Dustin Waller, of Cleveland, N.C. (this is where my mother, I shit you not, foxhunts) got a Playstation 3 from his fiancee, who bought it either used or refurbed for $350 from an independent games retailer at a mall down the road in Salisbury. Tuesday, Waller gets a visit from the police up the road in the other direction, Statesville, who said the PS3 was stolen goods. They'd tracked him after he unwittingly signed on to PSN using the previous owner's ID. After the police confiscated the PS3, Waller went back to the store to get a refund. He got a 360 instead, and thinks the cops asked the store to provide it.
This case is kinda funny because a PS3 gamer, who says he's "just not had luck with Xbox consoles," ends up with a 360 essentially by police action. But it's fascinating for the police work involved. The Statesville police had been investigating a string of burglaries and this PS3 was among the property stolen. Find the seller and they can unravel the rest of it, of course. So they were watching for that PSN ID to log on, and when Waller went looking for some PSN games, the detectives tracked his IP address, and then got a search warrant to get records from his ISP.
Waller is not the suspect, the guy who sold it to the mall retailer is. Originally Waller went back to ask for a refund and was told that was against store policy, and left empty-handed. The store later gave him a 360, which Waller thinks was done at the prodding of the Statesville cops. But in terms of actual value of the two consoles, Waller estimates he's down $150. Plus he was just getting the hang of the SixAxis (kidding).
Anyway, Waller took the story public because he wanted the retailer to take some responsibility for checking out those who sell it used items. And it's useful advice for you folks too. If you notice anything fishy about a refurb you bought, get on the phone with the seller and/or the po-po, before they get a warrant and come to you first. Because they are total Microsoft fanboys.