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It was around 10:30 p.m. when Steve Jacobs rolled down the gravel driveway. The air was warm for early January, even for Florida. Yellow boat lights bobbed on St. Augustine’s harbor, and the scent of star jasmine hung on the breeze. Jacobs stepped onto his porch and found the door still locked. It had only been a few days since he had come home to find it mysteriously ajar.
When Jacobs sat down to work, however, he noticed his crate of files was missing. He headed to the kitchen, opened the top of his coffee maker, and looked inside. The hard drive he’d stashed there was gone too.
A police officer soon arrived, checked the doors, dusted for fingerprints. He carefully wrapped the coffee maker in a plastic bag and said he would forward it to the FBI.
Jacobs had his suspicions as to why his house had been burgled. For more than a year, he’d been locked in a protracted legal battle with one of the wealthiest men on Earth. Jacobs had filed a wrongful-termination case, accusing his former boss of ordering him to perform “illegal activities.” Could the burglary have been the desperate act of some yes-man or fixer, or even the gangsters he’d encountered while working in China? “I don’t know who is behind it,” Jacobs testified in a subsequent legal proceeding, admitting he had no facts to suggest it was his old employer. “I know who might have a benefit or interest in understanding what information I may have had.”