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Computer thieves targeted by new business

Lawmen say crime on rise in area

POSTED: October 2, 2009 9:59 a.m.
Photo by Lauren Hunsberger/

Jan Holtman

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IT Crimes is part of a global initiative founded to help eliminate the theft of computer and other technology-related equipment. Originally a campaign launched in partnership with South African authorities, the operation is now moving into areas of the United States, including Hinesville.
IT Crimes area manager Jan Holtman spoke to the Hinesville Rotary Club on Tuesday about his plans to combat computer crime in the area.
Technological equipment thefts tend to plague school systems in particular, Holtman said, but he’s prepared to launch an attack against the growing problem.
“Basically, IT Crimes extracts serial numbers and puts them on a database,” Holtman said.
However, he said the database includes more than just copies of serial numbers. It establishes a detailed records, which can come in handy when computer serial numbers are physically altered, manipulated or removed.
IT Crimes takes numbers from each of the components inside a computer so that if the machine is disassembled and sold for parts, the items can still be tracked. Holtman said a computer’s complete record often ends up being as unique as a fingerprint.
Although he’s just establishing the local branch of IT Crimes, the manager said he’s already spoken with Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas, who expressed concern regarding computer thefts and said he hopes to work  with area law enforcement officers to combat it.

“We want everyone to cooperate because once everyone cooperates there will be nowhere left for thieves to go,” Holtman said.
While the police haven’t solidified a partnership yet, they agree computer theft is a problem in the Liberty County area.
According to Hinesville Police Department Det. Maj. Thomas Cribbs, computers and technological equipment now rank alongside money, weapons and jewelry as the most often stolen items.
“We have a good many laptops that are stolen,” Cribbs said.
He said unfortunately because most people don’t record the serial numbers or because the numbers are easily tampered with, they have a hard time recovering them.
“It’s very, very hard to match them back,” the detective said. “We don’t recover very many of them.”
Holtman said there is a $9.99 charge and that customers can register their computers as well as their TVs, cameras and other valuables. For more information, call Holtman at (912) 271-7541 or go to  www.itcrimes.com.

 

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