...a crafty loser, I must say.
CRIME SCENE UPDATE:
So before resigning myself to having to get another laptop after last night's 'grab and dash', I spent this morning wheeling around town to some of the closest Pawn shops just to see if it might have shown up.
Think like a criminal, I thought. Lucky me, it'd been taken to number 3.
And the owner (who was most pleasant and let me turn it on --- all data still there) let me identify it without even asking me for serial numbers or anything. I must have looked that desperate, or honest, or both. Police were contacted and now I'm just having to wait for an officer or someone from Crime division to come down and take a statement and then it can be released to me.
Other bit of good fortune was fact that Dell laptop's have two numbers on the bottom - the Tag Number and the Express Service Code. I had the Tag number from the original receipt, and had given that to the police, but not the Express Code. It was the Express Code the pawn shop owner had entered into his database (which is linked to the police database). So it might not have surfaced via that check.
Pawn shop owner also gave me waaaaay too much info about the perp...how disappointed he was in her since she thought she was starting to get her life together, but speculated she'd been forced to pawn it by someone else.
I didn't really care...my baby's back. Phew.