How can I tell if a MacBook is stolen? rMBP 13" for $550

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by arctyler, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. arctyler macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2011
    I'm going to look at a rMBP, 13", 128gb SSD, 4gb ram, with a production month of December, so it's only like 2 months old if that, and I talked him all the way down to $550 for it from $750, but what makes me wonder is that he doesn't have a box or power cord and it's pretty cheap, he says his dog ate the power cord so the dog had to get a very expensive vet surgery to get it removed and he needs the money for the vet bills. He said it still has a little charge in it @ 20%, and he is going to restore it to factory settings for me, but I'm curious as to how I can tell if it is stolen, is there any way?
  2. BasicGreatGuy, Feb 21, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014

    BasicGreatGuy Contributor


    Sep 21, 2012
    In the middle of several books.
    A good way to tell it is not, is if you can register it after a fresh install.

    Ask to see his sales receipt. If he bought it from Apple, even if he lost the orginal, he can still print another out online through his account. Check the serial number as well.

    If he is legit, bring a charger and watch him do a fresh install.

    No way to know 100% it isn't stolen. But, the aforementioned can give you an idea.

    Ask to see the vet bill. I would go as far as to call his vet to check the story.

    This could be a true story. You never know.
  3. diggy33 macrumors 6502


    Aug 13, 2011
    I'd like to see the dog that was able to chew up a power cord and swallow the pieces down...dogs got to be a beast!!! I'm calling the sale a scam
  4. thetman macrumors member

    Dec 30, 2003
    $1300+ is what I would call a large amount to have paid entirely cash for. If he paid with credit card, he should easily be able to find a card statement showing the store he claims he bought it from and the amount. There is always the possibility it was a gift though.

    But unloading a rMBP for that low is a sign of needing to get rid of it fast, they should sell for a good bit more than that, used or not. I would think anyone who can put down that much for a laptop can charge the vet bill and hold out for more on the Macbook.
  5. Pompiliu macrumors 6502a


    Apr 22, 2012
  6. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
  7. arctyler thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2011
    Exactly what I'm thinking ahahaha, bill of sale and call it good, I didn't steal it not my problem lol, even though I could still be bit in the ass


    Sometimes you just never know
  8. ddotmason macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2014
  9. arctyler thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2011
    You can never know for sure though, the guy is married so I figure he might be halfway decent at least... Although I have came across a guy that told me the same thing, and he was shady as hell
  10. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    If the police come and ask for it back, you will have to give it up and you won't be compensated. Or maybe they'll arrest you for stealing it.

    Anyways, didn't you already buy this computer?
  11. arctyler thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2011
    That's why I have a bill of sale so I don't get blamed for stealing it, and somehow I've managed to become pretty good at getting compensation back for stolen things...

    EDIT: no I am looking at it later tonight, last night I had a firefighter class that went on too long so I couldn't go look at it
  12. Mr Rabbit macrumors 6502a

    Mr Rabbit

    May 13, 2013
    There are no safeguards against re-registering as someone else, this option should be available on any Mac that has been freshly re-installed.

    I would power it on and connect to a Wifi network before handing over any cash. If Find My Mac is active and searching for it then it will likely display a message or lock screen.

    Aside from that I would consider calling any local Apple stores or Apple Authorized Service providers, have someone from the Genius team (if Apple) run the serial number through GSX (Apple's service system) to check for recent case notes. There's no way for Apple to flag non-Apple owned devices as stolen but you'll often find sympathetic Genius' or technicians that will leave a case note saying something along the lines of "This Mac was reported stolen by such and such, here is the police report number, etc".

    Beyond that go by your gut feeling. Definitely get a bill of sale and keep a record of the sale listing and any communication you've had with the seller.
  13. arctyler thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2011
    Alright thanks, I'll have him meet me at a wifi location, and I tend to be pretty good with records of communication, I still have sales all the way up until like 2 years ago, also will find my Mac work if it is restored? He said he will restore it for me also
  14. 5to1 macrumors 6502

    Mar 9, 2008
    I certainly would care, if people didn't buy them there would be no desire for people to steal them. IMO anyone that buys something that's quite obviously stolen (not saying this is) deserves to end up empty handed (no laptop, no money) should they get caught with the item.
  15. Orr macrumors 6502


    Oct 8, 2013
    Definitely one of the crazier stories relating to what my dog ate. The price is way too good to be true. Considering that the model retails for $1299, is less than 3 months old, and a new power cord replacement is only $80, the math doesn't add up at all. People who buy stuff like this deserve to have it repossessed by the authorities for sheer stupidity alone.
  16. Dovahkiing macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2013

    Wow, not a lot of integrity here...

    His dog at the power cord and now he needs money for the surgery?? Sounds like a BS story. There is definitely something fishy here. Buy it if saving money is that important to you; but if you knowingly buy something you suspect is stolen merchandise then you are just as guilty as the thief IMO.

    You clearly already strongly suspect it's stolen because you came here for advice.

    People get murdered every day over things like their cell phone by thief's who re-sell them for a quick buck. Not saying this guy murdered somebody, but still, you're helping perpetuate crime.

    If saving $400-500 is worth your integrity to you, then go for it! You should take a pass.
  17. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    If you do the transaction, do it in the lobby of the local police station or at least inside a you don't get robbed.
  18. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    /\ This. OP already think this may be stolen so if the deal goes ahead the OP is knowingly buying potentially stolen goods which perpetuates the theft of said goods in the first place. Price is way too good to be legit.
  19. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    It could also be something like water damage that simply hasn't shown obvious impact yet. While a normal price is no guarantee that something isn't stolen, no one is likely to sell at that price if nothing is wrong.

    If you provide a market for stolen goods, you deserve to be bitten for it. Thieves concentrate on things that are highly profitable and offer little risk.
  20. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    Wow - water damage AND the charger eaten by a dog???? How much bad luck can one seller have. I get your point but buying something broken isn't a crime. Handling stolen goods mostly is.
  21. heisenberg123 macrumors 603


    Oct 31, 2010
    Hamilton, Ontario
  22. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    Not commenting on the sale, but the thin part of the cord can easily be ruined by a dog. One of mine was - it got too close to a slice of pizza he was trying to catch before it fell.

    Of course he didn't swallow any of it, so I had no vet bill and just bought a new charger! And if I needed money, I'd do exactly the same thing - spend 60 bucks or whatever it is and sell it for about 10% off list.
  23. arctyler thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2011
    HOLD UP EVERYBODY, we may be in luck with a receipt, so don't jump the gun just yet, his wife is going to try to print one up from her apple account
  24. Dovahkiing macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2013
    Ok, just be careful. It still doesn't make sense to me. He could get a lot more than $550 without even trying very hard if indeed only thing wrong with it is a missing power adapter.

    Like they say, if it's too good to be true...

    But if he can prove it, then congrats on the great deal.
  25. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
    You can take it in to your local police or sheriff's department and show them the serial number asking them to run it in NCIC, your state's local law enforcement information network and their RMS systems to see if it's been reported or not.

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