Three quarters (75 percent) of Brits would try and retrieve a stolen laptop themselves if they knew its location, says Absolute Software.
Research by the security software firm revealed 25 to 34 year-olds were the age group most likely to turn 'have-a-go-hero' with 68 percent admitting they'd want to get the device back themselves. Furthermore, men are more willing to turn vigilante than women, with 75 percent of males compared to 64 percent of females claiming they'd take the law into their own hands.
When it comes to the lengths Brits will go to, to ensure they get their device back, over a third (37 percent) said they would beg for their laptop back, while just under a third would sell their favourite pair of shoes and a quarter would walk 50 miles.
However, just over half (52 percent) said they back-up their files on their laptop, while one in ten admitted they don't use password and a quarter admitted they'd be more upset at having their laptop stolen than they would if their smartphone was taken.
"The increase in people's willingness to play detective by trying to find and confront laptop thieves is an alarming trend," said Absolute's Head of Recovery in EMEA, Derek Skinner.
"Taking the law into your own hands has become a viable option, thanks to the plethora of tracking devices now available for electronic goods, despite the obvious dangers. And as more apparently successful examples of going it alone are reported by the media, the more people feel encouraged to give it a try themselves."
However, Skinner said stolen laptops are often quickly resold.
"If a person innocently purchased a stolen laptop they may not be a 'thief' at all – and you may be going after someone who is innocent," he added citing a recent case where the rightful owner of a smartphone attacked an innocent person regarding theft and was arrested on charges of assault and disorderly conduct," he said.
"Even if you are the rightful owner of the property, privacy laws may supersede in a court of law. An owner using software to locate his or her own laptop could be breaking the law and then be subject to criminal and civil liability. In any case of theft, the police should be immediately involved, and the recovery of the device left to the professionals."