In late 2021 a literal truck heist over GPUs occurred in California. EVGA’s product manager Jacob Freeman confirmed at the time that a shipment of EVGA GeForce RTX 30-series cards were indeed stolen out of a truck heading from San Francisco to Southern California.
The cards were said to have a retail value between $329.99 to $1959.99 USD, so there were some fairly high end cards among that mix. When they were confirmed stolen, EVGA also warned that the serial numbers were on record, so anyone trying to register them for warranty, or potentially sale would run into problems.
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As reported by VideoCardz, it turns out some of those cards are now showing up on the other side of the world in Vietnam. A Vietnamese retailer, known for packing GPUs into mining rigs, has potentially been caught distributing some of these stolen cards.
Customers have reported after buying the cards that the serial numbers are among those flagged by EVGA, and thus couldn’t be registered for warranty claims. One person reportedly bought two Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPUs and had the same issue with each. Customers said the cards were given a 1-month warranty with the store, as well as a decent price which is to be expected of illegally imported cards.
VideoCardz didn’t publish the retailer's name, no doubt to avoid having more customers purchase stolen cards. However, they do say that it’s not a small local retailer, meaning we could be looking at a well known chain store which is a little troubling. It’s very likely many unwitting customers, perhaps not that knowledgeable about current PC gaming and prices have thought themselves lucky to come across a sweet GPU deal without even knowing the potential issues.
The chip shortage combined with eager crypto miners continues to make getting a new GPU feel more like a dream than reality. It’s hard to get excited for anything new when the scarcity is such a large problem. That being said, we are set to see GPU shipments rise by 10% in 2022, so hopefully truck heists to illegal imports in Vietnam will be slightly less common.