Stolen: $1,084

My laptop bag was stolen in New York City.

It’s actually a crazy story. We had the Uhaul with the Coke and Mentos Rocket Car next to the Letterman studio. We went to drive it to the Early Show around 5am so we put all of our luggage in the back. My friend closed the door, and apparently didn’t lock it correctly.

We drove about 5 minutes to the Early Show, and when we arrived the back of the truck was open and my laptop bag was gone. (and it was pretty far back, so we are quite sure it didn’t fall out!)

I was shocked at first. I couldn’t really process it. Then I started to think of everything I had in that bag. My laptop (with EVERYTHING on it), my planner, my iPod, my friends iPod Touch, and a library book.

I had things backed up (or so I thought!) and the rest of the things could be replaced easy enough. I was afraid of identity theft so the first thing I did was put an alert on my credit report.

Note: If you alert one company like TransUnion, they will send a request to the other companies too. It was actually the easiest process I went through. Even replacing the library book has been more difficult!

Stolen: Total Cost $1,890

Because I like numbers, I wanted to know how much I lost. This is the breakdown:

  • My laptop $1500 (when new, but it was almost 2 years old)
  • My Planner $40
  • My iPod Nano $150
  • My friends iPod Touch $170
  • My library book $20
  • Other things like chapstick, notebooks etc $10

It turns out though, I don’t need $1,890 to replace everything.

Instead, this is what I’ve spent:

  • New Laptop $703
  • Used iPhone 3Gs $200 (plus $15 per month data plan)
  • Paying my friend back $168
  • Book I bought on Amazon to give to the library $13

Total $1,084

While this is not a small amount, I was actually extremely happy with these purchases. The laptop I bought is 5 times better than my old one,  has Windows 7 and I found great coupons codes. (Normally it is a $1,000 laptop)

The iPhone is great and replaces my iPod, planner, and the reason why I was borrowing my friends iPod Touch. (I have an iPhone App coming out soon)

My friend is trying to get out of debt. She didn’t want to sell her iPod Touch since it was a recent birthday present from her husband. Now that the decision is out of her hands, she is taking the cash!

I called the library since I had just bought the book that was stolen. It was actually the Six Pillars of Self-Esteem. The book I recommended last week. For some reason, I threw the library book in my laptop bag instead of the new one. So I called the librarian and asked if I could just give them that instead of paying the $20 fee.

After a few days of waiting, they said sure.

What is Irreplaceable

My data. I had photos of my children. I am writing a book and had about one-third of it complete. I had emails I hadn’t responded to, all of my saved favorites, and whole lot of other data. The hard part is, there was so much data on there that I don’t even remember what I might be missing!

I have a 500 gig drive that I back up data that doesn’t change, and I use Mozy to capture the items that change a lot. The problem was I hadn’t backed up to the 500 gig drive in months. And I had created a new folder on my desktop and put the book in it, and I didn’t go back in and tell Mozy to back it up.  Fail!

Luckily I had a hard copy printed out from a few weeks ago, and also had an old version of it on my ftp site.

My husband and friends told me they were sick to their stomachs about it. I was surprised but I have been completely at peace. I’m OK with the loss.  It will take time to fix everything. But I have a chance to go back and do things better. I have a clean slate to work from, and I can create a system that will allow this never to happen again.

Tips

I still lost a lot of data, even though I thought I was all set. I’m letting this serve as a reminder to me, and to you, to check your backups. Put it on your to-do list, or do it right now.

Also, if you don’t already have it, create a hard copy of every website you have a login to. Since I don’t have my  favorites, I’m trying to remember off the top of my head what websites had logins for so I can change them. I remember the big ones, like Paypal, Ebay, banking sites, this blog, and Amazon but I know there are smaller ones that I am forgetting.

So How Are We Going To Pay For Everything?

There are a few reasons why I am not going to claim it on my homeowner’s insurance. One is that I cannot get a police report.* Two is that my insurance deductible is $1,000 so it’s not worth it.

Fritz and Stephen from EepyBird let me know they would pay me $200. So that pretty much paid off the iPhone. The iPhone data plan is a new expense, but I’m going to use my monthly budgeted money for that so it doesn’t increase the total budget.

The $168 to pay my friend will come from my business account. I was using it for my business, and I brought it so I could show everyone. Lesson learned: don’t bring anything to NYC that you do not specifically need! (oh and make darned sure the Uhaul is closed)

My husband and I talked about how we should pay for the laptop. I could pay for it with my business account, but we decided to cash flow it. Looking at our predictions of income this year, it shouldn’t make too large of a dent. That being said I’m working even harder just to make sure.

Does anyone have any stories like this? How did it all turnout?

*Side note. I tried to file a police report after the Early Show aired, but we were already on our way home since my husband had to get to a show that night. NYC Police won’t take police reports over the phone. He said I could drive back, go to the scene of the crime, and then call the police.

Also, I used to have LoJack on my laptop. I called them to see if I could have it reactivated. It was over a year ago, and I didn’t have the laptop in my possession, so that didn’t work either. My new laptop has LoJack! 🙂

 

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Hi I’m Jaime. Each and every week I bring you the top business advice from the people who know best.

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16 responses

  • I’m so sorry to hear this! I’ve actually had TWO laptops stolen from me within the span of a year. The first one was from inside of my house. No sign of forced entry = police wouldn’t do a report. I was renting and I’m pretty sure the landlord stole it. Second one was on the first day I had moved to Oklahoma from Pittsburgh and it was stolen out of my car. Police report was filed but there was no way to hunt down a suspect. Ironically, I’ve left my laptop sitting unattended on trips to the bathroom at Panera, Barnes and Noble, and Starbucks for years and *nothing* has happened. It’s an oxymoron that on the two times my laptop was locked away, it got stolen. Again, I’m so sorry. I guess we can only make an appeal to our dear friend karma on behalf of these theives.

    • Oh my, two in one year! That must have been so frustrating for you. I should count my blessings 🙂

      As I told my husband, well I am thankful that I don’t live a life where I have to steal laptops. I pity who ever does. Who ever stole it doesn’t need my anger, they need someone’s help.

      Was it hard to get everything back on track?

  • Dear Jaime,

    I am so sorry to hear this! At least you printed out a copy a few weeks ago of your book; I love to write, and I am quite paranoid about losing my work–what I deem to be my most valuable belonging.

    Anyway, I am over here from the Yakezie group!

    • Hi Amanda! Thanks for stopping by. It’s amazing how impermanent writing is. It only exists where you put it, and if it gets stolen it’s gone. That’s of course why every needs to back up. But I’m telling myself a little bit too late!

      (Can you imagine the days before computers where if you wanted another copy you had to write one?)

  • Sorry to hear about the bag. The great thing is you’re not letting it get you down. Were you there when Dave rode the coke and mentos car? I’m a big fan of Dave and would love to have been there.

    • Yep I was right there. My husband and father in law were two of the guys in the jumpsuits. Plus I work with the EepyBird guys each week!

      I was inside the ropes, but apparently Dave doesn’t let anyone on the inside to video or take photos. So I had to move behind the ropes to take photos! It was a ton of fun though. 🙂

      • Very cool! I wish I had known that was your husband while I was watching. 🙂 Exciting!

  • What a crappy situation! Similar to having a hard drive meltdown, you have to restore everything: files, application settings, browser bookmarks. Hope you see it as an opportunity to set things up in a newer / more efficient to use way.

    saad

    • That’s the plan. I just wish it didn’t take three weeks to get my laptop! I have a much better system already, and I don’t even have my new laptop yet.

      Tough situations can create new beginnings!

  • You are surprisingly calm. I don’t know how I would react. My husband bought online backup through carbonite a couple of months ago for our business and home computers. It gives us some peace of mind.

    • Thanks Kristia. I take that as a great compliment. 🙂 Hopefully you will never have to find out how you would react!

      I buy Kale chips from my local health food store. My one year old daughter loves them! I never thought about making them for myself though. 🙂

  • Regarding lost favorites, do you use Firefox as your main browser? If so, you should look at the plugin called Xmarks, you make an account with xmarks so it saves all your favorites on their server and it automatically sync with their server and other computers with firefox and Xmarks (with same account) installed. If you do not use firefox, you should give it a try.

    For logins, you can also use password managers that use similar methods syncing to their servers. Check out more info here http://lifehacker.com/5529133/.

    • Thank you so much! I do use firefox. I didn’t even know that existed. Awesome.

  • I’m so sorry! That blows!

    I have never had anything stolen, but I’ve had a computer die on me a couple of times…without having anything saved anywhere but on the computer…it sucked. I had to rewrite a 5 page college paper once and lost all the work I was planning on saving forever to look back on. I feel your pain.

    Now, all of my email is through Gmail and Yahoo so I can check it from anywhere. All of my writing is just for my blog and is saved as drafts, via email, or scheduled to be published, so it’s always accessible…I have a Plug-In that sends me a backup of my blog stuff daily. My Excel Sheet budget and other things I update like our car fund is on a flash drive (I need to save it all on my comp in case I break the flash drive…).

    The only real thing I would be worried about losing from my laptop are my digital photos since they aren’t saved anywhere else. Thanks for reminding me that I really should make a copy. Like tonight or this weekend if I need another flash drive or something…thanks!

    • Email through Gmail is a good idea. I know a ton of people that do that. I just like Thunderbird so much. Well, maybe I’ll rethink Gmail!

      Good luck with your backups. I only lost a few months of photos, because I kept so much on my camera!

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