A woman recovers her stolen laptop only to learn she bought stolen merchandise.
The Milwaukie Police Department wants viewers of classified ad websites to closely examine any potential purchase for indications the item might be stolen property. Thieves know that using Craigslist or other classified ad sites is a fast and efficient way to unload stolen property.
Case in point, Chloe Simmons contacted Portland Police last month to report her laptop computer had been stolen. Chloe unfortunately didn't know the computer's serial number. However, she was able to send a message to her stolen laptop. Whoever tried to use it would receive a message indicating the computer was stolen.
Abram Underwood purchased a $400 laptop from Craigslist last month. As soon as he connected the computer to wireless Internet he received Chloe's message.
Chloe Simmons, accompanied by a Milwaukie Police Officer, met with Abram Underwood. Chloe demonstrated that she could access the laptop, and showed everyone the files on the hard-drive belonged to her. The story might have ended there - however, a police check of the laptop's serial number told an entirely different story.
As it turns out, Chloe Simmons had also purchased the laptop on Craigslist about a year ago. Unwittingly, both Chloe Simmons and Abram Underwood had each bought the same stolen computer.
The original owner of the laptop, Alexander Stanisel, reported his MacBook stolen in January of 2012. Stanisel still had the computer's original container, with the serial number affixed to the box. He had reported the theft to Portland Police, and the serial number of the stolen computer was listed in a national law enforcement database. Due to Stanisel's diligence in knowing the serial number and reporting the theft to police, his wayward computer was successfully returned.
To mitigate incidents of theft police recommend:
* DO keep a list of property serial numbers, maintain a file of purchase receipts
* DON'T leave property unattended in vehicles
* Report thefts promptly
* Scrutinize any potential purchase from a classified ad website
1. If the price is too good to be true, beware
2. If seller provides sketchy information, beware
3. If seller is in a rush to sell, beware
4. Ask for and document seller's picture I.D. If he refuses to provide it, don't make the purchase
5. Note the license plate number of the seller's vehicle
Even though an article was purchased in good-faith, if it is later determined to be stolen, the buyer loses not only the money, but the stolen property will be seized by police and returned to the valid owner.