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Been Robbed Recently? Check Ebay 229

Posted by kdawson
from the pawn-shop-of-the-new-century dept.
fistfullast33l writes "A man from Great Neck, Long Island has been arrested on charges of stealing electronic equipment and selling it on Ebay. The police were tipped off when one of his alleged victims was searching for a replacement GPS device and found a perfect match on eBay — almost too perfect. A quick check of the serial number (note to cyber-criminals: don't post those) showed that it was the exact device that had been stolen." From the article: "Police and prosecutors were hesitant to provide details of how they determined all the devices had been stolen, but at least two of the laptops were stamped 'Property of St. John's University.' Detective Ray Cote noted that the GPS devices specifically had the addresses of the legitimate owners programmed in and police were now contacting those victims to eventually return the items."
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Been Robbed Recently? Check Ebay

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  • Eventually? (Score:5, Funny)

    by hahafaha (844574) * <lgrinberg@gmail.com> on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:04PM (#17517806)
    ...police were now contacting those victims to eventually return the items.

    Just a minute, sir. I'm almost done downloading this pr0n.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by aussie_a (778472)
      No, you see one of the perks of being a policeman is getting to use stolen property for a while before it's returned.
  • well (Score:5, Funny)

    by User 956 (568564) on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:07PM (#17517828) Homepage
    A man from Great Neck, Long Island has been arrested on charges of stealing electronic equipment and selling it on Ebay.

    A++++ WOULD DEFINITELY STEAL FROM AGAIN
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by blantonl (784786)
      Reply by blantonl: Didn't steal just borrowed. Enjoy the goods and please come again!
    • by Kangburra (911213)
      A++++ WOULD DEFINITELY STEAL FROM AGAIN


      I had mod points, but you're already +5 Funny, should be more.

      That's a /. classic! :-)
  • by carterhawk001 (681941) on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:09PM (#17517856) Journal
    Ive been wondering, what will happen to the people who bought from him? Will they be required to return what they bought to the original owners? Will they be tracked down by the police for recieving stolen goods?
    • by hahafaha (844574) * <lgrinberg@gmail.com> on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:11PM (#17517866)

      Very good question. My guess is that they will be tracked down and required to return the items, but will be compensated at the expense of the thief.

      They will certainly not get into trouble for the purchase of stolen goods, and if they do, any reasonable judge would automatically acquit them.

      • by Vellmont (569020) on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:37PM (#17518062)

        Very good question. My guess is that they will be tracked down and required to return the items, but will be compensated at the expense of the thief.

        I seriously doubt the police are going to bother with this, or even have the resources to do so. Most of these buyers aren't going to be from NYC, so there's a jurisdiction problem. Also who's to say EVERYTHING he sold is stolen? It probbably is, but that's not proof.

        The best that could be accomplished is to contact each buyer and tell them the seller sold stolen items on ebay, and the item they bought might be stolen. Then ask them to look for information on the items that might identify the owner.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I seriously doubt the police are going to bother with this, or even have the resources to do so. Most of these buyers aren't going to be from NYC, so there's a jurisdiction problem. Also who's to say EVERYTHING he sold is stolen? It probbably is, but that's not proof.

          Once the stolen material crosses state lines it becomes a federal case. I had a roommate arrested a couple of years back for receiving stolen material from Florida when he lived in New York. I believe the case was eventually settled in New Yo
        • by syukton (256348)
          Stolen goods crossing state lines? The FBI might be interested if the goods are valuable enough.
          • by Vellmont (569020)

            Stolen goods crossing state lines? The FBI might be interested if the goods are valuable enough

            A few hundred dollars a piece GPSs to people who had no reason to believe the stuff was stolen? I sure hope the FBI doesn't waste time with small time stuff like this.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Chabil Ha' (875116)

        They will certainly not get into trouble for the purchase of stolen goods, and if they do, any reasonable judge would automatically acquit them.

        Unless eBay was being used to launder them...

      • by tekiegreg (674773) * <tekieg1-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:55PM (#17518184) Homepage Journal
        Disclaimer: IANAL The legal doctrine here is one of "Reasonable Expectation". For example if I bought a GPS device from a stranger on the street for $20, would a reasonable human assume that the deal is too good to be true and that it was probably stolen? Generally the judges would say yes. If said reasonable expectation were established, yes I'd be required to return the item and no I won't necessarily get compensated for it. However, if I bought a GPS Device for $600 at Best Buy, and woah mamma! Best Buy picks a wrong supplier and it was stolen property. Nobody would have suspected it was stolen. The liability here shifts entirely to the thief and most likely I'm keeping my GPS device. Now reasonable expectation that something selling on auction at Ebay like was said? Tough call, ask your local judge what he thinks of reasonable expectation...
        • by hahafaha (844574) *

          Except that there are all kinds of reasons why something that normally costs 600 dollars was sold for 20, that do not involve theft. For example, my father works for Bose Corporation, where they have insane discounts on some things - for example, he was able to get Microsoft Office, which normally costs around 400 bucks for 20.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by MurphyZero (717692)
            I can get Microsoft Office for $20. I work for a very large group that uses Microsoft. In return for selling out to Microsoft, all the employees get the offer to buy a licensed copy of Office for $20. Of course, 8 years ago, we were allowed to take the disks to install on our home computer for free. 8 years ago, I had Office on my home computer. Now, OpenOffice, also free.
        • by foreverdisillusioned (763799) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @12:51AM (#17518964) Journal
          IANAL, either, but I was always under the impression that you're never allowed to keep stolen property, full stop. The fact that you made (what you thought was) a legitimate purchase doesn't change the fact that the seller did not have the right to sell the item in question.

          For example, there have been a couple cases of people being conned into "buying" public property (most famously the Brooklyn Bridge.) Yes, these people were EXTREMELY gullible, so it probably wouldn't pass your "reasonable expectation" test, but let's take a step back for a moment and imagine a scenario where the person was not extraordinarily gullible, but rather was duped through nigh-superhuman effort on the part of the con artist. Let's say that the fraudster knew that the target would have a keen interested in buying the Brooklyn Bridge, if it was ever actually for sale, so he cooked up a scheme involving buying off the subject's friends and acquaintances, slipping him fake newspapers, hiring actors to play all the appropriate officials, figured out a halfway plausible reason for the sale (they're building a replacement, perhaps) etc. and in the end, he actually succeeds in convincing his target that the Brooklyn Bridge was, indeed, for sale, and the target "buys" it from the criminal. Does that now mean that the target legally owns the Brooklyn Bridge? Of course, the only sane answer is a resounding "NO!" The government did not agree to sell him anything.

          I believe that the "reasonable expectation" concept you speak of pertains more to criminal culpability--the buyer be held criminally responsible, for example, if he buys the Mona Lisa (a few months after it was stolen) because it's not reasonable for him to claim that he didn't know it was stolen.

          I'm not 100% sure on this, but it just makes sense--if ownership of the stolen property was actually legally transfered to the buyer, it would be utter chaos. You could steal the hope diamond, trade it to your friend for a candy bar (technically, this is a valid transaction) telling him it's worthless glass, and as long as you could prove that your friend really did think it was fake, it would become his legal property and the original owners would be SOL. Somehow, I really doubt that it works that way...
        • by dr_d_19 (206418) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:31AM (#17520188)
          In Sweden, up until just recently, you could buy something in "good faith", which matches your description. This is, however, not the case anymore. If you buy stolen goods you will need to return it to the previous owner no matter what, and hope to get your money back from whoever you bought it from.
    • by Wansu (846)

      what will happen to the people who bought from him? Will they be required to return what they bought to the original owners? Will they be tracked down by the police for recieving stolen goods?

      Most likely they'll have to return the goods. Ain't no telling whether they'll get a refund. I seriously doubt the cops would get them for fencing stolen merchandise unless they'd bought lots of stuff from the same seller. Then, they'd have some explaning to do.

      A music store in town bought stolen equipment fro
    • I don't know about personal property, but real property (i.e. land) law handles it like this: if A sells B defective land (i.e. A does not own the land, rather C does), and B then acts in reliance of this (such as by modifying the land), C may not recover the land; B is the rightful owner. I'm not completely sure about if B does not rely on the deal, but I believe that once B takes possession of the land, it belongs to B and C may not recover the land.

      I'd imagine that C could sue A for the fair market value
  • by biocute (936687) on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:11PM (#17517868) Homepage
    Would you rather be able to 'buy back' a hard-to-find stolen part from eBay, or have to either source this part from a supplier (more expensively) or abandon the device altogether?
    • by Duhavid (677874)
      Are you saying that someone that provably stole something
      should be left alone to continue because the person stolen
      from *might* be able to buy the item back?
      • by biocute (936687)
        The article sounds like a victory, but theft doesn't stop because stolen goods stop showing up on eBay.

        By publicly announcing such arrest, we might have just lost a venue to trace these crooks.
        • by Duhavid (677874)
          Yeah, I know that. There was theft before the internet.

          It sounded like you were arguing against going after the
          seller because the person stolen from might be able to
          get the item back. Getting the item back is fine, but
          theft will surely not go away if you continue to give them
          a financial incentive to steal.

          I agree that making a news item out of this seems less than
          wise, but then again, denying thieves a venue for the sale
          of stolen goods might not be so bad after all. Heck, make
          it a buyer reported system f
        • by Binary Boy (2407)
          You assume such criminals are 1) highly organized and 2) intelligent. The reality is thieves are often opportunists who get away with their crimes pretty easily because of the sheer size of the world we live in. They will keep using eBay as their fence as long as it remains one of the easiest ways for all kinds of sellers - legit and otherwise - to connect with purchasers in a pseudonymous way.

          I had a laptop stolen in transit back to Apple; it just disappeared before making it's way onto the DHL truck. I ev
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by topham (32406)

      I'd rather find out who your new roommate is and toss him a few bucks to give you the jailhouse welcome.

    • by Cylix (55374)
      If the person who lost it has already replaced.... sure!

      My one few incident involved a fairly expensive dvcam deck. The authorities were going through someones history and asking for serial numbers to check against. Sure enough, our new found joy was on the list of not so good news.

      In this incident, the company simply sent us a refund check for the item in question and were prosecuting the individual for the lost funds.

      I'm going to guess the deck was used as evidence as we had sent it off to the authorities
    • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadin@NOsPam.xoxy.net> on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:34PM (#17518052) Homepage Journal
      Well, there's another option; you notify the police, and then go through with the sale, in hopes of getting some information that would let the authorities catch the crook. In the worst case, you've bought back your part, and in the best case you'll get your part, plus restitution, plus you'll have sweet, sweet revenge.

      A friend of mine got his cellphone and wallet stolen when his car was burglarized, and by monitoring the numbers that the thief called from it, and then calling up the various numbers and pretending to be different people (which is an amusing social engineering story in itself), got the name and home phone number of the criminal. The police, who weren't very much help otherwise, went out and picked the guy up (he was apparently well known to them). My friend got his phone back, plus restitution for the money in his wallet. If he had just waited for the police to do something, he would have been out a phone and a substantial amount of cash.

      Sometimes you just need to do some detective work yourself.
      • Offer to pick it up in person. Come to the guy's door with two burly friends, a pit bull, and a couple of shotguns. It's not like the guy'll complain to the cops about being roughed up a bit. Make sure to leave him good feedback "COMPLIANT seller..."

        -b.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Splab (574204)
          Dude you got some issues. This is your second post advocating violence to deal with lost property. You really should get some counseling.
      • by Stiletto (12066)

        Be careful. As someone pointed out upthread, the police are NOT your friend. Their job is NOT to help you, but to put you in jail. For my own safety, I would be very hesitant to call the police for anything but a major crime, one that presents them a clear opportunity to put someone ELSE in jail.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Dark_Gravity (872049)
      Would you rather be able to 'buy back' a hard-to-find stolen part from eBay, or have to either source this part from a supplier (more expensively) or abandon the device altogether?

      Would you rather be beaten with a nickel chain or a lead pipe?

      No, really: "FUCK YOU," you thief apologist!

      Scarcity is no free-pass to a black market of fenced stolen goods.

  • irony (Score:4, Funny)

    by silverkniveshotmail. (713965) <everettpf3@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:12PM (#17517876) Journal
    On his most recent sale the GPS unit has an anti-theft feature. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item =320065453054 [ebay.com]
  • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:13PM (#17517886)
    Please do post serial numbers. Please also post name/address of previous owner so we can verify that the item is in a good state of repair. Please also get a sworn statement from a police officer that the facts have been verified and are correct.
  • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:13PM (#17517890) Journal
    Hmmm...Aiding and abetting are we? :-)
    • by biocute (936687)
      Please enlighten me what good it is to post serial numbers? Are buyers checking something based on the SN?

      Couldn't crooks just change the last digit, so the stolen item should still appear to be similar if it's for technical reasons.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kadin2048 (468275)
        There are lots of reasons why you'd want at least partial serial numbers; wireless cards and routers are two examples. I'd never buy one at least I knew the H/W revision or had the serial number to determine it by. There are totally different devices sold under the same 'model' number; unless you have the version or serial (which is sometimes the only / easiest way to determine hardware version), you don't know what you're buying.

        In general you don't need to know the whole serial, only part of it, but I don
      • Cellular phones that are reported stolen are blocked by the provider from activation except by the original owner, or after clearance by the retailer to whom they were originally shipped. Always get the 11-digit electronic serial number (decimal) of a phone before buying it, and call the provider to verify that it is not stolen.

        When phones were stolen from my former employer, they had a value of zero after we called to submit the list of ESN's that the thief got.
        • Re:Cellular Phones (Score:4, Interesting)

          by networkBoy (774728) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @02:55AM (#17519690) Homepage Journal
          Funny story.
          We were carrying Sprint cell phones right when they started rolling out their CDMA service. We had a live demo phone to show off the clarity. My (now wife) GF was helping these two retards from the next door Hometown Buffet (who had stolen the phone from the demo kiosk). They were asking about car chargers and she said: "I'll be happy to help you once you give me my phone back". Well, they bolted (nevermind the Hometown Buffet polo shirts or the name tags), and my GF called the sprint store. These fools went to make a call, where upon a security officer from sprint (pretexting as a customer service rep) said: "Oh, the store must have accidently sold you a demo unit. Bring it into the Sprint store on Fulton for a free replacement and activation." Like all crooks who've been caught, these guys were morons and went into the store. While the replacement phone was "activating" the cops were on the way :-)

          Nevermind that my GF was also in the Buffet chewing out the manager about these two. She successfully recovered the value of the demo kiosk (which they damaged when they stole the phone) from their final paychecks, leaving them with (IIRC) under a buck each for the "you're fired" pay check.

          -nB
    • ".Aiding and abetting are we? "

      Nope. Aiding and abetting are done before or during the alleged crime, not afterwards. As no criminal has yet claimed that Mr. Dawson helped him, he's currently in the clear.

      Nice to know that we don't have crooks running the joint.
  • Um... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Kalriath (849904)

    at least two of the laptops were stamped 'Property of St. John's University.'

    You'd have to be some kind of moron to actually leave behind this type of marker before selling it. I mean, it's a great idea to check your local auction site and all that, but most thieves aren't going to be moronic enough to leave behind identifying marks. Although I can just imagine the Q&A...

    Q: What is the serial number on this device?
    A: 17774677883

    Q: Would it be possible to view before buying?
    A: ...

  • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:18PM (#17517946) Journal
    Don't make any more difficult to get our shit back...
  • by HerrEkberg (971000) on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:23PM (#17517974) Homepage
    From TFA:

    "Unbelievable as it seems, he was in the bidding to buy his own stolen GPS,'' Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.
    From ebay.com:

    Shill bidding is when a seller - or someone associated with a seller - bids on that seller's own item. These bids artificially increase the price or desirability of the item, and damage buyers' faith in the integrity and fairness of the marketplace. Shill Bidding is not allowed on eBay.
  • Idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PinkyGigglebrain (730753) on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:29PM (#17518006)
    I've always said that the prisons are full of stupid criminals. And no, I am not counting those who are wrongfully convicted or getting unfairly prosicuted. Only the ones who did a crime and then did something that made it easy to catch them, like putting stuff up on eBay, looking right at the camera, or sending a letter to the FBI taunting them about how they will never catch you, only to have them pull DNA from the back of the stamp linking you to more crimes you didn't mention and giving them a starting point to search thanks to the postmark.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I think it was Ambrose Bierce who said that the reasons prison populations have so many morons is that morons are so stupid that even a detective can catch them.
  • Ahhh (Score:5, Funny)

    by umbrellasd (876984) on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:54PM (#17518178)
    This is one of those rare situations where the general stupidity of human beings is reassuring.
  • ...here in Ontario. A person [girl I think] had a snowboard stolen from the hill. Went on ebay to find a replacement and found her own, just like the GPS story.
  • is how EBay should be known. Police in Canada are aware of this happening as well. A guy I work with found most of the stuff that was stolen when his house was broken into on EBay. He actually purchased a couple of items to get the sellers details, and advised the police. The police didn't actually even arrest the guy right away, but rather watched him for a few days and caught him red-handed breaking into another place.

    So basically, in addition to checking pawn shops yourself after a break-in, check EBay
    • by aussie_a (778472)

      check EBay (assuming your only computer wasn't stolen).
      HA! That'd be good. Using the person's stolen computer to sell the other stolen goods.
  • by textstring (924171) on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:58PM (#17518214)
    To find out people sell stolen things on ebay! *gasp*
  • I recently bid on an item that made me wonder.

    It was only after I bid that I noticed the "No pick-up, postage only" clause in the description. It made me wonder why a seller that was apparently less than 10 km away wasn't prepared to let me know what they look like or where they are, yet they wanted my address.

    Then I realised the perfect scam:

    1. Sell an item on ebay (possibly stolen).
    2. Sell the item again, insisting on postage.
    3. Hand deliver it, collect the $30 and getting a great chance to scope the

    • by mosch (204) on Monday January 08, 2007 @11:58PM (#17518634) Homepage
      It was only after I bid that I noticed the "No pick-up, postage only" clause in the description. It made me wonder why a seller that was apparently less than 10 km away wasn't prepared to let me know what they look like or where they are, yet they wanted my address.

      I can think of a few possibilities:

      1) Seller cares about his time, and doesn't feel like trying to match schedules with random strangers who may or may not be timely.

      2) Seller cares about his safety and privacy, and doesn't want some stranger scoping out his place to rob it.

      3) Seller wants to charge $30 for shipping when item costs $20 to ship, netting an extra $10.

      4) Seller is afraid that buyer might be a paranoid slashtastic moron, who thinks that every single fucking thing in life is a trap.

      I'm not a crook, but there isn't a chance in hell I would agree to in-person pickups.
      • by Grishnakh (216268)
        I've done in-person pickups about four times. As rare as they happen, I think it's pretty silly to rule them out over fear and paranoia.

        One pickup I did, the guy met me in the parking lot of my (large) workplace. Nice neutral location. Two more were at businesses owned by the sellers. The last one was at a guy's house. I've done a fair amount of buying and selling on ebay (feedback score of 232, total positive feedbacks 312), and I live in a city of 4 million people, and those are the only local pickup
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by wombert (858309)
        5) Seller has been burned by negative feedback for "item never received" (or is just paranoid) and wants to ship with tracking to prove the item got sent.
      • by CmdrGravy (645153)
        I've met up with people in Service Stations etc and its always been fine. I agree I'm not so sure I'd like random people turning up at my house though.
      • by smoker2 (750216)
        Good job the guy who bought my motorcycle didn't think like you then ! Shipping a 600kg bike 300 miles would have cost more than the sale price.
  • by newscloud (1037538) on Monday January 08, 2007 @11:25PM (#17518404) Homepage
    When my house was robbed, I found my $2,000 LCD monitor on ebay complete with picture of serial number on the back which matched (except for one number slightly too fuzzy to verify a match). This was the week after the robbery. When I called the detective assigned to my case, he did nothing with the information. He said finding my monitor in the hands of a fence would do nothing to catch the people who robbed me. Yeah, but investigating the case might have helped... I learned from this experience that the insurance industry subsidizes the majority of property crime in this country because we're certainly not funding the police well enough to do much about it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      ... we're certainly not funding the police well enough to do much about it.

      Their funding is for the War on Drugs, thought crimes (free speech zones? wtf), Checkpoint Charlies, etc.

    • by LoRdTAW (99712) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @12:00AM (#17518642)
      Thats exactly what happened to me. The police don't really care. Just last week on jan 2nd someone broke into my car by my friends house. It was because I had forgot my ipod in the center console in plain sight. The thief also helped himself to my stereo too, thankfully I bought it used from a friend for 50 bucks so no real loss. But now I have to replace my $250 ipod, new radio(haven't bought it yet) and my window cost me $150 to fix. The cops answer? Go report it to insurance and have them pay for it. They didn't even bother to lift prints as they said they didn't have a print kit. I understand they cant do everything but it is annoying.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by hemorex (1013427)
        Hmm! Perhaps the police would have been more interested in your vehicle had it been moving a few miles per hour over the speed limit. (Never ceases to amaze me.)
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      When my house was robbed, I found my $2,000 LCD monitor on ebay complete with picture of serial number on the back which matched (except for one number slightly too fuzzy to verify a match). This was the week after the robbery.

      Are you in a carry-legal state? Offer to pick it up and confront him with the facts. Maybe bring a couple of big angry friends along. If he gets scared and gives it to you, good. Make sure to show it to the cops so they can match prints to your house. If he tries something, def

      • by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @02:20AM (#17519506)
        If he tries something, defend yourself. If I were on a jury, I'd most certainly acquit or vote for a verdict of not guilty by self defense...

        I'm all for vigilante justice, but unfortunately, I believe the reality is that in a situation like this, a jury is much more likely to convict because this guy scared or hurt the "poor" burglar. Juries in this country are always filled with losers and morons who side with criminals.

        Here in Arizona, one of the most gun-friendly (and weapon-friendly: we can carry switchblades legally) states, we had an incident recently where a retired schoolteacher was hiking in the forest and was attacked by some dogs. He took out his 10mm and fired into the ground, scaring them off, but then the crazy owner ran for him to attack him (apparently ignoring the fact that the guy was armed), so the guy shot him rather than be hurt or killed by the larger and much younger man. During the trial, it came out that the dog-owner was mentally unstable, lived in his car in the woods, had a huge anger management problem, etc., but all that testimony was disallowed. The older man (60+) was convicted and sentenced to 10 years. One interesting point made by the prosecutor was that the guy was using hollow-point "killer" rounds in his 10mm, and also that his gun was a 10mm which is quite powerful. This apparently had the effect of turning many of the stupid jurors' opinions against him. But any moron knows that if you're going to defend yourself, you want hollow-point bullets (after all, that's what police use), and 10mm guns are sometimes used by police as well. Not to mention, the guy was carrying this gun to protect himself from mountain lions and bears which are common in that area, not from crazy dog owners, and with bears and the like, bigger is better. Anyway, my point after all this rambling is that even here in a very pro-gun "red" state, and in one of the smaller towns (not more liberal Tucson or Phoenix), the jury was full of the same "poor criminal" mentality jurors that you'd expect in Massachusetts.
      • by Splab (574204)
        And this is why the rest of the world finds the Americans insane. You are advocating killing someone over $2000, what the fuck is wrong with you????

        If the cops haven't got the time to deal with it go talk to your local government, if they won't deal with it talk to the newspapers.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by 24-bit Voxel (672674)
          I wrote a nice scathing reply to your post, however my verification word was "gentler" so I offer this instead.

          BOO!

  • My brother worked for a large electronic company in Australia. He was the one in charge of distributing laptops and computers to the rest of the company. After the annual review they found they were down a few laptops. As these laptops had never gone out to the staff it was clear that they had either not been delivered originally, were taken from the store room or behind some boxes somewhere gathering dust. The store room staff searched high and low for them for about a day with no luck. As they were packin
  • by Rooked_One (591287) on Monday January 08, 2007 @11:43PM (#17518528) Journal
    A quick check of the serial number (note to cyber-criminals: don't post those) showed that it was the exact device that had been stolen."

    Because /. is full of criminals???
  • by aslvrstn (1047588) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @12:03AM (#17518670)
    My P-P-P-Powerbook was just stolen and I found the thief reselling it on ebay! Call the cops!
  • by beadfulthings (975812) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @12:06AM (#17518690) Journal
    My Aged Mum, who was then 80 years of age, lived in an apartment residence for the elderly. Two years ago (on Christmas Eve, no less) she was the victim of a ruthless home invasion. The thief had worked very hard to gain the trust of the elderly residents, and on the night she struck (yep, it was a woman), my mother admitted her to the apartment.

    Mom's phone wires were cut her call bell was de-commissioned, and she was savagely beaten--actually unimaginably beaten, and left for dead on the floor in her living room. One of the items taken was an antique doll, quite distinctive and large, and also very valuable. It dated back to approximately the 1820's and had been handed down through the generations from mother to daughter for all that time.

    Aged Mum survived, though with traumatic brain injuries that left her mental capacities greatly diminished. She grieved over that doll; perhaps it was irrational, but I grieved, too. While the police worked on finding the perpetrator, I began to haunt eBay. Each morning as I started work, and each night before I went to bed, I ran search after search, using every term I could think of. Three weeks after the crime, I hit paydirt; the doll was there. Because I had been so connected to it over my lifetime, I was able to supply an exhaustive description. (Unaccountably we had no photograph.) The police contacted eBay, the auction was stopped, they got a warrant, and next morning they served it on the seller.

    As it turns out, he was legitimate; he had purchased the doll at a well known local flea market the week before. He had been on eBay for several years, selling vintage stuff and assorted items he found at local sales. He provided as much information as he could, and the doll was returned to us within 24 hours of my first locating it at eBay. The doll's porcelain head was undamaged, but her arms (which are kidskin leather) were in bad shape.

    Stories like this really don't have good outcomes. In our case we've had to see an intelligent, lively old lady suffer the loss of her intellect in what should be a comfortable old age. The police have not located the criminal after two years, and additional violence has taken place at that facility where my mother lived. Aged Mum is in a much better facility now, and the doll is here with me--and has been photographed and appraised for insurance purposes.

    I guess the lessons learned are these: (1) Ebay does cooperate with police, and the police know how to secure their cooperation--probably best to leave the interaction to the cops. (2) I had some kind of underlying certainty, which might have been irrational, that the doll would eventually show up on eBay, one way or the other. I searched diligently and regularly. (3) Document your valuables. (4) It may take a while for your items to turn up, and they may pass through several hands. It all depends on whether the scum who has robbed you is versed in eBay or has to use the traditional fences, flea markets, and crooked pawnbrokers.
     
  • Serial #s (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordLucless (582312) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @12:11AM (#17518726)
    Actually, it would be quite beneficial if listing the serial # of items on eBay became a de facto SOP. If legitimate traders started including identifying information, such as serial #s, as a way of verifying that the goods were not stolen, other merchants would be pressured into doing the same. Listings without a serial number would be regarded as suspicious, so people wouldn't get burnt dealing with crooks.
    • I've oft thought this, but then I consider all of the sites that let you register a device solely based on the serial number. Not only then are you potentially granting others the ability to get to your information (some sites do say 'hey, you've registered before'), but you're allowing others unjust access to extras that often come with devices (software downloads, whatever). I agree that serial numbers are a good way of adding good faith to the sale, but they can just as easily be forged/fudged/made up, a
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LordLucless (582312)
        I agree that serial numbers are a good way of adding good faith to the sale, but they can just as easily be forged/fudged/made up, and only someone very familiar with the product might catch an oddball serial number. Either way, they're not the grand solution it seems like at first glance.

        It wouldn't necessarily be the buyer confirming the serial number, but victims of theft who know what they're looking for that check them out. So no, it's not really the serial number that's giving the purchaser reassur
  • A while back some kids stole a bunch of big flat panel monitors at my school.

    They made a few mistakes:

    1) Posted the items on EBay with their @uconn.edu addresses
    2) Stored the items on campus in a dorm room.
    3) Told people about it.

    Oops
  • Stolen PC (Score:3, Funny)

    by flyingfsck (986395) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @01:36AM (#17519228)
    The wife's PC was stolen a few days ago - I'm waiting for the asshat to plug it into the internet. Come-on buddy, plug it in, plug it in.

    Grumble, grumble...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Did this article surprise anyone? Ebay has become the biggest and easist way to fence stolen goods and get full market value. As long as they are not not easily identifiable, it is perfect.
  • by microcars (708223) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @02:08AM (#17519426) Homepage
    and living in Chicago and got robbed, all I had to do was get my ass down to Maxwell Street on Sunday morning to buy back my stuff.

    ah the good old days, when I used to live next door to a 10 acre Fencing operation..er...Flea Market.

  • by toby (759) * on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @02:38AM (#17519606) Homepage Journal
    A couple of semi-obvious tips on spotting a stolen computer: 1. very careless packaging; 2. personal data intact.

    In both cases we contacted police. In one case, apparently little was done by police, despite serial number check immediately revealing that the machine had been recently stolen from a school. In the 2nd case, the stolen laptop - full of personal data, mostly irreplaceable - was the only lead in solving a major house burglary. Laptop returned to owner, thief arrested, eventually had to pay restitution to ebay purchaser. In the second case, the ebay seller's transaction history looked very suspicious. If you have any suspicions - random tips: comb feedback logs in detail; if machine has personal data, contact previous owner (in our case, they confirmed the robbery and were very grateful); Try to get as much identifying detail from seller as possible in case it must be given to police; Don't meet them in person; Get serial numbers and check with police before concluding the sale; contact police and ask for advice.
  • ... for a Darwin award, some time in the future.
  • by purduephotog (218304) <hirsch@noSPAM.inorbit.com> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @01:31PM (#17524476) Homepage Journal
    You all DO realize that your digital pictures typically have an embedded serial number of the camera in it, right?

    I for one would love it if Flickr or YahooPhotos would offer the ability to search on serial numbers. Then I could recover my digital camera that was stolen... think of the possibilities!

    Would at least limit the market for the stupid things. They're obviously worth nothing as parts so the entire unit would be sold to some unsuspecting person.

Computers can figure out all kinds of problems, except the things in the world that just don't add up.

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