It's highly likely this ThinkPad is hot. ThinkPads are known for their security because it leaves the thieves (or the unfortunate forgetter) with a practically useless laptop. The most valueable thing you can do is tear it down and sell the unaffected parts.
The power on passwords are stored in non-volatile ram, which means just popping out the bios battery won't work. If you can't remember the password, you have to take it apart and replace the memory chip that the power on password resides in, or replace the entire motherboard.
You can hire someone to do this for anywhere from $100-$800.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth