Not exactly Law & Order: IT Victims Unit

Flashback to 1994, when laptops cost $3,000 and are hard to come by at the company where this pilot fish works.

"It was decided that, as a service to our users, we would purchase and make one laptop available for users to sign out for travel and after-hours use," says fish.

"In week 2 of the sign-out program, a user came to the help desk and reported that the laptop was stolen from his vehicle. There were lots of discussions about who should pay for it -- user, user's insurance, company -- but in the end the company wrote it off and we no longer had a loaner. It cost too much to replace.

"Then we got a call from the state police. They had recovered our 'stolen' laptop. Would we like to come down and ID it and take it home? they asked.

"We got to the police station, and it seems a trooper spotted the laptop lying on the roadside. A detective who "knew about laptops" turned it on, which brought up our sign-on page with our name, so they called us.

"We took the laptop back to the shop and called the user in to let him know we recovered the laptop. Then we got the rest of the story.

"It seems that it was not stolen after all. He had bungeed it to the back of his motorcycle, and lost it on the way to class."

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