A church pastor in Louisiana gave his wife the laptop she wanted for Christmas – just ten days after it was stolen from a Washington, D.C. high school.
Rev. Elijah Teh-Teh bought theHewlett-Packard Elitebook laptop on eBay for $500 just a month before Christmas last year. Unfortunately for his wife, Lawanda Teh-Teh, the gift-wrapping was the only thing she was able to open.
When she tried to boot up the laptop, an installed security program informed the couple the computer was stolen.
“She was disappointed,” Elijah Teh-Teh told The Washington Post. “My wife is an educator, and she desperately wanted a laptop.”
After being stolen from Room 220 of Luke C. Moore Academy in Washington, D.C., the computer traveled 1,210 miles in ten days to arrive under the Teh-Teh’s Christmas tree near the Shreveport airport in Louisiana.
The Teh-Teh’s received a refund from eBay and the D.C.-based electronics store owner charged with trafficking the device was arrested in a notable example of the city’s rampant robbery problem.
According to police, cellphones and laptops were the popular items in the District’s 3,600 robberies this year – half of which included a phone among the items stolen.
The core issue, according to police, is the ease with which robbers can get quick cash for stolen electronics at places like 12 Volt Electronics – which bought and resold Teh-Teh’s gift.
Court documents indicate 12 Volt Electronics has a reputation for receiving stolen property, and owner David Brown, 49, was already facing a similar charge before the laptop case was traced back to him late this year.
After the Aug. 29 raid on 12 Volt Electronics, police spent two days going through more than 500 items they believed were stolen.
Stolen phones can even be sold at mall kiosks for cash, a practice police have tried to crack down on with some success.
“Although street operations are critical, we also need to change some of the conditions that are allowing the secondary market in stolen personal electronics to proliferate,” D.C Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said in The Washington Post.
“The cheap phone you buy today may have belonged to a robbery victim last week,” Lanier said.