A 22-year-old who stole a Microsoft Xbox 360 game console is now facing criminal charges after he was caught by automatically logging into the Xbox Live account of the console’s real owner.
Jeremy Gilliam, 22, logged into Microsoft’s online Xbox Live service using the legitimate owner’s online Gamertag that automatically logged in each time Xbox Live was started. The teenager whose Xbox was stolen, used a different Xbox 360 and logged on to Xbox Live, where he found his gamertag was in use.
The victim told his parents, who then called the police to report the theft. Authorities worked with Microsoft to identify an IP address that could be used to track down the physical location of the suspect.
Gilliam, who was suspected of stealing items from at least a dozen unlocked cars, was located at his grandmother’s house, where police found stolen video games, game consoles, notebooks, and other electronics. According to New York City detectives, the suspect had at least 53 stolen items in the house, and the investigation is still ongoing.
Detectives believe Gilliam could be linked to as many as 200 car break-ins and a few home burglaries, though the suspect has been charged with only one grand larceny count.
Electronics owners have long pleaded with manufacturers to try to create a system to identify individual game consoles and gadgets, but it has been an uphill battle. Game consoles and other popular devices are routinely sold through Ebay, Craigslist, and on the street — police believe a portion of those products are obtained illegally, but it’s very difficult to recover stolen items.