Wrong customer

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 23, 2011

Detectives found (from left, top) a shipping box, two loose-leaf notebooks taped together and packaged with an Apple logo, a piece of glass wrapped to make it appear like an iPad, a second “iPad.” Power cords are at lower right. At lower left is the real iPad he used to make his sales pitch.

When detectives removed packaging and duct tape, they found a piece of glass instead of an iPad.

Obarcus Van Pryor of Jackson was arrested after he allegedly attempted to sell a fake laptop and fake iPad to an off duty law enforcement officer. If you were approached by this man and he tried to sell you items, contact BPD Captain Paul Shivers, 563-5653. (Photo courtesy Panola County Sheriff)

By John Howell

A man attempting to sell a piece of glass packaged as an iPad chose the wrong customer when he made his sales pitch near Tri-Lakes Medical Center on Wednesday.

He tried to sell his neatly-packaged merchandise to a state trooper. The trooper was off-duty, out-of-uniform but suspicious. The trooper called Batesville Police Department Detective Captain Paul Shivers by cell phone and described packaging that he thought probably contained a stolen computer.

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“Once he told me one of his items was in a FedEx box, I said, ‘Ah, this is a scam,'” Shivers said.
And so it turned out.

Patrolman Justin Maples soon made a traffic stop of the vehicle the trooper described. A search yielded the FedEx shipping box, what appeared to be an Apple laptop computer covered in bubble-wrap packaging, an iPad and the cords for connections. To lend authenticity to his sales pitch, the scammer demonstrated with a real iPad, Shivers said.

Closer inspection revealed that what appeared to the laptop was instead two loose-leaf binders, taped together and covered with real Apple packaging that prominently displayed the familiar Apple logo with the missing. More looking and unwrapping uncovered a slick piece of glass in the guise of an iPod. Even the connection cords turned out to be ordinary white extension cords, Shivers said.

Obarcus Van Pryor of Jackson was arrested and charged with attempted false pretenses, a felony; possession of controlled substance and driving while license suspended, Shivers said. He was released on $11,000 bond.

Shivers said that perpetrators of similar scams have struck Batesville three times in recent years. He said that there are frequent reports of similar operations throughout the state.