Fiend

Police took my Laptop away

92 posts in this topic

About 1 hour ago... I was out Wardriving. I was scanning for Wireless Access Points on Linux using Kimset. I picked up several access points on my laptop some encrypted, others not. I didn't do anything else, just scanning for WiFi. Then, I boot up Windows (big mistake) and of course Windows automatically connects to the first Unencrypted WiFi it sees without consulting the user. I loaded up FireFox and the home page was set to Google.com so you could say I illegally used someones Internet Connection.

Soon, a police car pulls up with their blinding lights and asks me what I was doing. I told them I was scanning for WiFi. And of course the police had no clue what the fuck that was. I did my best to explain what I did... and I did mention that the only illegal thing I have done was connected to google.com using their ISP, and that Windows connected to that automatically.

He was arguing and saying your computer won't connect to it automatically blah blah blah, little does he know... I was also wearing a shirt that says "Hacker." from J!NX. And, the cop said, Well it's just like your shirt. And I replied, "Let me guess, you have the common misconception that hackers are bad people?" And he said, "Of course they are, you people break into peoples shit." !!

Also, when they put me in the back of their squad car they asked me if they could look at my Laptop and I said, "yes" so they did... and they also looked in my bookbag (my laptop wasn't in my bookbag). So they searched by bookbag illegally.

And now they won't give me back my laptop, I will probably get it back in about a month and I am leaving for college in about 7 days! This is so unfair, I didn't do anything unethically!

Anyone want to help me out here, what should I do... I want my laptop back before I go to college... It's essential! They also took my bookbag which had 2 books, 2 2600 Magazines and some other stuff, a Deck of Cards, a Notepad and Pen... some stuff that's not even relevant to my laptop.

Can they legally take my laptop away like this, and my bookbag? And also (to mention again) they illegaly searched my bookbag!

!!! I AM SO OUTRAGED !!!

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Unless they are charging you with some sort of crime they have absolutely ZERO right to hold onto any of your belongings. If you have the officer's name or badge number I would call the police department, and ask to speak with his Seargant.

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I respect the situation you are in, but.. Why would you tell them you where scanning for WIFI ?? why would you even say that doing what you where doing etc was illiegal?

I was in a similar situation a month back. All said was in responce is I am working on a imporant project.. i think i might hvae lost my USB drive so i pulled up to take a look if i had a copy of it on my laptop officer.

They have no right to search you or take your laptop unless you where charged.

fucking pigdawgs.

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They said I was charged with using someones internet connection without permission. (stealing)

I did not connect to anyones internet connection manually... windows connected to the first unsecured wireless access point without prompting me... (I knew I should have stayed in Linux.... I booted up windows after scanning with Kismet).

...

They told me they are going to have a Fed scan my computer and dig around in my harddrive...

... what if I have software I don't legally own (not saying I do) but what if... (I might, I might not)... but would I be prosecuted and sent to jail if they find any software I don't legally own?

Edited by Fiend
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no they would not do anything. However they may report you to the company that owns the copyright.

As far as i know it has to be the company that starts the charges agaisnt a person for having software that you do not own or have not paid for.

oh and above all else mate, got get yourself a good lawyer !

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I have personally never heard of company sueing anybody just because he had illegal copy of their software. Now, I have heard about them doing this to people who were copying the illegal copies and selling them for money, but that's different...

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Also, when they put me in the back of their squad car they asked me if they could look at my Laptop and I said, "yes" so they did... and they also looked in my bookbag (my laptop wasn't in my bookbag). So they searched by bookbag illegally.

Never consent to searches.

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Holy shit. It goes without saying you handled this badly bro.

Lesson learned, know your rights. Read the Constitution, have it on your person or in your vehicle, and invoke it when you think it is needed. The correct answer to what are you doing would have been "Homework, I just finished and was leaving when you came up." then, you should have shut up. The onus would have been on them to prove otherwise.

If you were never arrested, and never read miranda, this will may tossed if you have a lawyer worth a damn. Not a public Pretender. then again, you gave probable cause, and consent. Ouch. You don't need to be read miranda to be arrested, not at all. So it may not matter at all, IANAL, just an armchair a-hole. :D

They certainly did not search your bookbag illegally though. you gave consent to search anyhtihng you own when you allowed them to look at your laptop. That goes for any belonging of yours. Police don't get permission to search "the living room", "the front seat and not my bookbag inside" ... you get the idea.

Man, truly that sucks. Sorry for your situation. I really am. :(

If it is any consolation (I know, it isn't) someone somewhere will read this and google Constitution, fourth and fifth amendments, miranda, and learn something.

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Unless they are charging you with some sort of crime they have absolutely ZERO right to hold onto any of your belongings. If you have the officer's name or badge number I would call the police department, and ask to speak with his Seargant.

Screw that, I'd ask to speak with the chief!

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Man that's messed up, why would they come up anyway? i stop on the side of the road all the time to use my computer or to make a call, i don't see why they would see that as being suspicious. But as far as the hacker shirt i had a similar experiance, me and a buddy were looking for the new meeting place of the nc2600 meeting a while back and ended up in a really skechy part of town so we drove up beside a police car to ask for directions with our hacker gear on, heh the look on their face was priceless

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badly handeled that wasnt the time to tell the truth

i'm sure you would of got away with it turned on in my bag lol

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Call up a lawyer ASAP and sue their asses off. Do this RIGHT NOW.

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Call up a lawyer ASAP and sue their asses off. Do this RIGHT NOW.

I agree, get your laptop back ASAP. No charge (filed that is) no right to take your shit. Also you might want to find who has the unprotected AP and talk to them and see if they will have your back.

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The cops where I go to school pulled shady shit like that on us. They got away with not reading us our rights after 12 of them drew their guns on us and cuffed us, because they were "detaining us" not making an arrest. They took some of the stuff that we happened to have on us (digital camera, memory card(s), someone's pocketknife) and held it as "evidence" even though they weren't related to what we'd done at all, nevermind that they didn't charge us with anything and just passed it on to the school. No one was interested in helping us out though, so we got boned with the judicial affairs department, mostly because the shitbag the school appointed to "defend" us was the school equivalent of public defendant. It's not the sort of thing we could've gotten a lawyer for, because it was just the judicial affairs panel.

Who bothers someone for using a laptop in their car anyway? And even if you were using Internet, etc, how do they know it's not an open access point for public use?

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Yeah, this whole thing was royally stupid and handled badly on the writer's part.

Remember the old adage: "Don't do the crime if you're not willing to do the time." After all, you still had intent.

Were you charged with anything? You should at least have a court date for the arraigment if you were.

If not, immediately demand your laptop back. Say it's costing you money to be without it and you'll hold the department accountable for lost profits.

As for software, no the feds won't bust unless the fed contacts the SPA and they slap you with a "Don't copy that floppy" suit. That's a entirely civil proceeding.

If you are charged, get a lawyer and have him push the angle that the network was nearby and you crossed their "Unprotected" network purely by happenstance. And when they ask about the "Hacker" part, tell them you're a coder or a hardware geek. Do not try to pimp yourself as 'mad f00 l33t' else they'll give you the Kevin Mitnick treatment.

And next time, don't be so fucking conspicious. The reason the cop stopped you was probably because he thought you were gonna rob someone and some nervous homeowner called in neighborhood watch.

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yeah, u really did make the situation worse then it really was

and for only bringing up there website homepage, were google loads in 1.7 secs on my PC.........damn the cops showed up pretty fast if someone reported it in.

and if u are telling the truth that u only went to there homepage, then u must of been smart enough to realise the cops had no idea what u were doing, so no need to tell them jack shit.

There cops, there not ur parents who forgive u for telling the truth remember......

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sue them and get the cop dismissed if possible, also the seizure was illegal, therefor anything they find on it would be concitered (actual legal term) "Fruit of the Forbidden Tree" ^_^

the "All hackers are bad, they break into peoples shit" remark could let you claim profiling as well

get a good lawyer and run this guy into the ground till he cant get any lower :cuss:

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of course Windows automatically connects to the first Unencrypted WiFi it sees without consulting the user.

Hm... I never heard of Windows simply connecting to any unencrypted WAP that it wants. Maybe your wireless settings specify an automatic connection to a WAP with a default SSID ("Linksys", "Netgear", etc...) and that just happened to be the one you were next to?

At the very least, it should have popped up a notification balloon near the taskbar telling you that you were connected.

I loaded up FireFox and the home page was set to Google.com so you could say I illegally used someones Internet Connection.

If you loaded up your browser, it seems to me that your intent was indeed to do some surfing.

I do sympathize with you -- my hope is that this altercation with the cops doesn't jeopardize your college career. I would have to say for future reference, however, that when you're staring down the business end of a police officer's flashlight/knightstick/handgun, that is not the time to try to educate them on the media corruption of the term "hacker" and on why scanning for WAPs is more of a hobby than a crime. Good luck with it all, post back to the thread to let us know what happens.

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If you didn't get a ticket , any piece of written document declaring the shit was taken and who you are, you're not going to get it back. When my friends and I used to skateboard in Philly cops would often take our shit if we didn't run (skateboards, bags, camera, tripods, that kind of stuff) but rarely did they charge us with anything. Everything that the police confiscate from you is put in an evidence locker and or a police warehouse. If you are charged with something the stuff is filed and you can go pick it up at a later date. But if you're not charged you better hope you can prove that what they take is yours otherwise it sits in a warehouse and than is auctioned. It also could be very possible the officer took your belongings for his own gain a.k.a. stole them, but I doubt that because he could very easily lose his job.

I hate cops. Fuck them.

EDIT***Funny story about solitaire, a laptop, and the police: Walking down State St. in Trenton, walked past a cop car, the victory animation (cards bouncing and covering the screen) from Windows solitaire is playing on the cops laptop, that right there are tax dollars being well spent. He started another game after that too.

Edited by TheMadModder
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That right there sucks my friend, I dont know what you could do about this situation but a good idea would be to call someone (lawer) for advice, they would probably know alot more then us what you could do in a situation like this. Tell them the whole situation and im sure they could give you some tips on how to get out of this mess.

Im interested as to see what becomes of this, tells us what happens in the end.

Peace, Snippet

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I am the writer of this topic, I changed my name to ansichart because that's my new alias I have been using. And people on IRC know me as ansichart so it just causes less confussion.

I talked to an officer at the police station and apparantly they can search everything in my car... I guess you loose your right of privacy if you are in your car? If it's in open view they can search it I guess... but he did have to open my bookbag and started searching through the contents inside.

Anyway, I havn't got too many answers out of them... they arn't saying a whole lot and it's really frusteraiting. I'll keep you guys posted when anything comes up.

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I am the writer of this topic, I changed my name to ansichart because that's my new alias I have been using. And people on IRC know me as ansichart so it just causes less confussion.

Confirmed.

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The PATRIOT act allows cars to be searched without consent. I doubt that is what happened though, they would need to cite terrorism as the reason for the search.

Go back and look at my previous post. Remember police search people all day every day. You didn't have the benefit of knowing ahead of time that asking to search your pocket, your bag, or even your pack of cigarettes isn't a "trick" used to allow them to search any and all of your belongings, it is standard operating procedure among the first things taught to recruits.

Either that, or you said the speech about connecting and that was all you did that was illegal prior to being searched. That means they can search anything they want, due to "probable cause". You may have waived your right to being deprived of property without due process at that time as well. I don't know, IANAL.

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