GRAND PRAIRIE (CBSDFW.COM) – Before the onset of the automobile, scammers used stagecoach trunks to sell bootleg or phony merchandise to unsuspecting consumers.
Grand Prairie Police say the age-old scam is still very much present today, only the suspects are using 21st Century technology as bait.
A dozen recent cases at area convenience stores describe con artists scamming would-be iPad and MacBook owners with fake products.
“They’ll approach them and say they have a good deal on an Apple product,” Grand Prairie detective Lyle Gensler says.
They’ll have a container from maybe a FedEx or a Best Buy, but inside is filled with wood, paper or something else. Gensler says the fake products have all the heft of the real thing, but many who have fallen for the trick get home to find double strength plexi-glass instead.
In some cases, there’s even the trademark Apple logo stamped onto it.
The men, who have been captured on camera inside several convenience stores and parking lots, have hit in Fort Worth, Grand Prairie and Arlington and offer an iPad or a MacBook for $300 each or $500 for both.
“Some of (the victims) think they’re getting a good deal on an iPad and it kind of blocks their sensory perception of right and wrong,” Gensler said.
However, loyal Apple shoppers questioned say they likely wouldn’t fall for what these folks are selling.
Shopper Tammy Godfrey said she would want all of Apple’s support and warranties. But, elaborating on a more basic level, said, “I don’t want to buy a product that’s not from Apple because it’s basically like stealing, and I don’t think that’s right.”
Gensler agrees, adding if it’s too good to be true, that’s usually the case.
“I don’t believe I would buy an Apple computer from anybody else but an Apple Store,” said shopper Laura Williams. “I get what I pay for.”
The suspects used a Silver Chrysler in two of the offenses, but police did not have a license plate number. Gensler believes there are many suspects involved with the scam who have not been captured on camera.
Anyone who has information about the crimes is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 972.988.8477.