Student Uses Wireless Controller to Track Down Stolen Xbox 360

We love it when the good guys win.

A clever student at Missouri State University used the Xbox 360 controller’s wireless capabilities to track down his stolen console, reports school newspaper the Standard.

It seems that someone swiped Ryan Ketsenburg’s 360 from his dorm room after the sophomore forgot to lock his door. He managed to recover his system, however, with a tidy piece of detective work:

Ketsenburg… turned on his wireless Xbox controller and found that it was still connecting to his Xbox. Based on this discovery, Ketsenburg said he realized that his Xbox must be nearby…

The controller connected to the Xbox on the fourth, fifth and sixth floors of Hutchens but not on the third floor and seventh floor, so through process of elimination, Ketsenburg said he figured out that the stolen Xbox must be on the fifth floor.

Following the controller’s signal, Ketsenburg said he was able to pinpoint the room where his Xbox was stolen… The 5th floor resident assistant checked the alleged room where the stolen Xbox was and was able to find the Xbox, Ketsenburg said.

The controller was able to prove that the Xbox belonged to Ketsenburg, because the controller was able to turn on the console unit, he said.

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  1. Corey says:

    I have two controllers for my 360 but I put one of them away in my closet until company comes over. This guy probably does the same or something similar. The theif was probably in a rush to get in and out so grabbed the xbox and the nearby controller. There was no way for him to even know there was a second or third controller somewhere in the dormroom. I guess the lesson to be learned here is to not steal xboxes from people who live within a few dozen feet of you. Or not to steal xboxes at all.

  2. Meggie says:

    I love "geeks gets one over on thief" stories. My favorite is still the girl who used remote desktop to take a picture of her laptop thief with her webcam.

  3. Frommonday says:

    Handy bit of detective work, this.

    Criminal charges sound likely, vandalism for the destruction of the data on the HD and theft for the theft of the unit. The guy who did it is likely going to be expelled from the school as well, as he’s been caught dead to rights. Authorities KNOW it was the stolen unit, and it was in his dorm room.

    Unless he’s got some very rich parents, he’s going to have a nice little record which makes employment and enrollment in school much more interesting.

  4. Zero Beat says:

    That was brilliant.  Absolutely brilliant.  And what wonderful deduction!  Sherlock Holmes would be proud, if he were real.  I really do mean all of that.

    "That’s not ironic. That’s justice."

  5. Lucid says:

    Wireless controllers sync with the last x-box 360 they were connected to. Unless you sync a controller up with another Xbox, it will always try to connect to the last machine it was connected to. Turning on the controller will turn on the console. The controller has 4 lights around the xbox button in the middle. If you are player 1, you’ll see the top left quadrant lit up. Each player has a different quadrant.

    But the wireless has a limited broadcast range, just like a wifi hotspot or any other wireless device. If you take your controller too far away from the machine, it will lose its connection. I’m not sure if the controller turns off at this point or if the LED rings all blink in a sequence to represent a lost signal. Either way, you can tell when your controller is out of range.

    By walking around and making notes on where the controller loses sync, you can make a rough guess as to where the xbox is. By going up and down floors he worked out which floor the xbox was most likely to be, and by walking around that floor he worked out which room it was most likely to be in.

  6. zel says:

    Nah, its just becoming a common theft in campuses apparently, something similar happened but he didn’t track it down with the controller.


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  7. konrad_arflane says:

    Maybe his own XBox red-ringed on him and he already had all the controllers he needed?

    Or perhaps more likely, only one controller was lying around. That’s often the case at my place, since I rarely have gaming visitors.

    But yeah: stupid. But then, intelligence never was a requirement for being a thieving scumbag.

  8. zel says:

    the kind that gets caught?


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  9. Nocturne says:

    At the moment, no idea, at the least suspended I would have thought, but Ketsenburg is going to prosecute, the hard drive was wiped so he’s lucky he’s not getting death!

  10. zel says:

    Ahhh, love it when theives get caught red-handed 😛 


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  11. zel says:

    wow man, wiped his info thinking that would make it untrackable ehh?  well new lesson to xbox thieves in dorms, steal ALL the controllers. Lesson to xbox users in dorms, always keep one of the sync’d controllers hidden somewhere safe so you can walk around with it later searching for your xbox 😛


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