If you're in the market for an Apple Watch and thinking of saving yourself some money with a second-hand device, make sure you do your homework before purchasing.

NSW Police are warning potential buyers to exercise caution and ask for a proof-of-purchase from sellers after more than two dozen Apple Watch display models were stolen from stores in Sydney and Lake Macquarie.

The display models look identical to a fully functioning Apple Watch but lack most of its features, news.com.au reported.

It's rare anyone would buy an Apple Watch for its looks alone, so the display devices are essentially worthless.

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Officers began investigating after a dozen display models were stolen from a store in the Lake Macquarie suburb of Charlestown last month.

On Monday police released footage of three men brazenly snatching display models off the table at the Apple store at Westfield Hornsby in Sydney's northwest earlier this month before running out of the store.

The trio were spotted again at a nearby train station but remain on the run.

CCTV footage released by NSW Police show the three men flee when approached by store staff. Photo / NSW Police
CCTV footage released by NSW Police show the three men flee when approached by store staff. Photo / NSW Police

Police said initial inquiries suggested the two incidents were linked.

The three men are described as caucasian and believed to be in their mid-to-late teens.

The watch snatches are the latest in a spate of brazen thefts targeting Apple products despite the stolen devices having essentially no value.

The trio were spotted again at a nearby train station in dark clothing. Photo / NSW Police
The trio were spotted again at a nearby train station in dark clothing. Photo / NSW Police

Last month, a sledgehammer-wielding group of men smashed their way into two Perth Apple stores and stole almost $300,000 worth of iPhones, but because Apple can track which ones were stolen it can stop the devices ever being activated.

The weekend after the iPhone 11 launched, stores across nine Melbourne suburbs were also targeted by another group.

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