KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- After a brazen burglary at the Apple Store on Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza and similar products being stolen from people across the metro, many are wondering what will happen to these devices.
The criminals more than likely plan to resell these stolen goods, but there are many safeguards in place to prevent this from happening and catch the crooks.
Ben Edwards is the founder and CEO of the Kansas City-based online electronics resale company Swappa. The company has seen tremendous success since launching in 2010. Edwards said their commitment to safety is a big part of that.
“We require sellers to provide us the serial number or the IMEI of the phone that is for sale, and that’s a unique number that every phone will have that we can check with a global database to ensure that it hasn’t been lost or stolen,” Edwards said.
In fact, products on Swappa aren’t even posted until they’re thoroughly checked and vetted.
“We do the checks during the listing process, so before the buyer even has a chance to take a look at it," he said. "So if you’re viewing a listing for sale, it’s already been checked."
But there are many other options for people looking to get rid of electronics and score quick cash. One option that’s rapidly growing in popularity is electronics resale kiosks like the Eco ATM.
EcoATM Gazelle is the company behind the kiosk, which is considered by some to be a pioneer of reCommerce. EcoATM Gazelle buys used electronics while providing consumers a way to earn money for old smartphones, tablets and computers. You can also turn in old devices you wish to recycle through these kiosks to prevent them from ending up in landfills.
“You come up to the kiosk and you, on the screen it will prompt you to tell us a little bit about your device,” Chase Freeman, public relations manager for Eco ATM Gazelle said in an online interview Tuesday.
Consumers then plug the device they want to sell into the machine for verification, and it will generate an offer to the seller based on the device's value.
“What’s really great about the kiosk is it is instant cash, so you’re getting however much money we’re quoting you right there. There’s no waiting for the funds,” Freeman said.
It sounds simple, but there’s actually a detailed security process involved in exchanges with the ecoATM.
“We require your ID to slip into a slot in the machine, so we’re going to verify your ID, your thumbprint and also there are three cameras that will take your photo,” Freeman said.
Every device is also run through a nationwide database called CheckMEND to make sure it hasn’t been stolen.
“Say the phone didn’t come up in CheckMEND, the trade-in could happen but what happens is law enforcement may reach out and be like, 'Hey, we think this criminal may have traded in a device.' We are always happy to share any information we can that will aid with an investigation,” Freeman said.
Kansas City Police use a variety of databases and other tools to track stolen merchandise. Detectives encourage people to write down serial numbers for all devices so they’ll have some way of tracking ones that are stolen.
Many tips on Sunday's Apple Store robbery have come into Kansas City Police, but investigators don’t yet have any suspects in custody.