I felt like an informant when I found out my ex-DBA had forgotten to turn in his laptop when his contract expired. As the team lead, I was told to gather up his ID and access card before he left the building. Ted did not have a problem with ending his contract with us. The commute was killing him and he was spending too many evenings connecting remotely to several databases that he was responsible for.
After three months, desktop security informed me that Ted did not return his laptop and that a warrant was issued by the Los Angeles Police. Ted was going to be visited by two police officers who was going to take him in for stealing a company laptop.
I called Ted at once to inform him of his wrongdoing. I remembered telling Ted not to go home and to return the laptop immediately. The police was going to arrest Ted for stealing and they did not care about the laptop. It was going to be on the local news and it wasn't going to go down easy. Poor Ted would have a mark on his record for stealing corporate data on a laptop.
Before the end of day, I called the Head of Security and negotiated with him to call off the arrest if Ted would agreed to return the laptop to a specified location by a certain date. At first, his decision was not going to budge. The laptop had over $100,00.00 worth of software licences on it and with a replicated database of company data on it, the laptop was worth more than the hardware cost.
After talking it through, the Head of Security thought it was a reasonable mistake that anyone could have overlooked and so he agreed upon a lesser sentence. He made the phone call to the Los Angeles Police to call off the arrest and told them they would recover the unit themselves.
On the date set, Ted showed up in the parking lot in Simi Valley and gladly returned the laptop to the Head of Security. No charges were laid.
Companies provide laptops to consultants/ contractors and expect them to take care of their property while employed. For safekeeping, companies would often provide padded cases for the laptops. Before leaving the country, check with your supervisor or manager whether the laptop can leave the country. Some companies expect you to remote access into their corporate servers from the same country. It is best to check with your employer before taking the laptop abroad. And when your employment terminates, be sure to return the laptop and case to them before leaving their premises.
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