How to Avoid Buying a Stolen Mac: Apple Store Robbed of 24 MacBooks in 30 seconds (video)

MacBooks and MacBook Pros arguably cost more than a Windows notebook, which means they are frequently the target of thieves like the trio that smashed into an Apple Store in Cleveland Ohio and made off with 24 MacBooks (and an iPod Touch) in 35 seconds. The notebooks, valued at over $20,000 to $30,000, are arguably not for personal use and will likely join a large collection of stolen notebooks which are sold online and over classified services like Craigslist for a large discount.


If you are thinking of purchasing a used or second hand MacBook, you should take precautions to make sure you don’t end up with a stolen notebook that won’t be valid for warranty service and will likely be taken from you if it is discovered to be stolen property.

How to Check if a MacBook or MacBook Pro is Stolen

There are a few ways you can attempt to figure out if a MacBook is stolen or just a really good deal. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t keep a list of lost and stolen MacBooks as some people may tell you, but you can use the serial number to check eligibility for AppleCare and to check with your local police.

  1. Ask for a Serial Number – This is one of the easiest ways to find out if you are dealing with a rotten Apple. If the seller refuses to provide the serial number than you should walk away right away.
  2. Check Apple Care Eligibility – Once you have the serial number you can check to see if the MacBook Pro or MacBook Air is eligible for warranty coverage. This can help you determine if the Macbook was purchased when the seller says it was.
  3. Check with the Local Police – You can also call up the local police and tell them you want to make sure a laptop isn’t stolen. If you are buying online, you would be well served to call the local police from wherever the seller says he or she lives.

If everything looks good, make sure you go to the meeting with someone and meet in a very public place. These transactions typically involve cash, so there is always the possibility that your seller could be looking to take your money and run without handing off a new MacBook.

Our advice. If you want to save big on a MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. Look for refurbished deals direct from Apple which offer hundreds off the regular price without the need to buy in a McDonald’s parking lot and worry about the provenance of your Mac.

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