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Inscribed gift leads police to alleged perp

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A US mum tracked down a thief who burgled her home after the ill-gotten gains were offered for sale on eBay. Karen Todd, a US Census Bureau computer programmer, spotted a personally-inscribed iPod on the auction site weeks after it was robbed from her Washington DC area home.

Todd's home was burgled on 7 April. Thieves made off with an Apple iBook laptop, a digital camera, an amethyst dinner ring inherited from Todd's grandmother and the iPod. The latter, a Christmas gift from Todd to her husband Dan, was inscribed with lyrics from the song Have a Little Faith in Me, by John Hiatt.

Apple had stopped making that model, so Todd was advised by work colleagues to look on eBay for a similar model. Her search was initially fruitless but it didn't take long for the stolen iPod with the distinctive inscription "When your back is against the wall, turn around and see" to appear on the site.

"I was shocked and almost in tears," Todd told the Washington Post. "I was like, 'That's mine! That's mine!' I was just floored. When I found it, I clicked on 'see seller's other items,' and when I scrolled through, lo and behold, there was my [laptop]."

Todd reported the find to police who traced the stolen items back through a Maryland sports memorabilia dealer - who unwittingly offered several sets of stolen goods for sale - to Ibrahima Kalil Toure, 21, the suspected burglar. Toure was subsequently charged with 12 counts of burglary realating to breaks-ins at various homes in the DC area. He is in jail on remand awaiting trial.

As reward for her community-spirited efforts, Todd will receive a $100 Best Buy gift from police as well as the return of the stolen items and a special commendation from Bowie City Council. "She pretty much cracked the case," Prince George's County police Detective Ray Gignac told the Washington Post. ®

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