Does looted stuff often appear on eBay or other online sites?

Seeing images of Targets/GameStops knocked over makes me curious if we’re going to suddenly see a ton of eBay listings for video games that are “New/Sealed With Slight Water Damage”. Is there anyway to prove stuff is stolen if it does appear as well?

Stolen stuff in general is on eBay all the time I would imagine and there’s generally no way to prove it. Things like smartphones have serial numbers that weren’t activated and might not be able to be made to work.

If our experience of the London riots in 2011 showed us anything, it’s that (a) rioters are not necessarily very sophisticated thieves and will, indeed, put goods up for sale on ebay and similar sites and that (b) both ebay and the Police are very wise to this and will catch many culprits this way.

My SIL was a paralegal during the London riots - she was the person the Police would call in as ‘first option’ legal counsel when they picked up looters. She said it was unbelievable how clumsy the looters were, stockpiling goods in their own homes and splashing them all over ebay. It made easy pickings for the Police to find them.

One story that bought some light relief after the Brixton riots was the story of the looters who scooped up a load of expensive trainers. They must have been really pissed off when they got home and found that they were all singles - no pairs.

How do they catch – and more to the point, how do they prove – items stolen on ebay, for things that don’t have serial numbers?

How did they manage to do that? Did they hastily snatch only the display copies?

Anecdotally, there’s a lot of chatter in my local motorcycle groups about this right now. The Dainese (high-end motorcycle gear) store in Santa Monica Was looted Sunday. The OfferUp app has a bunch of obviously stolen stuff up for sale, and despite a number of us reporting all the stolen items, nothing has been done.

Because if I, madam Police detective, spot your selling iphones on ebay a week after the riots, and come round your house and find a stash of boxed iphones for which you don’t have proof of purchase, and the Apple store five blocks from your house got looted, you got some 'splaining to do.

How would you know from an ebay user name what their exact address is? How is selling an iPhone on eBay probable cause to get a search warrant?

Especially since the store would have the serial numbers of all the phones in stock at the time of the theft.

I dont know about Ebay, but on sites like OfferUp, the buyer comes to the seller’s house to pay for and pick up the item.

And the police don’t need a search warrant to come to your house and ask you how you got the seven iphones and four xboxs that you just put up for sale.

For Ebay it’s nearly always shipped. I got Ebay stuff shipped from England to California.

The police do need a warrant or to put me under arrest for me not to tell them to fuck off.

iPhones are a bad example if they have serial numbers. That makes it too easy.

But I bought a slow cooker which, to my surprise, does NOT have a serial number anywhere that I could find. And I have various camping gear with no serial numbers. Lots of kinds of items don’t have serial numbers.

A local music store got looted. Numerous videos show people running away with one or two guitars each. Unless they lived nearby, or had a vehicle parked nearby - they wouldn’t get far. Even if they were walking calmly down the street - a cop is sure to question someone carrying two guitars. (several arrests were made within a few minutes).

pre internet pawn shops bought a lot of stolen stuff. they are required to keep logs of sellers in many places

Online sites are notoriously lax about screening ads.

Since eBay and (to a lesser extent) Amazon facilitate obvious scams and sales of ineffective/dangerous products, why would they bother to take a hard look at any suspicious sellers?

Because to sell on ebay, you have to provide a phone number, email address and have a paypal account. The Police will work with ebay/paypal to get your details. It’s called detective work.

If the Police have a strong enough concern that what you’re selling is stolen, they’ll get a search warrant.

London riots: Ebay and Gumtree to assist police as riots spread

Sure. So I’m selling two new PlayStations on eBay and the listing went up today. Which police agency is going to see this and investigate me? It’s not a Federal issue and I could be anywhere in the country.

And there have always been pawn shops which skirt the rules. Many years ago, my cousin needed to sell something and I went with him. I don’t remember what the issue was but the pawn shop couldn’t buy the item. Maybe because we were both minors, I forgot.

The owner said that he could personally buy the item so we went out back behind the store and the owner paid for it out of his own wallet.

Not surprisingly, when I went our of curiousity a few days later, the item was there in the store.