Police Can’t Return Stolen iMac

With technology advancements occurring every day, it is no shock that the legal realm is having difficulty keeping up. There are many instances where the legal system is just not able to help a victim of technology related crimes; such is the case for Mohamed Tahar.

Mohamed Tahar resides in Montreal and lives in an apartment building with his family. Due to a small fire, all residents of the apartment were asked to evacuate the premises. Tahar was put into a hotel with his family. Upon returning home, Tahar found that his apartment had been broken in to. The burglar had taken his wife’s gold jewelry and his Mac computer along with numerous computer accessories.

Naturally, being the technological wizard he is, Tahar decided to track down his Mac via remote computer tracking tools specifically through iCloud’s Find My Mac tool. He then chose to remotely lock his computer and ask the thief to return his belongings. However, his attempt was futile.

Tahar then chose to approach the police with this his concerns in hopes that they could return his computer and other belongings to him after he had pinpointed the apartment building where his belongings were. Tahar faced a predicament when the officers advised him that their hands were tied.

You might wondering, how can someone do all the work involved in tracking a burglar and then be told that they are out of luck?

Canadian LawEvery_Canadian_Needs_A_Copy

Although Tahar was able to pinpoint the apartment building in which the burglar had supposedly stored his stolen items, iCloud did not specify the apartment number the burglar resided in or an IP address.

Why couldn’t the police officers just go into every apartment and search for the items? Simple, because it would violate an individual’s Charter rights to be protected against illegal search.

Why didn’t the police just get a warrant to search the apartments? In order to get a warrant, the police would require a judge’s approval for a warrant to inspect every apartment in the building. A judge would not grant a warrant that would result in countless innocent individuals having their homes searched. Also, the judge would need proof that the burglar resides in the specified apartment building.

What’s the issue there? Assuming the iMac and jewelry are found in one of the apartments, it does not establish proof that the individual in possession of the iMac is in fact the burglar as it possible that the possessor merely unknowingly bought the iMac from the burglar.

Where does this leave Tahar?

Tahar is hoping to obtain his belongings at some point. His wife’s jewelry has significant sentimental value and he wishes for it to be returned. He continues to check pawn shops, hoping that he might come across it.

Although the legal realm is having trouble staying up with technological advancements, citizens should continue to bring their findings and information regarding legal issues to the police. Information helps the authorities assess how to proceed and build a case.

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Points of discussion:

1. If you lived in the apartment would you be willing to have the police search your home?

2. Were you surprised by any of the information shared?