Crimes In the Valley: Famous Tech Leaders Robbed, Arrested and More

There are a lot of things happening in the tech industry like new devices being launched, new software, newfound malware creating havoc…  But these days, ordinary people aren’t the only ones being victimized, even famous people are getting hit.

Criminals are getting gutsy n0w, hitting up the homes of the rich and famous.  News broke that the late Steve Jobs’ home in Palo Alto, California was burglarized.

The suspect, Kariem McFarlin, allegedly took $60,000 worth of “computers and personal items”, is already in custody.  Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Tom Flattery, a member of the high-technology crimes unit, declined to comment whether the stolen items were personal belongings of Jobs or of his family members.

McFarlin may face a maximum prison sentence of seven years and eight months, including a one-year enhancement for “excessive taking of property.”  Though still in prison, he can get out on bail if coughs up $500,000.  He’s scheduled to return to court on August 20 to enter a plea.

According to authorities, the Bay Area is experiencing an increase in burglaries due to a 63 percent increase in unlocked doors and windows.  They’ve already launched a “Lock it or Lose it” campaign to address the problem.

Though it may seem like a targeted attack, Flattery stated that the attack on Jobs’ home was totally random.  The Jobs’ residence is currently being renovated, which may have made it look like an easy target.

Too much info

If you’re paying $2.7 million a year to keep your family safe, you’d think that every member of your family would take security issues seriously, right?  But what if your own daughter brandishes her every move and whereabouts for the whole world to see?  You’d probably be pissed off, and this might be exactly the case with Alexa Dell, Michael Dell’s daughter, when her Twitter account was shut down.  Alexa tweeted an Instagram photo of her brother, Zachary, sitting “on the family jet, devouring a Ritz-worthy buffet on his way to Fiji” which was sensationalized by the popular Tumblr blog, the Rich Kids of Instagram.

Though it wasn’t confirmed if the account shutdown was related to security issues, it probably was.  See, Alexa has a habit of tweeting her every move like where she’s eating, or where she went shopping.  She even tweeted an invitation to her high school graduation dinner – complete with time, date, location – an event where her parents were present.  Though there’s no news whether the Dell family’s security is at risk, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Stolen property

About two years ago, Gizmondo got their hands on an iPhone 4 prototype.  They wrote how they got the device for $5,000 from an unnamed source.  The article showed a photo of an iPhone disguised as an iPhone 3GS but was actually a prototype of the iPhone 4.

Though Gizmondo stated that they didn’t know the origin of the said iPhone when they bought it, some stated that Apple should’ve sued Gizmondo for leaking the information and photos of the acquired device.  According to the Californian penal code, if someone comes into the possession of a lost item and knows who the owner is or knows where to return it but didn’t do so is guilty of theft.  So Gizmondo’s defense stated that they cannot be sued for that since they didn’t know it was a lost item and the person who found it tried to give it back to Apple but no one believed him.

They also stated that according to California laws, the owner of an item has three years to reclaim his item otherwise the title of ownership passes to the owner of the premises where the property was found.  Anyway, the iPhone was returned to Apple, and about a year later the iPhone 4 was released to the public.

Bad to the bones

The following crime isn’t really tech related but it involves one of the most popular people in the tech industry.  Bill Gates, the former CEO, current chairman and co-founder of Microsoft, was not a victim of a crime but the one who actually committed it.  Before you go screaming that Gates mugged or killed somebody, read the rest of the article first.

Gates seem to have a problem abiding with driving laws as he was arrested three times over several years.  The first was back in 1975, when he was arrested for speeding and driving without a license.  In 1977 Gates was arrested for running a stop sign and again driving without a license, and in 1989, for suspicion of driving drunk.

Some say Gates is not very fond of following rules and his arrests was greatly exploited in the antitrust litigation against the company.  People think that since the charges were dropped for his arrests, Gates thought that he’s above the law and did everything to get ahead of others, even if it meant monopolizing the market and preventing others from creating competitive products.