$10,200 iPad Prototype: Probably Stolen

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A first generation iPad prototype with two dock connector ports that showed up on eBay over the Memorial Day weekend sold for US$10,200, and the anonymous seller says the device was probably stolen before it ended up in his hands.

iPad prototype apps69 sold on eBay was probably stoleniPad prototype apps69 sold on eBay was probably stolen

The seller, talking with Wired anonymously, said, “I don’t know if it was stolen from Apple, or if the person who was working with it kept it. Judging by how Apple works, it’s most likely stolen, but I’m not sure about that.”

The mystery seller said he expected Apple to contact him about the prototype, but hoped the company’s employees would be taking the holiday weekend off, giving him more time to sell the tablet — which seems to have worked out as planned. The iPad is on its way to the buyer, who also chose to remain anonymous.

“I wasn’t expecting the auction to finish,” the seller said. “I was expecting Apple to take it down.”

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Lee Dronick

Receiving stolen goods?


Receiving stolen goods?

Yes. Selling stollen property? Yes. Interstate transportation of stolen property? Ditto. Prosecutable in multiple states? Probably.

Exposure of the auction site should not be overlooked either. Oh, lest we forget, the buyer is at risk as well.


“it?s most likely stolen…” but the person sells it anyway….knowingly selling stolen goods…goods that likely contain intellectual property of the largest (by market cap) tech company on the planet…Apple would be completely justified in obtaining a court order to make eBay turn over information about the seller an buyer….have fun in court and jail!


Selling an item one suspects was stolen does not bode well for the individual. In fact, it pretty much makes them a criminal by intent.

“...expecting Apple to take it down.” is not an excuse. Apple does not ave the money to spend on the manpower needed to peruse all eBay auctions looking for questionable items. And when the seller admits to “hoping Apple employees would be taking the weekend off” he definitely admits to intent to commit the crime of selling stolen goods. Bragging about it, even anonymously, to a media outlet is plain out stupid.

If it was, indeed, stolen (which I agree, given Apple’s history about such, is most likely the case), I hope the law comes down heavy on this “anonymous” seller. $10K item makes it a class A felony. And unless the anonymous buyer lives in the same state, it becomes a federal offense by selling stolen goods across state lines. He’d better save that 10K, plus a whole lot more, for a good lawyer, ‘cause he’s facing time in a federal penitentiary.


Nah…he’s a journalist and is doing it for a story.


Oh god, how incredibly stupid some people are.


No, Apple’s doing this deliberately, as with an information “leak” to save the money they’d otherwise have to spend on an ad campaign. This way they get all the free press and word of mouth without having to pay a penny for photography, layout, design, typography, actors, sets, etc. Sweeeeet.



This is about as bad as a video I saw on the news, of drug dealers who videotaped themselves after a sale amid huge piles of money and semi-automatics. DUH! Needless to say, they were caught, and the video was used as evidence against them.

I think Poe (Edgar Allen) called it the imp of the perverse: the need to push fate, to be proud of one’s crimes and confident in their execution. He showed criminals in both The Telltale Heart and The Black Cat doing this. Both stories (practically identical, if you ask me) had murder victims concealed in, respectively, floorboards and a basement wall. And both feature the criminals inviting police to the very spots of concealment.

From The Telltale Heart, via Wikipedia:

....The narrator dismembers the [old man’s] body and conceals the pieces under the floorboards, making certain to hide all signs of the crime. Even so, the old man’s scream during the night causes a neighbor to report to the police. The narrator invites the three arriving officers in to look around. He claims that the screams heard were his own in a nightmare and that the man is absent in the country. Confident that they will not find any evidence of the murder, the narrator brings chairs for them and they sit in the old man’s room, right on the very spot where the body is concealed, yet they suspect nothing, as the narrator has a pleasant and easy manner about him.

The narrator, however, begins to hear a faint noise. As the noise grows louder, the narrator comes to the conclusion that it is the heartbeat of the old man coming from under the floorboards. The sound increases steadily, though the officers seem to pay no attention to it. Shocked by the constant beating of the heart and a feeling that not only are the officers aware of the sound, but that they also suspect him, the narrator confesses to killing the old man and tells them to tear up the floorboards to reveal the body.

From The Black Cat, again via Wikipedia:

....Then, one day when the narrator and his wife are visiting the cellar in their new home, the cat gets under its master’s feet and nearly trips him down the stairs. In a fury, the man grabs an axe and tries to kill the cat but is stopped by his wife. Enraged, he kills her with the axe instead. To conceal her body he removes bricks from a protrusion in the wall, places her body there, and repairs the hole. When the police came to investigate, they find nothing and the narrator goes free. The cat, which he intended to kill as well, has gone missing.

On the last day of the investigation, the narrator accompanies the police into the cellar. They still find nothing. Then, completely confident in his own safety, the narrator comments on the sturdiness of the building and raps upon the wall he had built around his wife’s body. A wailing sound fills the room. The alarmed police tear down the wall and find the wife’s corpse, and on her head, to the horror of the narrator, is the screeching black cat. As he words it: “I had walled the monster up within the tomb!”

Every time I hear stories like the eBay seller bragging of his/her crime (99.9% chance it is “his” crime), I always think of those two stories.

There will be a quiz tomorrow. Cliffs Notes will not be allowed. smile


Guys!  Chill!  It’s an iPad first generation prototype.  Why would Apple care?  Anyway, unless the seller knew (rather than supposed) it was stolen, it would be harder to prosecute than you think.  Authorities might want to prosecute the thief, but they certainly won’t bother with the trail of buyers thereafter.

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