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March 10, 2010 17:24:55 | in art, culture, lifestyle

Wanted: Who stole my laptop at Starbucks yesterday morning?

By Carsten Korch

Yesterday morning my bag with my laptop was stolen at my favorite Starbucks Café here in Lima. It is very irritating and a terrible loss: information, pictures, videos and more are now gone and irreplaceable. Fortunately, I had a backup that wasn’t too old, so once I get myself a new laptop, I’ll be able to reestablish most my business and life.

This all happened within 45-60 seconds, so be aware and look well after your things and don’t trust anybody, no matter how good looking and reliable the may appear.

Even before reporting this incident to the police, I became a “private detective” and started investigating the matter on my own. I interviewed all the guests who I meet there almost every morning and the official Starbucks security officer. The only thing they had in common were that no one had seen anything, as they all had been occupied with their own life, the newspaper, e-mails, telephone or their friends. It happened very fast, which you’ll see from this video, which was captured just outside the café. In this video, you see the only person not accounted for a few seconds after the robbery was detected. From the video material we have accessed, we cut and pasted a short video together to help the police locate and question this witness and the person driving of with this witness, who might be the only person to witness the robbery of my bag with my laptop.

If you know or see this person, please contact Técnico Copitan of the San Isidro police (telephone numbers 264-6561, 264-1932). Police wish to question him as a witness to see if he saw who stole my bag and laptop.
To my surprise and most unfortunately, the establishment itself does not have a surveillance camera inside or outside to record these thieves in action, but it is my hope that Starbucks will consider to install these cameras to prevent others from loosing valuable effects while enjoying a cup of coffee in a nice environment among friends and family.

Be aware that robberies like this one happen every day, and not only in Lima, so take good care of your personal belongings and do not trust anyone to look after your things. There are distractions every minute, and some which are planned specifically to rob you.

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# Shawn Thomas says :
10 March, 2010 [ 03:21 ]
I do feel for you, and am sorry your laptop was stolen. 

That being said, if you're the editor of this webpage, you live in Peru, and you turned your back on a laptop for 45 seconds, you more or less invited the problem.   Even deep in the Pituca Zone of a San Isidro Starbucks, this isn't the United States or Europe... people resort to stealing because people like us HAVE laptops... while people like them die of a tooth infection.

Good luck out there... you'll need it.

# Heinz Kohler Daly says :
10 March, 2010 [ 03:38 ]
I am very sorry for your temporary loss.
In faith I ask that what is yours comes back to you.
# Fred Flongerburgerstein says :
10 March, 2010 [ 03:47 ]
I don't get it.  I don't see them stealing anything.  Maybe I was distracted by the annoying music.
# Nando says :
10 March, 2010 [ 03:51 ]

My 2 Cents: If the info contained in that laptop is really important for you, then perhaps it would be worth it to dive into "La Cachina" and try to find your Laptop over there. Note for the newcomers: La Cachina is Lima´s infamous market for stolen goodies.

If you left the Inbox of your email account open the moment the laptop was stolen -or if you had Outlook that doesn´t require a password in your laptop- then perhaps you could try and send an email to your account (most likely he´s reading your emails by now) and offer a ransom to the crook (perhaps he would be interested, just like those thieves that steal mobile phones in Lima). Good Luck!

# Pablo Valqui says :
10 March, 2010 [ 04:50 ]

Its obvious that the guy in the suit is part of the people that stole the computer. here is why

 First off thieves have started to use the wearing-suit technique to blend in in barrios like San Isidro. Your three thieves are suit guy, white shirt guy and bag guy( with the trolley)

Second, him and his friend do not seem to belong together. Plus the third guy is the one with the suitcase. While at the first car, probably something like a blue or black elantra or alike suit guy goes into the car, obviously to deposit something, since he comes out again right away. Before that white shirt guy picks up the suitcase from the bag guy and brings it to the car, this is out of the camera. 

Then they go back to Starbucks to see if anyone noticed and they seem to notice the camera. This is why white shirt guy starts jumping. There is a cut in the sequence and in the next one they leave in the Elantra. There is a moment that you can see the license plate. Maybe with some good camera work this can be magnified to find out the exact plate. 

My other tip would be to hang out in other Starbucks in San Isidro and look for the guy in the suit, for a blue/black Elantra or alike and try to catch license plate, maybe ways how they payed and such. Because I doubt that anyone reading Livinginperu knowss this kind of people. 

From the footage it seems to be a gang of three guys. And this is also typical for this kind of robbers. 

Good luck in finding them and that is lima for you. You gotta always be on the lookout and know who you entrust to look for your stuff and how.  
# says :
10 March, 2010 [ 05:02 ]
I don`t agree with the disrespectful Shawn Thomas, he can`t generalize, because here or in the USA or in Europe or where ever you can imagine, there are always sick people trying to steal things.  My nephew while returning from London to Miami, left his suitcases in his parents car while he enter a fast food restaurant, this took to him only 5 minutes, there were cameras, security people and the police station at half a block, but nobody saw who broke the car windows and rob everything. He never recover anything.

Starbucks must have cameras for security of customers and workers and for their business place, too.

# Ivan says :
10 March, 2010 [ 05:09 ]
I think that in Peru, the US or Europe, keeping an eye on your personal belongings is your responsibility. I don't think it's Starbuck's obligation to install cameras inside or outside.

Every time I've been to Starbucks in Lima, I've asked them to lock my laptop (oh yeah, I am from Peru and HAVE a laptop) to the table and they have always done it for me. They have even been nice enough to offer to do it for me.

# Midori Pinillos says :
10 March, 2010 [ 05:18 ]
I am very sorry about your laptop. That being said, I would like to give some recommendations for your next laptop and the other readers:

- Never leave your laptop alone or out of sight. Thieves are really quick. My friend had his laptop under his chair in San Antonio Restaurant in Miraflores and it was stolen.

- Some restaurants and coffee places, including Starbucks, have locks specially for laptops. You just have to ask the person in charge of the security to put the lock on your computer.

- I would recommend installing Prey ( on your laptop. This software helps you locate your missing laptop by sending timed reports with a bunch of information of its whereabouts. This includes the general status of the computer, a list of running programs and active connections, fully-detailed network and wifi information, a screenshot of the running desktop and — in case your laptop has an integrated webcam — a picture of the thief.

I hope that helps! Laughing

Note: To Shawn Thomas, I would appreciate it if you talked about peruvian people with a little more respect. 
# bettiboop says :
10 March, 2010 [ 05:53 ]
I'm so sorry for what happened.  But....I'm confused, 60 seconds is 1 minute....why would you leave anything of value exposed for that Peru?  Especially a laptop?  San Isidro and Miraflores are the prime places for this type of robbery..Hope you recover your loss. 
# Paul says :
10 March, 2010 [ 06:06 ]
Two words mate.  Self Induced.   Give your self a slap for being silly, forget videos like this, and move on.   It could have happened anywhere.  
# K. Michael VerKamp says :
10 March, 2010 [ 06:11 ]
Hello Carsten... That's absolutely terrible to hear that this happened to you. It's good advice to try to find and buy back your laptop. I once bought my car mirrors back - which they identified by them telling mewhere they were stolen from (as frustrating as it was to buy my own mirrors back). Be sure to change passwords if any were saved on the computer (which hopefully you have already done). 

@Shawn... Poverty is not an excuse for immorality. The people with laptops are lifting Perú out of poverty... the thieves and corruption are keeping the country in poverty. If you haven't figured that out, you haven't lived here long enough. 

@Fred... Watch the video again. Note the gentleman has his jacket over his left shoulder. You can actually see him smoothly move something from his right hand to his left (hidden by the jacket). You can also see the car back out and wait for him as he's returning. It's very clear what happened. 

@Starbucks... Shame on you for not having security cameras, especially in this location frequented by so many high profile clients. 
# asaddenedreader says :
10 March, 2010 [ 07:05 ]
While I understand that theft is a major issue in Peru, I don't believe this sort of article brings any credibility to "Peru's #1 English Media." I mean, would, for example, the NY Times post an article about it's GM's stolen laptop? Perhaps it would, in the editorial section. But this article as a headline in the weekly newsletter? Please.

While I respect you, LivinginPeru, please don't insult me, your reader, by making this theft seem newsworthy. If this was proposed as an article, as it is, for any other news media, it would get laughed off the page.

To be honest, I'm sorry about the theft. But I don't think all of your readers needed to hear about it. Sounds like one big pity plea to me.

Save it for your friends next time.
# Lola Dulanto says :
10 March, 2010 [ 07:17 ]
I am sorry to hear this same story once again.  I have witnessed these robberies twice at another Starbuck's, and the people at Starbuck's said they did not have any surveillance cameras.  This would have made it so much easier for the police to identify the thiefs.  I have heard that stolen laptops are sold at Polvos Azules.  Maybe it would not be a bad idea to go there and see if you can identify it at one of the stands.
Good luck.
# Danielle says :
10 March, 2010 [ 07:44 ]
I hope you get your laptop back or at least the guy who took it!  I go to the starbucks at Parque Kenedy all the time & have on numerous occassions left my laptop unattended while going to the washroom.  Thanks for the wake up call!  Of course these things can happen anywhere, but i see now that being in a Starbucks has given me a false sense of security where at home, i wouldn't think twice about leaving my laptop unattended in a coffee shop.  Suerte!
# Violeta says :
10 March, 2010 [ 07:50 ]
First of all, I'm sorry your laptop was stolen. One thing I can suggest you to do is to contact the person of the municipality collecting the parking fees, they are suposed to keep a record of all cars parking in that area so they should have the license plate number in their records. I know they are not very well organized, but it's worth trying. Good luck!
# Paola says :
10 March, 2010 [ 09:54 ]
Wow Carsten,
I am so sorry to read this, but hopefully you can get it back at list the info.
Really try the Cachina, you ask for it and they gave it to you as a delivey order.
With this all this kind of establishments that offer wireless for free etc. they must have a security system with cameras, so you can really feel free to be there.
Good Luck and take care.
# Anne Paluck says :
11 March, 2010 [ 04:14 ]
I can top this.  My newspaper reports today that in a town here in Connecticut a woman's person was stolen in church when she went up to communion!
# Alex Meier says :
11 March, 2010 [ 04:50 ]
The same happened to me at Starbucks Larco in miraflores. The issue is that Starbucks is soposed to be a place who cares but NO they don't.
That's why I dont go there any more.
# Carla Reategui says :
11 March, 2010 [ 05:57 ]
I'm so sorry for your laptop this is the BAD thing about Peru, people who is aware for "that" minute to steal you...

See you soon...
# Reynaldo says :
11 March, 2010 [ 06:07 ]
I am sorry, to hear this happenined to you. Like everyone you must be very careful with your valuables in public places. I feel uncomfortable with Shawn Thomas's entry, he seems to despite the Peruvian people... a generous people that embrace people from other countries like brothers. Comparations are out of place here. Many peruvians have laptops, Shawn has to be more kind to our People not all of us would steal your properties.
# Jaime says :
11 March, 2010 [ 06:27 ]
Laptop stealing is very common here in the US as well. My company makes everyone go through "Laptop Security Training" because so many company laptops have been stolen with proprietary and employee confidential information. This could potentially cost the company millions as well as public embarassment.

Never leave your laptop unattended anywhere! Not even in your hotel room, especially not in your car! If you have to leave it in your car put it in the trunk and do so BEFORE you arrive at your place of destination so people don't see you doing it.

This is the problem with portable technology, our most valuable information is now so easy to steal.
# Thomas says :
11 March, 2010 [ 06:38 ]
The only thing Starbucks might be guilty of is selling overpriced burned coffee.  Take responsibility for your actions and stop blaming others for your carelessness. 

(My comment is not directed at the author but rather at some of the comments posted above.)
# Anne Paluck says :
11 March, 2010 [ 07:10 ]
Oops!  in my earlier comment about a theft in a church in Connecticut, I should have written a woman's PURSE, not PERSON!  theft, not kidmapping!
# Sasha McInnes says :
11 March, 2010 [ 07:53 ]
Carsten, my first thought was WOW!  you're amazing - many of us would just sit back and feel terrible about having our laptop stolen.  YOU did something about it; what a wonderful video and I congratulate you on taking this issue into your own hands!!  I'm beyond impressed.  Good for you!

And then I went to hoping that you will get your laptop back!

All the very best to you Carsten, brave and resourceful woman that you are!!

Arriba Carsten!!!!
# Sasha McInnes says :
11 March, 2010 [ 07:58 ]
ps.  I second all the positive comments about Peru and the Peruvian people.  I have clients who have had TAXI DRIVERS return items to them that they've left in the car!  There are thieves/scams in every country and as many as there are in Peru.  In my experience Peruvians are very kind, hospitable and lovely, not to mention super intelligent and much more aware of what is going on in the world than those in my own country of origin - and a whole lot more fun!
# says :
11 March, 2010 [ 08:07 ]
Midori Pinillos, thank you for the suggestion re Prey, very helpful!

# says :
13 March, 2010 [ 08:55 ]

SHAWN THOMAS: By the way, you can find people who take things here,USA,Europe or "en la conchinchina" men, I think if u don´t like my country,what r u doing here???

Money mouth ???


# says :
14 March, 2010 [ 09:00 ]
I am truly sorry about the theft of your laptop; however, unfortunately, these incidents happen all the time, NOT ONLY IN PERU, contrary to what Shawn Thomas thinks.

My sister's iPod was stolen from her car, which was parked right outside her house (we live in New York state). A friend's car was broken into and this time the thieves took their time to disassemble the console and remove her in-dash car radio.  She lives in Connecticut.  Granted, it is our responsibility to keep tabs on our belongings, but just to prove a point, these things happen all the time in any part of the world.

A friend of mine experienced the theft of her handbag at a Pizza Hut in San Miguel. She had her handbag in front of her and was about to leave, but was waiting for her companion to return from the restroom. She turned around for a nanosecond to reach for her jacket which was hanging from the chair and, just like that, her purse was gone.

I hope that you will retrieve your laptop; maybe go to La Cachina like the other posters here have suggested (one word of caution, don't go by yourself), and maybe track down the scumbags who took it and who give Peruvians like me a bad name. 
# Hugo Arce M says :
18 March, 2010 [ 07:37 ]
Of course I am very sorry for your lost, but as many others said above, this happens in any place at any time around the world, no only in Peru. Unfortunately I think You are not going to get your computer back posting this even in your international publication, only you are showing something bud that readers of your publication are not use to, and nothing that we can do for you...??? Good luck...!!!
# says :
18 March, 2010 [ 11:58 ]
Poor Shawn Thomas, don't take it personally, I can almost picture the look of surprise in your face at some or the reactions your post has generated.  And to those who have posted negative comments about Shawn, please do not embarrasse yourselves by showing that while most of you can write a decent amount of English, however, when it comes to understanding what a native speaker of that language expresses, you fail miserably.  Shawn Thomas is not insulting Peru or its people, he or she is merely stating the fact that where there is poverty these things will unfortunately occur, thefts, pickpocketing and worst of all people dying unnecessarily.  What worries me most, however, is that many of the posters write to have witnessed thefts but apparently done nothing to prevent them.  Have a good day.
# says :
20 March, 2010 [ 10:33 ]
     Thanks for the info on being able to lock your laptop to the table.  I've never heard of this.  
     I visit Lima every few months from Dallas, TX, and did have a backpack stolen a year ago while I was at the beach, sitting in a chair placed in front of the car, with the backpack underneath the chair.  The guy crawled underneath the front part of the car and grabbed it.  I would not have known what happened had I not heard him 'push off' of the car as he started his run for the waiting get-away car.  Luckily I lost only a temporary cell phone and a couple hundred bucks in cash.
     When I bought my new Dell laptop in January, I had Lo-Jack installed on it and got it with a brightly colored art-deco lid.  I figured if it ever disappears I won't be left describing it as a black or navy laptop.  If stolen, I contact the company and they start tracking right away, send the info to the police, and disable all personal info on the computer!  This means no more worry about compromised passwords, etc.  In addition, if it is not recovered, the company will replace it at no charge.
     Hopefully I will never have to use this, but it sure is nice knowing I can.
# says :
21 March, 2010 [ 04:35 ]
# indra says :
6 April, 2010 [ 11:22 ]

Well I think this type of theft happens every day and we must be prevented and take care of our things when we visit public places like restaurants, cafés, supermarkets, shopping malls, among other places and not be confident . In this case the theft happened in Starbucks café. On the one hand , I think starbucks should take responsibility for what happened but it is also the responsibility of the aggrieved person  for being distracted and confident because there are many people who believe that in beautiful and exclusive places can not be victims of a assault however the thieves have created new strategies to commit their misdeeds like wear elegant clothes ,wear suits , ties among others things.

On  the other hand starbucks should have surveillance cameras inside and outside the establishment or at least to register these thieves in action,  or at least hire a qualified person of  the police for the safety of the establishment.
# says :
7 April, 2010 [ 06:43 ]
Hello teacher is very regrettable that a thief stolen your laptop and your bag in star buckscafe, is regrettable that there aren´t cameras inside and outside the place to record the things that happen there.
Thank for this information, the true i haven´t never gone to star bucks cafe, in the future i will have more care and of no trust in anyone.
Approximately five months ago, i and my friend vanessa went to a cevicheria near my house located in san miguel, suddenly two thieves (a woman and a man) stolen our bags inside the cevicheria, fortunately didn´t occur nothing more, however we were scared. install cameras inside and outside of all the public places will be recommendable to watch what happens and provide security to the people. 


# says :
8 April, 2010 [ 06:06 ]
I am sorry for your stolen laptop and information inside. It happened to me last year at the same location: Starbucks at Hotel Country Club. My laptop was stolen by the same person I saw in the tape and was with a "friend" in a suit in a table next to mine. Starbucks made nothing to help me identify the thieves.
It is very strange and NEGLIGENT that Starbucks didn´t install surveillance cameras inside the premises to register what happens inside, or AT LEAST hire a security person.
Since that happened to me, I heard that the same happened to many people at he same location. Now I take care to my things and never went back to Starbucks.

# says :
8 April, 2010 [ 05:12 ]
First, I sincerely regret your loss because it costs a laptop as well but what I think about it is that you have and had every reason to clarify that starbacks are not protected by security cameras. But it is illogical to think that anyone in the establishment has realized that robbery in broad daylight. In other cases these situations help us later to prevent the same thing happened again, on the other hand try to be as cautious as possible at all times so we are not surprised that after one of those crimes that make us thieves of this kind. kevin

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