Apple is keen to get a prototype 3G MacBook back after North Carolina resident Carl Frega put it up for sale on eBay.

Cnet reports that Frega was contacted yesterday by Apple about having the unit returned.

Frega bought the unit through Craigslist, apparently wanting it for parts that he could use for his computer repair business. However, when he opened it up he found some unusual components: a slot for a SIM card and an external antenna, as well as a red circuit board.

Frega put the item on eBay, where bidding reached $70,000, before he was told by Apple to pull the listing, citing copyright and trademark infringements.

The system is said to be like a 2007 MacBook Pro, but the unusual components suggest that the machine is a prototype. Cnet reports that red circuit boards have been seen in prototype models before.

Apparently Frega had installed Snow Leopard on the 3G MacBook after acquiring it on Craigslist and then resold it through the same site. The new buyer reportedly took it to a local Apple Store's Genuis Bar where it was refused service due to the irregular components.

The buyer took Frega to the small claims court, resulting in Frega having to pay $740 to the buyer, with the prototype returned to his possession. The case was almost televised, according to Frega, but he turned down the opportunity to appear on the <i>Judge Mathis</i> show.

Strange as the story is, the real mystery is how the unit made it into the public domain in the first place.