Elon Musk Twitter needs every penny. With millions of dollars in allegedly unpaid rent and bills, plus $13 billion owed to lenders that financed its takeover, “there’s still a lot of work to be done” if the company is to avoid bankruptcy. Musk said last month.

Twitter recently auctioned off about $1.5 million worth of furniture and equipment from its San Francisco headquarters, down to little things like keyboards and USB sticks. But the company left tens or potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in sparkling assets gathering dust in the homes of former employees.

Some people fired or fired by Musk are puzzling over why Twitter didn’t bother to take their corporate laptops, the latest challenge in a takeover characterized by botched product launches, abrupt policy changes and delayed paychecks.

Eric Frohnhoefer, a California software engineer fired in November after clashing with Musk over a tweet, says he hasn’t heard a word about a return of his company-issued 2021 Apple MacBook Pro M1 Pro laptop ( 8/10 WIRED Recommends ). “It’s still in the closet,” he says. Like the laptops of the thousands of remote Twitter employees Musk has fired or allowed to retire since early November, it was digitally locked, rendering it useless.

Refurbished versions of his model can still go for around $1,000, with new ones selling for double that. Frohnhofer does not feel indebted to Musk and is in no rush to return the car. “I’m happy letting it sit there and be a brick,” he says.

Two other former Tweeps say they are less comfortable with custody of Musk’s expensive paperweights because they are among the workers still due severance pay and fear it could lead to further delays in their compensation or even to legal problems. In chat groups of former employees, more daring people discussed trying to crack their laptop’s lock code or wipe and reset the device, one of these sources said.

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.

Businesses typically want their devices returned to departing employees quickly to protect private data and save money by reducing equipment leases or by reusing and reselling. But there are exceptions. Snap and Airbnb have confirmed that they have allowed workers laid off during the pandemic to keep their corporate laptops.

Some former Twitter employees told colleagues they sent gear back after contacting the company for prepaid shipping boxes. Others have received generic emails over the past few days asking them to fill out a “Twitter Device Collection Survey,” several people said. But four of the five who spoke to WIRED did not receive the email themselves and are still looking after Musk’s estate.

“I think at this point Twitter thought that trying to take all these laptops back and there’s no place to store them — they haven’t paid their rent in a long time,” says Frank Man, a machine learning engineer. in Canada, was fired by Twitter in November. It was only last week that he learned from one of the private group chats that the comeback might finally be happening.

A survey seen by WIRED describes badges, authentication tokens, corporate credit cards, company-issued cell phones and laptop chargers as items that can be returned. However, monitors, keyboards, mice, display cables and stands do not need to be assembled, according to the form. It is not known what to do with the laptops of former employees.

The survey asks for an address to send the box to for returns, but also gives options to drop off equipment at some Twitter offices.

When WIRED wrote to the Twitter email address shared by the former worker about returning the equipment, an unsigned reply arrived about three hours later with a link to the form and a message that further instructions and a box would arrive within 30 days of shipping. One laid-off worker says they’re in no rush to fill it. “Ilon can wait.”

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