Update on stolen USB Key containing PhD data
USB Key containing PhD data- When the Montreal Times first broke the story of the Kohan’s family navy blue SUV Audi, being broken into last Saturday November 25th, they hoped getting the word out might in the least help them retrieve the most precious of the items stolen – Neil Kohan’s backpack with his Lenova thinkpad x131e and his USB key. On both items were his PhD dissertation with thousands of hours of work. He will have to redo all his experiments back in the lab and is not sure how long it will take until he can graduate.
They had come in from Syracuse, New York to visit a 90 year old relative for Thanksgiving. After packing up the SUV with their belongings (parked on Drummond St. near the corner of Sherbrooke) they went back up to her apartment for a final goodbye, then returned to the vehicule only to find a window had been broken and they had been robbed.
The outpouring of support from Montrealers, who have shared their story on social media and even sent them emails to let them know they cared, offered a ray of light – but their experience has been quite challenging and no concrete information has come in to date. After first discovering the break in, they contacted the police who came and wrote down the information, took the serial numbers of the computers and told them if anything comes up they would let them know.
After returning home, they decided to take things into their own hands and returned to Montreal to put up posters all over the area with the message, ‘$5000 Reward / Backpack with PhD data / No questions asked’.
Then when CTV News picked up on the story, they were surprised to read that the ‘Montreal police said the thief was caught on surveillance camera around noon’. And in their video interview with Neil, SPVM officer Manuel Couture was shown saying, “They looked at the images and they saw that a suspect was approaching the car, a white man in his 30’s with a beard, and he approached the car and left rapidly with the belongings that were inside the car.” Police have not made any arrests to date, but it offered them more hope.
Then Ellen Kohan, Neil’s mother contacted us to let us know something was not making any sense.
“My youngest son Paul, who has Neil & Melisa’s written consent to talk to the police about this case, called Officer J. Bonneau last night to talk about the person (Officer Couture) on the tape,” she said. Bonneau is the SPVM police officer they have been communicating with on the break in.
In an email to the Montreal Times, Paul wrote that he spoke directly with Officer Bonneau on Thursday night. She was unable to give him any information as to who the investigator was or to send Neil and Melissa her report. Instead, she directed him to the Archive Department. When he contacted that Department, he was told it would take close to 50 days to get a copy of the report. It was not what he had hoped to hear.
According to Paul, Bonneau said she had never seen the security video but had received it and he is confused how Manuel Couture could claim on CTV Montreal that the suspect was a ‘white guy with a beard’. This is especially confusing when today he contacted Unit 20 again and spoke with an officer who told him there was no investigator on the case. “How did Couture know the suspect if there was no investigator and that Bonneau never looked at the tape?” he asked.
It is a good question and one that will hopefully soon be clarified, as it is supposed to be under investigation.
In the meantime, they wrote to the Federal government and soon received a reply that they ‘are unable to personally intervene’ because the ‘oversight of police services fall under Provincial jurisdiction’, and were given the contact information to Martin Coiteux, Quebec’s Minister of Public Security, to whom they also sent a letter. They received the reply, ‘Please be assured that it will be brought to the attention of the people concerned for the proper follow-up’. There has been no word yet.
His mother Ellen sent a message to Mayor Plante’s office via their website and also called them directly on Friday morning. She quickly received a reply from their ‘Virtual Accès Montréal’ office: ‘Dear Sir or Madam: We acknowledge receipt of your e-mail. Your request has been forwarded to the Mayor’s Office’.
Let’s hope someone comes through with assistance or even better, somebody comes forward with information – or Neil’s computer.
We will continue to update you with any further developments.
Feature article: Neil Kohan – Teaching
Bonnie Wurst – firstname.lastname@example.org