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Laptop Stolen from Dorm

DJ-99DJ-99 Registered User
edited January 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
I got back to college from Christmas break on Saturday to find that my 2-month old laptop had been stolen. It was attached to the desk with a standard laptop lock, which apparently you can cut through with wire cutters.

Now, my natural suspicion is that the cleaning lady stole it, although I could obviously be wrong. She's the only person who is "supposed to" enter my room over break, even though I was not permitted to deny her entrance.

Now, there were no signs of a break-in, and the door was left locked, which leads me to believe a key was used. Even if the cleaning lady herself didn't take it, I'm convinced it's her fault, because she might have left my room unlocked for any period of time.

I feel like this incident is completely my college's responsibility. Paying $8,000 a year just for room and board should provide you with the security that the college will not give out keys to people who are going to steal your stuff.

So my quetsion is, how should I go about complaining in order to try and get at least partial compensation for my computer? I go to a 1,400 student liberal arts college, so the administration is very accessible.

I don't want to point the finger at any one person, but I would like to make it clear that the college is at fault, because they can't just give people access to my room for all my stuff to be taken.

Also, I don't think there's any chance another student took it, because my $300 external hard drive was sitting right there and it didn't get stolen. I'm assuming the person who stole my computer knows very little about electronics, and is thus a low-level employee at the school.

Thanks for any advice. If there are questions I'll try to answer them tonight.

DJ-99 on
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Posts

  • tony_importanttony_important Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Speak with your RA (if you've got one)
    File a Police report.
    Then, move on to the people directly in charge with the residence. Ask them for compensation, or any surveillance info (like who was in and out of the building).
    Keep filing complaints, and speaking further up the chain. You might eventually get a response that is somewhat favorable.

    Hopefully you kept track of things like serial numbers, because the police will probably ask for stuff like that.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    1) Does your university have an on-campus police department? They would be the first people to contact.

    2) Second, contact your university residential housing department. It may go by a name like "Student Life" instead of something that makes sense like "Campus Housing."

    That said, I wouldn't get my hopes up if I were you. Stuff gets stolen/destroyed at college all the time, and a lot of universities (including the one I went to) have an escape clause in their housing contracts that say that they're not responsible for loss or damage to your property while you're living there. Dorm rooms are not secure and you really should have no expectation of security.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited January 2007
    We're required to take our valuables home over break (and...Why wouldn't you take your laptop to where ever you were going, or at least entrust it with a friend?) I don't know what your school policy is, but I think you should look to see if the school said it was void of that responsibility over break. I assume their reaction would be "you should have taken it home for the month"

    After that, I would talk to your RA and see if they can point you in the right direction.

    lma_iphone_icon.pngAA_iphone_icon.pngtwittersolid.pngtumbrsolid.png
  • supabeastsupabeast Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Your parents should have homeowners/renters insurance that will cover replacement costs. But don't expect anything from the school—like others have pointed out, they're not responsible for you leaving a laptop alone for a month. Next time take it with you.

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    supabeast wrote:
    Your parents should have homeowners/renters insurance that will cover replacement costs. But don't expect anything from the school—like others have pointed out, they're not responsible for you leaving a laptop alone for a month. Next time take it with you.
    Most homeowners policies don't cover theft unless there's some sign of forced entry.

  • ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2007
    File a police report and all that, but dude it's gone and the university isn't gonna buy you another. Braided steel cable is easy as hell to cut, even the vinyl-sheathed stuff. This shouldn't come as a surprise, a laptop is an incredibly expensive and incredibly portable item, it's roughly the perfect thing to steal if one is planning on stealing things from an unoccupied dorm-room.

    DAMM
    Drunks Against Mad Mothers
  • Kewop DecamKewop Decam Registered User
    edited January 2007
    you're pretty much boned. It's a hard way to learn a lesson, but you'll learn to be less careless with expensive items. I hope you didn't have any extremely important documents on the HD you need.

    pasigfa7.jpg
  • MarravicaMarravica Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Out of curiosity, why'd you leave it in the room over break? Why not just bring it home with you? That's what I always did.

  • ZekZek Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Yeah, seriously. I'm sure your school showed you a mountain of disclaimers about this at one point or another. Dorm rooms are not particularly secure, and they will be the target of thieves over winter break. To leave something like a laptop behind for that long is just stupid. Schools always tell you to take your valuables home over the break because they won't be responsible for anything that happens to them.

  • ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get along Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    This reminds me of a few years back when a coworker got a digital camera stolen out of his truck in his driveway. Apparently he felt he shouldn't have to lock his own doors in his own driveway. He was wrong.

    Speak with your RA and perhaps file a police report, but it probably won't get your laptop back. This is not the school's fault.

    edit: There also may be a slim chance of hope that perhaps someone did not steal it but put it somewhere secure. Does your college have a lost/found or a security office? I left my backpack once when I went to have dinner with a girl from school and when I came back it was gone. I was furious and immediately assumed it was stolen. It was not and I felt like a shit head. Granted my backpack isn't your laptop, but its worth a shot.

    steam_sig.png
  • LemmingLemming Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Isn't there some thing about those locks if it gets stolen and it's obviously been tampered with, they'll reimburse you? Did you have that with your lock?

  • Chief1138Chief1138 Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Lemming wrote:
    Isn't there some thing about those locks if it gets stolen and it's obviously been tampered with, they'll reimburse you? Did you have that with your lock?

    His point here is that the person who stole the laptop actually works for the university and thus had a key, so he/she didn't need to do any lock-tampering...

    sounds kind of ambiguous to me, I'm guessing you're pretty much at the mercy of whichever governing institution at your school that makes these decisions. They'll probably just hand you a line about how you should take your valuables with you when you leave the dorm for extended periods of time, and no doubt there is something to this effect in the contract you signed when you first moved in.

    My roommate last year was very drunk when he got back from his gf's room after a night of sex and couldn't remember a few things: 1 he was no longer in her room 2 that was my bed he was trying to get into and 3 that i wasn't the gf and not into doggy style. Needless to say he sobered up quickly and its not like anything really happened...
  • DrFrylockDrFrylock Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Could also be the person who had your room previous to you and made a copy of the key. Stopped back at his/her old dorm over the break and, oh look, free laptop. Let's come back late tonight and snag it.

    Spoiler:
  • ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2007
    DrFrylock wrote:
    Could also be the person who had your room previous to you and made a copy of the key. Stopped back at his/her old dorm over the break and, oh look, free laptop. Let's come back late tonight and snag it.
    Those keys are usually the "do not duplicate" ones that you can't find blanks for unless you're a bonded locksmith, and can't pay someone to duplicate without being on a list of "the people allowed to duplicate this key".

    DAMM
    Drunks Against Mad Mothers
  • Chief1138Chief1138 Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Also, I'm not sure how it works where you live but over breaks my dorm is pretty much completely locked down so that no one can even get in the front door of the building. Kind of narrows down the list of possible suspects...

    My roommate last year was very drunk when he got back from his gf's room after a night of sex and couldn't remember a few things: 1 he was no longer in her room 2 that was my bed he was trying to get into and 3 that i wasn't the gf and not into doggy style. Needless to say he sobered up quickly and its not like anything really happened...
  • aesiraesir __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2007
    could they get in through a window?

    Also, most schools make you agree to the usual "We're not responsible if your stuff gets stolen" thing.

  • DJ-99DJ-99 Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Obviously, in retrospect, I should have taken my computer home with me. However, there was no reason to (except for safety, I guess). I have computers at home that nobody but me uses, and I had limited space in my car as it was.

    Plus, the thing is, our dorms are VERY safe. Nobody gets into our dorms if they're not supposed to. The problem is, I'm almost positive my computer was stolen by somebody who IS allowed in our dorms. That's the real thing I'm bitching about. If it were some random thief then I wouldn't be blaming the college. My issue is that I'm pretty sure they gave my dorm key to the criminal. Generally there's no need to worry about strangers taking stuff from your room.

    I'm going to look to see if there's any type of guarantee that came with my lock, and also check with my insurance policy.

  • MasterDebaterMasterDebater Registered User
    edited January 2007
    I got my DESKTOP computer stolen from a THIRD-STORY dorm room one spring break. Doors locked and everything. The window was open, and screen was busted out. Apparently that was enough for the uni to disavow responsibility.

    Fortunately in that case homeowners insurance covered it. But like everyone's been saying, don't expect the college to do jack.

    Spoiler:
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited January 2007
    yeah, you should have taken it with you. For all you know a student or someone could have stolen a key from an employee and been checking out the rooms for loose valuables. I just don't know if blaming the work staff is really going to get the university to help you. They might have to let separate companies come in to do electrical or heating or whatever (especially at a small school), and they probably don't claim responsibility for what those workers take from dorms. If you know a stranger has the key to your door (I mean, RAs also have keys at my school) keep your valuables safe, you never know where spare keys can float to.

    lma_iphone_icon.pngAA_iphone_icon.pngtwittersolid.pngtumbrsolid.png
  • ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get along Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    DrFrylock wrote:
    Could also be the person who had your room previous to you and made a copy of the key. Stopped back at his/her old dorm over the break and, oh look, free laptop. Let's come back late tonight and snag it.
    Those keys are usually the "do not duplicate" ones that you can't find blanks for unless you're a bonded locksmith, and can't pay someone to duplicate without being on a list of "the people allowed to duplicate this key".

    This is absolutely true. I stole a key at my highschool my senior year to the underground AV room to setup a senior prank that involved airing porn across the school instead of the channel one news gig. I tried to copy the key at several places (walmart, lowes, home depot) only to find out they couldn't do it because they don't carry those types of keys. The difference between the keys is the length and I think there may be more tumblers on the lock. I took it to a locksmith who immediately knew what was going on and I got busted.

    I would try to find out who all had access to the dorms over break for starters.

    steam_sig.png
  • stigweardstigweard Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Most locks are useless. You can get past them with a bump key. It was big news a while back but everyone seems to have forgotten about them. Anyone with an internet connection and a bit of patience can make some. If it was as locked down as you say, security footage on the doors might actually be useful since there won't be too many people through the doors during that time.

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Shogun wrote:
    DrFrylock wrote:
    Could also be the person who had your room previous to you and made a copy of the key. Stopped back at his/her old dorm over the break and, oh look, free laptop. Let's come back late tonight and snag it.
    Those keys are usually the "do not duplicate" ones that you can't find blanks for unless you're a bonded locksmith, and can't pay someone to duplicate without being on a list of "the people allowed to duplicate this key".
    This is absolutely true. I stole a key at my highschool my senior year to the underground AV room to setup a senior prank that involved airing porn across the school instead of the channel one news gig. I tried to copy the key at several places (walmart, lowes, home depot) only to find out they couldn't do it because they don't carry those types of keys. The difference between the keys is the length and I think there may be more tumblers on the lock. I took it to a locksmith who immediately knew what was going on and I got busted.

    I would try to find out who all had access to the dorms over break for starters.
    I won't go into the particulars, but it's not all that difficult to get those keys copied if you know what you're doing.

  • ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get along Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Thanatos wrote:
    Shogun wrote:
    DrFrylock wrote:
    Could also be the person who had your room previous to you and made a copy of the key. Stopped back at his/her old dorm over the break and, oh look, free laptop. Let's come back late tonight and snag it.
    Those keys are usually the "do not duplicate" ones that you can't find blanks for unless you're a bonded locksmith, and can't pay someone to duplicate without being on a list of "the people allowed to duplicate this key".
    This is absolutely true. I stole a key at my highschool my senior year to the underground AV room to setup a senior prank that involved airing porn across the school instead of the channel one news gig. I tried to copy the key at several places (walmart, lowes, home depot) only to find out they couldn't do it because they don't carry those types of keys. The difference between the keys is the length and I think there may be more tumblers on the lock. I took it to a locksmith who immediately knew what was going on and I got busted.

    I would try to find out who all had access to the dorms over break for starters.
    I won't go into the particulars, but it's not all that difficult to get those keys copied if you know what you're doing.

    Well I didn't. Next time I plan on committing some felonies I'll give you a call. And OP keep us updated this thread could be useful for future reference. I also want to know if you get your comp back.

    steam_sig.png
  • MarravicaMarravica Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Thanatos wrote:
    Shogun wrote:
    DrFrylock wrote:
    Could also be the person who had your room previous to you and made a copy of the key. Stopped back at his/her old dorm over the break and, oh look, free laptop. Let's come back late tonight and snag it.
    Those keys are usually the "do not duplicate" ones that you can't find blanks for unless you're a bonded locksmith, and can't pay someone to duplicate without being on a list of "the people allowed to duplicate this key".
    This is absolutely true. I stole a key at my highschool my senior year to the underground AV room to setup a senior prank that involved airing porn across the school instead of the channel one news gig. I tried to copy the key at several places (walmart, lowes, home depot) only to find out they couldn't do it because they don't carry those types of keys. The difference between the keys is the length and I think there may be more tumblers on the lock. I took it to a locksmith who immediately knew what was going on and I got busted.

    I would try to find out who all had access to the dorms over break for starters.
    I won't go into the particulars, but it's not all that difficult to get those keys copied if you know what you're doing.

    And I'm actually King of three different countries.

    See, I can make shit up too with zero evidence. Keys that have 'Do Not Duplicate' on them are extremely difficult to get copied, and it's pretty safe to say that if you have those kinds of connections, you aren't going to be wasting your time getting dorm keys duplicated.

  • Evil_ReaverEvil_Reaver Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Marravica wrote:
    Thanatos wrote:
    Shogun wrote:
    DrFrylock wrote:
    Could also be the person who had your room previous to you and made a copy of the key. Stopped back at his/her old dorm over the break and, oh look, free laptop. Let's come back late tonight and snag it.
    Those keys are usually the "do not duplicate" ones that you can't find blanks for unless you're a bonded locksmith, and can't pay someone to duplicate without being on a list of "the people allowed to duplicate this key".
    This is absolutely true. I stole a key at my highschool my senior year to the underground AV room to setup a senior prank that involved airing porn across the school instead of the channel one news gig. I tried to copy the key at several places (walmart, lowes, home depot) only to find out they couldn't do it because they don't carry those types of keys. The difference between the keys is the length and I think there may be more tumblers on the lock. I took it to a locksmith who immediately knew what was going on and I got busted.

    I would try to find out who all had access to the dorms over break for starters.
    I won't go into the particulars, but it's not all that difficult to get those keys copied if you know what you're doing.

    And I'm actually King of three different countries.

    See, I can make shit up too with zero evidence. Keys that have 'Do Not Duplicate' on them are extremely difficult to get copied, and it's pretty safe to say that if you have those kinds of connections, you aren't going to be wasting your time getting dorm keys duplicated.

    I really feel like a jackass for doing this, but Than isn't all that off base. Of course, I can't prove it because it's of questionable legality, but there are ways to get around that whole "Do Not Copy" thing. Let's just say that my supervisor, the lead network engineer at a very prominent private school in LA, was flipping shit when we watched a video on security that detailed how to break in to buildings using generic keys so that you didn't have to force your way in.

    No, you don't have to believe us on this since we can't prove it on the boards, but there really are ways to do these sorts of things.

    XBL: Agitated Wombat | 3DS: 2363-7048-2527
  • DrFrylockDrFrylock Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Did anybody else get something stolen? Because it could also be that a universal key got out. When one of those is lost, the expense of rekeying a whole building is generally so high that they just say 'forget it.'

    Spoiler:
  • unilateralunilateral Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    On the whole thing about people getting a key copied from the year before, at my school, the locks are taken off of the doors every summer and switched around so that you can't save a key or something. It doesn't take much to switch the locks around on those doors when they have those tools that just pull them out.
    I guess I don't know what I'm talking about when it comes to the technicalities, but it took the building service workers about 15 seconds to switch out my lock when my roommate got suspended from school.

  • TehSpectreTehSpectre Ragamuffin Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Wow, this is a really crappy situation here man....I really think that the school would be able to help you figure out what can be done here. I would personally ask to be present when the security tape is viewed. Fuck, who knows how long they can/will run you around before something gets done.

    Be persistant. It pays to be nice and understanding of the rules and regulations of the school and not being a dick about it at first. If they start to give you the run-around, don that asshat becvause they are helpful in these situations. Sometimes it really can pay to be a dick.

    efsx.jpg
  • lordswinglordswing Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Chief1138 wrote:
    Lemming wrote:
    Isn't there some thing about those locks if it gets stolen and it's obviously been tampered with, they'll reimburse you? Did you have that with your lock?

    His point here is that the person who stole the laptop actually works for the university and thus had a key, so he/she didn't need to do any lock-tampering...

    sounds kind of ambiguous to me, I'm guessing you're pretty much at the mercy of whichever governing institution at your school that makes these decisions. They'll probably just hand you a line about how you should take your valuables with you when you leave the dorm for extended periods of time, and no doubt there is something to this effect in the contract you signed when you first moved in.

    I thought Lemming was referring to the laptop lock, I thought they had some guarantee if tampering was done.

    "MicroSaver Guaranteed Notebook Replacement is the strongest security cable from Kensington backed the industry's first replacement guarantee. Kensington will replace up to $1,500 per laptop and up to $10,000 per year per purchaser under its replacement guarantee program. "
    http://us.kensington.com/html/2221.html

    D2:LoD East -> *FlipPaulHewitt
  • DJ-99DJ-99 Registered User
    edited January 2007
    I think I found my laptop listed on Craigslist, in Philly.

    I'm not sure, obviously, b/c there aren't any pictures posted.

    However, it's described to the TEE. Especially the "4 months old" part. I'm pretty sure I bought it in September, but I'll check my bank account to make sure.

    How to proceed?

    Also, my lock was a Kensington but a different model, which looks like didn't come with a guarantee. It was the only one available in our book store, otherwise I would have bought one with a guarantee.

  • ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get along Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    DJ-99 wrote:
    I think I found my laptop listed on Craigslist, in Philly.

    I'm not sure, obviously, b/c there aren't any pictures posted.

    However, it's described to the TEE. Especially the "4 months old" part. I'm pretty sure I bought it in September, but I'll check my bank account to make sure.

    How to proceed?

    Also, my lock was a Kensington but a different model, which looks like didn't come with a guarantee. It was the only one available in our book store, otherwise I would have bought one with a guarantee.

    Set up a meeting and act like you're going to purchase the laptop. You need to see the computer itself and preferably play around with it to find out if it really is yours. Does it have any distinguishing marks on it or anything? If it is yours call the fucking police and have that shitfuck arrested.

    steam_sig.png
  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt Damn you, eidetic memory! Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    DrFrylock wrote:
    Did anybody else get something stolen? Because it could also be that a universal key got out. When one of those is lost, the expense of rekeying a whole building is generally so high that they just say 'forget it.'

    See at my school, when I worked security/maintenance, if a universal key got loose, they immediately had all the locks replaced, then billed it to whomever let the key slip. Had one of those suckers get dropped behind the security desk once. It was a pretty tense afternoon, let me tell you.

    Origin ID: Null_Cypher
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  • iTunesIsEviliTunesIsEvil Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    DJ-99 wrote:
    I think I found my laptop listed on Craigslist, in Philly.

    I'm not sure, obviously, b/c there aren't any pictures posted.

    However, it's described to the TEE. Especially the "4 months old" part. I'm pretty sure I bought it in September, but I'll check my bank account to make sure.

    How to proceed?

    Also, my lock was a Kensington but a different model, which looks like didn't come with a guarantee. It was the only one available in our book store, otherwise I would have bought one with a guarantee.
    Most of the time you buy a laptop you get a receipt with the serial # on it. Try to match that up with the item on Craigslist. Set up a meeting in a public place and find out.

  • tony_importanttony_important Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Shogun wrote:
    Set up a meeting and act like you're going to purchase the laptop. You need to see the computer itself and preferably play around with it to find out if it really is yours. Does it have any distinguishing marks on it or anything? If it is yours call the fucking police and have that shitfuck arrested.

    I would be cautious with this approach. If the person has deleted any pictures/vids/anything that might have your face on it, they might recognize you.

    Poke around with it, but if it's really yours, and you're 100% sure, call the cops.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • lordswinglordswing Registered User
    edited January 2007
    I had a friend of a friend who had his laptop stolen, found it later on eBay. The basics you MUST do if you attempt something like this, do NOT meet the person. Instead, plan a place to meet if possible, like a restaurant or something, VERY public. Have the police nearby so you can verify the culprit (ask them to wear green or something) and don't go alone.

    D2:LoD East -> *FlipPaulHewitt
  • NswyersNswyers Registered User
    edited January 2007
    File a police report.

    Basically, you are either dealing with some janitor who stole your laptop and is selling it on the internet, or you are dealing with someone much more dangerous. In any case, don't try to be a hero and find them yourself--call the police. You really can't file any complaints with your school anyway until this is done.

    You will also need your laptop's serial number, as this is the 100% only way you can prove it is your machine.

  • DJ-99DJ-99 Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Ok if they cleared the hard drive, I could do a system restore, right? How long does that take to complete?

    Also, I could go through with the purchase, give them a check, and have my bank cancel the check maybe. If they complain, say fuck you I'll press charges for stealing my laptop.

  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited January 2007
    DJ-99 wrote:
    Ok if they cleared the hard drive, I could do a system restore, right? How long does that take to complete?

    Also, I could go through with the purchase, give them a check, and have my bank cancel the check maybe. If they complain, say fuck you I'll press charges for stealing my laptop.

    That'd be a really bad idea.

    Aside from the possiblilty of you know, getting killed, the police gennerally require stolen items to be in the possession of the criminal for it to be theft. Also committing bank fraud usually isn't a way to make friends with your bank or the po-po.

    Yes, stolen laptop sucks, but not worth all that.

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  • Bionic MonkeyBionic Monkey Registered User, ClubPA
    edited January 2007
    DJ-99 wrote:
    Ok if they cleared the hard drive, I could do a system restore, right? How long does that take to complete?

    Also, I could go through with the purchase, give them a check, and have my bank cancel the check maybe. If they complain, say fuck you I'll press charges for stealing my laptop.
    No, just contact the police, tell them what happened, and you're pretty sure you've found the laptop for sale online.

    sig_megas_armed.jpg
  • khainkhain Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    DJ-99 wrote:
    Ok if they cleared the hard drive, I could do a system restore, right? How long does that take to complete?

    Also, I could go through with the purchase, give them a check, and have my bank cancel the check maybe. If they complain, say fuck you I'll press charges for stealing my laptop.
    No, just contact the police, tell them what happened, and you're pretty sure you've found the laptop for sale online.

    Assuming they wiped the drive your going to need the serial number to prove anything and even if they didn't it would still be a good idea since you need some sort of definitive evidence to prove its yours.

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