Wednesday, March 12, 2014 11:38 AM
Published on: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
By Jim Davis
Last week, Apple released the iPhone 5, and a father-son duo set out to capitalize on that.
The twosome allegedly sold iPhones in the middle of a shopping center parking lot off of Martin Luther King Jr. Highway in Bowie for $250. The new iPhone retails for $199 for the 16 GB model up to $399 for the 64 GB model; the older 4S can be purchased for $99.
However, the dozen people who purchased an iPhone from the father and son team have likely learned when something seems too good to be true, it just might not be true.
According to Sgt. Aubrey Thompson, of Prince George’s County Police Department’s Special Enforcement Division, police received phone calls from Target’s and Home Depot’s loss-prevention departments stating two men in the shopping center parking lot were selling what they believed to be fake phones.
Based on this information, undercover police officers approached the sellers and asked to buy a new iPhone 4S for $250. When the detective began negotiating that price, the second suspect joined in the discussion.
Both suspects implied that the iPhones were brand new and true Apple products and that they were selling like hot cakes. They had sold seven other phones that day. Once purchased, investigators confirmed with Apple that the phone, equipment and accessories were all fake.
“What they were selling was a fake Apple iPhone 4S, a fake Apple box and fake accessories,” Thompson said. “It’s $20 worth of plastic and junk.”
The father and son were identified as Daniel Parker, 47, of Capitol Heights, and Harold Lee Parker, 25, of Washington, D.C.
Police believe the Parkers sold at least 15 fake iPhones. They have been charged with five counts of theft, counterfeit trademark infringement and vending without a license along with other charges.
The two told police they got the phones from a man in New York and a guy in Philadelphia. Then they said they got the phones online. All of this will be part of the police investigation, Thompson said.
Thompson also said that Apple has stated the company has had an increase of people coming into stores to get their phones turned on only to be informed that they had purchased counterfeit iPhones.
Prince George’s County Police Department is issuing a safety alert as the new iPhone 5 hits the market. Police are encouraging shoppers to be vigilant before, during and after the purchase of the phone. Police also warn customers to conceal the boxes to prevent theft.