Controller Used to Find Stolen Xbox360

A Missouri State student tracked down his stolen Xbox 360 by using the console's wireless controller.

The detective work was actually ingenious on part of Ryan Ketsenburg, a sophomore construction management major. As most Xbox 360 owners know, each controller is registered (synced) with the console, giving the wireless devices exclusive rights to power up and control the hardware remotely. With a range of thirty feet, the controller can activate the Xbox 360 literally from anywhere in the house, whether it's from the bathroom while sitting on the toilet, or outside on the street corner soliciting for Microsoft Points.

According to a report filed with the Springfiled Police Department back on November 21, Ketsenburg discovered that his Xbox 360 console was missing from his dorm room the morning after returning from a trip the night before with his roommate. Tired and diving into bed immediately upon arrival, the students forgot to lock the door, thus allowing the thief to sneak in during the night and steal the gaming console... but without the controller.

After discovering the missing hardware the next morning, Ketsenburg claims that he powered up the controller and observed that the wireless device still connected to the host console remotely.

Evidently, the console still resided in the dorm.

Taking note, Ketsenburg tracked down the console by closely watching the four LEDs on the controller. The LEDs lit up on the fourth, fifth and sixth floors, but remained dark on the third and seventh floors. By process of elimination, he deducted that his Xbox 360 was tucked away in a room on the 5th floor; the LED grew steady as he came closer to the door of the alleged room. After alerting the 5th floor resident assistant, the console was confiscated but not returned to Ketsenburg.

With the hard drive formatted and all of his personal account data lost, the only way Ketsenburg could prove that the Xbox 360 was solely his property was to turn on the console via the registered wireless controller. Apparently, the activation was enough to convince the dorm supervisor of Ketenburg's claims, thus the campus returned the console to its owner. Had the alleged thief pressed the synch button next to the USB flap on the front, Ketenburg's controller may not have ever connected.

Ticked off by the whole incident, Ketenburg plans to take legal action against the alleged thief. "I'm going to try to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law, because I had to follow all the rules, so let's make sure it gets done right," Ketsenburg told The Standard.

At the time of the report, the alleged thief had not returned to his dorm room to discover that his prize had been reclaimed. What was the lesson learned here? The Xbox 360 controller may not be able to track down hidden aliens or locate buried money on the beach, but it may come in handy when someone jacks your console.

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more.