Buyer beware, you could be on the hook for stolen products

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Honolulu police are investigating a robbery that occurred Friday, Nov. 11, at Ala Moana Center.

Police sources tell us a driver was making a delivery when two suspects, one of them armed, stole the vehicle.

They say it was filled with Apple products worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Police opened a first-degree robbery investigation, but no arrests have been made. The stolen goods are still missing and anyone with information is asked to call police.

With the holiday shopping season coming up, police are warning shoppers to watch where and who you buy from.

Police say if you knowingly purchase a stolen product, you could be arrested for theft. Even if you didn’t know, police say once they determine an item was stolen, they’ll take it away from you.

So how do you know if you’re buying a stolen item, and what can happen if you do?

We reached out to Apple, but were told it doesn’t discuss anything regarding stolen merchandise. It did, however, point out a list of authorized retailers on its website.

Mac Made Easy in Kailua is one of them. The manager said beware of other third-party vendors via Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or people selling on the street. It makes it harder to track down the product’s authenticity.

Apple products have fixed price points, so if someone is selling a new product for cheap, it’s probably too good to be true.

“The best thing to do if you’re thinking about buying from someone online, have them meet you here (at Mac Made Easy),” said manager Melissa Downey. “We can run tests on it. We can verify it before you even purchase it, and you know you’re getting a valid product that is not stolen.”

“If you’re buying from Joe Blow standing on the street and he says, ‘Hey, I’ve got Xboxes for $100!’ You have to use common sense, know something is wrong with this picture,” said Sgt. Kim Buffett of CrimeStoppers. “The responsibility is on you to make sure what you’re buying is from a reputable person. Make sure you have receipts or documentation.”

Apple products have serial numbers that will be flagged if stolen.

In a statement, a spokeswoman said, “The Honolulu Police Department advises consumers to only buy items from reputable sellers. When it comes to ‘new in box’ items, sellers should have documentation of the original purchase. If purchasing high-ticket items online – like through Craigslist – ask the seller for their identification. If the seller is hesitant to provide that information, the item may be stolen.”

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