Another iStore robbed, but the spoils are no good

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The iStore in Centurion was robbed this morning by seven armed gunmen, Stuff has learnt, making it the third such store in Gauteng to fall victim to robbery this month. However, the stolen devices may well prove worthless because of Apple’s procedures for dealing with stolen goods.

iPad MiniEarlier this month the iStore in the Glen Shopping Centre, south of Johannesburg was robbed and a security guard was shot in the leg. The incident came only a day after a similar robbery at the iStore in Cresta Shopping Centre, which saw a bystander shot as the thieves made their escape.

Stuff has reliably learnt that Apple blacklists the serial numbers of products that are reported stolen, making it impossible to register them online, update their software or download applications. Apple devices have to be activated online in order to use them, meaning sealed devices that are stolen and blacklisted are effectively rendered useless, and thus, worthless.

Consumers should take care when buying devices from unofficial channels, like individual resellers using print or online classified services, particularly if the devices are still sealed and are being touted as new. In such an instance it’s advisable to insist on activating the device before any money changes hands.

Because of their value, Apple products are attractive for pickpockets and armed robbers alike, but Apple’s anti-theft measures – like the Find My iPhone and Find My iPad applications, which allows users to track their devices using the devices built-in GPS functionality, and its blacklisting of serial numbers on stolen devices – makes them difficult to resell.

As with all things in life, if a deal seems too good to be true, it almost certainly is.

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