referring to Ian Frias. Ian Frias and Edmon Shahikian had been among the guests at a party at the apartment weeks before, and were friends of friends of the victims. Kait was able to find a picture of Shahikian on the computer. She took the pictures to the police who were able to arrest the two men. Virtually all of the property stolen from the apartment, valued at more than $5,000, was recovered at the two men’s homes.

Edmon Shahikian was released on $3,500 bail, while Ian Frias was freed on $7,500 bail. At their arraignments both men were warned by City Judge Barbara Leak, who signed an order of protection, not to contact the victims. After making bail, Frias called Kait Duplaga who reported the incident to the police. He was again arrested and charged with criminal contempt, a misdemeanor, police said.

In court Judge Leak sent Frias back to jail on $3,500 bail on the new charge, telling his lawyer, Judith Berger, “I told your client no phone calling, e-mailing or text-messaging. Within seven days, a call was made. That’s not acceptable.”

Frias and Shahikian also are due in Yonkers City Court on June 9 in a marijuana case. They were arrested last year after 3 pounds of pot was found in the Jeep they were in, Yonkers police said. Both were charged with a felony count of marijuana possession. Frias accepted a plea bargain and is to be sentenced on a misdemeanor possession charge; the felony charge against Shahikian is still pending.

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