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Man knows who has stolen laptop but can't get it back

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A Kitchener man who forgot his laptop on a bus in January says he’s now being asked to pay $750 to get it back from whoever has the device.

When Praveen Narendran got off the Grand River Transit (GRT) bus on University Avenue in Waterloo, he realized he forgot his laptop bag on his seat.

“The moment I got down I realized I left my personal laptop. By then, the bus started going so I was running towards it,” Narendran explained.

“But by then it was too late.”

He called an Uber and it brought him to the last stop on the bus route. He was hoping he’d find the laptop bag where he left it.

“When I got to my seat, it was already missing,” he said.

In the days following, Narendran said the laptop was never turned in to GRT’s lost and found.

Through Freedom of Information laws, he requested video footage from the bus to see who took his laptop.

His request was denied by the Region of Waterloo for privacy reasons, but the letter he received, which he provided to CTV News, said the footage could be released to Waterloo Regional Police Service for law enforcement purposes.

Narendran filed a police report about the missing laptop shortly after the incident.

A few weeks ago, he received a Facebook message from a stranger.

“He claimed that he had my laptop. Initially, he was asking me for the passcode,” Narendran said, adding he refused to provide the passcode.

The person reached out to him because Narendran’s full name appeared on the laptop’s lock screen. The person said they bought the laptop on Facebook from someone else.

Narendran and the person who claimed to have his laptop sent many messages back and forth and the person agreed to sell the laptop back to Narendran for $750.

Narendran said he reached out to police again seeking help in coordinating the exchange.

“They said that the only way in which this transaction can happen is if he comes to the police station to hand over the laptop, or I can use their parking lot to complete the transaction,” Narendran said, adding he was trying not to spook the person away.

He said the laptop had many personal files and a day planner that was also inside the laptop bag contained important personal information.

CTV News reached out to WRPS on Friday for comment on this case. On Monday, police said they’re looking into it, but need to gather more information before providing official comment.

On Monday afternoon, Narendran told CTV News he received a call from an officer who was looking for copies of the Facebook messages and information on the bus video.

Narendran said he feels there is a gap in the system when it comes to lower level crimes like this.

“I think this is one of the areas where you have a clear shot issue and you have a person who’s ready to give you the laptop, but unfortunately you have to pay them to get it back. You don’t get the right kind of support from the system,” he said.

Narendran said he’s still in communication with the person claiming to have his laptop. He says the device cost about $1,700 and he's hoping to get it back no matter how long it takes. 

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