Mmmm…vigilante justice

This story is too ridiculous not to pass along. A guy in Philly gets his TV, Xbox 360 and laptop stolen. He goes to the cops but doesn’t get much help (probably because they are so busy not solving the crapload of murders in the city that they don’t have time to not solve a burglary case). So he puts his story up on and, after some ill-advised taunting from one of the burglars over Xbox Live, the gaming community manages to track down the thieves and harass them into returning the stolen goods.

I’m not even sure how to read this. It will definitely be sold in online forums as a tale of the collective might of the gaming community. And certainly if you ever get gamers to stop splitting down platform lines and all move in one direction they can do great things. But the incident is certainly problematic, although not for the online vigilant angle. The methods involved underline the problems of the internet. A group of geeks were able to start with a person’s GamerTag and end up with everything about him: name, address, photos, videos. I’d be way more worried about people using that expertise maliciously than about a group of gamers harassing a petty thief.

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