Kimberly King, NBCDFW
A fake iPad scheme highlighted by NBC 5's Problem Solvers helps police in other states track down the crime ring.
Fake iPads like those being sold in North Texas parking lots are also being hawked in states beyond Texas.
Officers in Georgia and Florida have contacted Grand Prairie detective Alex Chasteen after seeing a story on NBCDFW.com about scammers who sell counterfeit iPads in convenience store and shopping center parking lots.
"I have leads from Florida to Georgia to Mississippi," Chasteen said. "I recently got a call out of Atlanta, where a detective saw the piece that had been done earlier with NBC 5."
The Atlanta officer is working on more than 30 incidents of people duped into buying fake iPads.
Chasteen has made two arrests and is looking for more people in Jackson, Miss.
"They are renting cars at the Enterprise rental in Jackson and driving here to sell the fake iPads," he said.
Chasteen said he and the Atlanta detective compared notes and realized the same person rented a car used in both areas. Multiple people have been renting cars out of Jackson, he said.
"Girlfriends, wives and sisters are renting the cars for men and then driving up here to Grand Prairie to sell the fake iPads," Chasteen said.
Chasteen said he believes the same people driving to North Texas also travel to Atlanta.
Atlanta police say the ring could have as many as 50 involved.
The thieves typically park in gas station parking lots and then approach people asking if they're interested in buying an iPad.
Often, they show a real iPad to the victims at first. When they convince a victim to make a purchase, they then pull a FedEx box out of a car trunk that contains what looks like an iPad in bubble wrap.
But when the victims open the box later, they find a Plexiglas frame covered in black duct tape with an Apple symbol on the back and Best Buy price labeling on the front.
Anyone with information on the scam should call Grand Prairie police at 972-988-TIPS.