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More than 100 Apple Store customers targeted by L.A. burglars

post #1 of 72
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More than 100 burglary victims near Los Angeles, Calif., are said to have been spotted and followed by criminals after they visited Apple retail stores.

According to the Los Angeles Times, a group of thieves in the metropolitan area conducted more than 100 "follow away" burglaries over the past year. In December, three L.A. residents were charged by the Orange County district attorney's office with burglary and grand theft in connection with 28 cases. The district attorney said customers who visited Apple retail stores had their vehicles broken into, and computers were stolen.

Another 15 cases since September are under investigation by the Manhattan Beach Police. Those victims were targeted at the Apple Store at the Village Mall on Sepulveda Boulevard.

"The suspects sought by Manhattan Beach police had a specific method of operation, Brown said. They stake out an Apple store and choose their target," the report said. "Then they follow their prospective victims when they drive to another shop or a parking spot near their home. If computers are left unattended inside the vehicle, the thieves strike."

It is believed that the burglaries are the result of a large crime ring that spans across Orange, Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and the stolen computers are being shipped out of the country. Law enforcement officials have advised residents not to leave expensive items like computers in their car unattended.

The burglaries first began in December 2008, when suspects reportedly attempted to break into the car of an undercover police officer who purchased an Apple computer at a store at the Shops at Mission Viejo in California.

Apple recently renovated its store in Mission Viejo after Microsoft opened its own retail outlet in the same mall.

As a seller of high-priced computers and electronic devices, Apple retail stores are frequently the target of burglaries. In September, thieves were caught on film at a New Jersey Apple store as they smashed a window in front of the location and ran out with tens of thousands of dollars in merchandise.
post #2 of 72
pretty smart I guess.
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post #3 of 72
Thanks for the heads up. That is my neighborhood.

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post #4 of 72
"Designed and Robbed in California"
post #5 of 72
For some reason I can't really picture burglars following people coming out of a Microsoft Store.
post #6 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

For some reason I can't really picture burglars following people coming out of a Microsoft Store.

There are easier ways to steal Windows.
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post #7 of 72
The same thing has been happening in Atlanta. Robbers will follow a person who bought a new mac and steal it from them when they are either at a stoplight or when they leave their vehicle.
post #8 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

For some reason I can't really picture burglars following people coming out of a Microsoft Store.

Then you have to open your eyes more.

There is no limit to stupidity. http://www.dumbcrooks.com/old-dumbcrooks-site/

I was thinking that there should be a comparable site for 'Dumb PC'rs'. But that would be redundant, wouldn't it?
post #9 of 72
You'd think with a hundred targeted Apple customers, the police can set up an easy sting operation to nab some of these crooks... Unless profiling has crept down to the local L.A. law enforcement world! Thank you very much, ACLU idjits!

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post #10 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

For some reason I can't really picture burglars following people coming out of a Microsoft Store.

LOL What a hoot!
post #11 of 72
I shop at the Apple store in San Francisco quite a bit. I've told the sales folks there countless of times to hand me my purchases in a bag that does not scream "steal me". Of course, it's not the fault of clerks.

It really irks me that Apple does not seem to see a problem of watching their customers carrying thousands of dollars in computer hardware out of their store in big bright-white boxes with a picture of the latptop/iMac prominently displayed on the side walking outside their store in a major downtown metropolitan city near the Tenderloin, where thieves, crackheads, punks hang out and not think "Hmm... maybe our packaging / wrapping should be more discrete?"

I no longer purchase high-ticket items at their stores. I'll just order them online and have them shipped. When I buy items that are placed in their bags, I bring another bag, backpack, something that conceals what I'm carrying. It's really stupid what they do.

It's irresponsible what they do. Some simple common-sense would do wonders.
post #12 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogcow View Post

There are easier ways to steal Windows.

lol was seriously thinking the same thing even though they sell 360 and ZuneHD there.

You'd have a better chance at robbing someone leaving a bestbuy and getting something valuable than the MS store (if your really scoping).

Atleast the criminals (i dont support stealing peoples stuff they had to work to buy) put some thought behind it, if they are taking them right after they buy them, then they are new-in-box and im sure in china or wherever they will fetch a good price.

Still...common sense would dictate to take yourself home if you know your carrying something that valuable. Thats like putting a LCD in your backseat and continue on shopping, your asking for trouble. Even if you put it in the trunk, you never know who may be watching.
post #13 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

I shop at the Apple store in San Francisco quite a bit. I've told the sales folks there countless of times to hand me my purchases in a bag that does not scream "steal me". Of course, it's not the fault of clerks.

Next time take along your own shopping bag from Sears or something similar.

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post #14 of 72
burglars? so tacky

ask ballmer or rubinstein...those are some real thieves with some finesse
post #15 of 72
Highly desirable Apple products sell well on the black market.


By the way, one can get free Ubuntu stickers to place over the Apple logo.

http://system76.com/article_info.php?articles_id=9


What you don't want to appear as is a smug, careless Apple snob. (even if your not, it appears so strutting fancy Apple gear)

It's cool to be poor and suffering now, shows sympathy with others who are not doing so well.


I went down one busy street today, and there was a dozen people with signs begging for work.


The Apple Authorized Seller I visited today to get a new battery is down from 3 full timers to just one.


True unemployment rate is closer to 18%, rather than the 10% based upon unemployment checks.


The current employment amount is leveling out to almost the same level as the last recession under Clinton, so something very bad is occurring, we are not creating new jobs, most likely China is to blame. Bush gave us a temporary boost, but now that's all gone.

Heads need to roll in Congress and we need a government that's more friendly to business that puts people to work and rebuilds America, we are done playing socialist now.

What's next for America? Hugo Chavez?
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post #16 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by appleinsider View Post

more than 100 burglary victims near los angeles, calif., are said to have been spotted and followed by criminals after they visited apple retail stores.

t.n.s.
post #17 of 72
They'll catch them...and in prison they'll have a roof over their head, 3 sq. meals a day and plenty of sex! Also, most likely will only have PC's to use...insult to injury, I guess!
post #18 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by gkelly View Post

The same thing has been happening in Atlanta. Robbers will follow a person who bought a new mac and steal it from them when they are either at a stoplight or when they leave their vehicle.

Another reason to buy online.

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post #19 of 72
Now this is taking "Get a Mac" WAY too far.
I know, it isn't funny, but it almost sounds like bragging on the brand.
post #20 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Next time take along your own shopping bag from Sears or something similar.

...Maybe something with the Microsoft logo?

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post #21 of 72
I went to the Adobe CS3 launch in early 2007 at the Apple Store in London's Regent Street then later dinned at a restaurant around the corner. I had my bag (containing work laptop) literally slid out from under my seat! I did not get the laptop out of my bag during the presentation bit I guess my bag screamed "flash laptop inside!!!". Targeting Apple Stores has been around for a while.
post #22 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

...Apple recently renovated its store in Mission Viejo after Microsoft opened its own retail outlet in the same mall....

This gives me the opportunity to share a couple recent observations. Since the apple store in tampa was renovated a couple months ago, doing away with the point of sale desks that used to be at the front of the store, i think efficiency has declined. Last week I saw five or six people in a queue directly in front of the genius bar, and thought it was the line I should wait in for my genius bar appointment. Turns out that's where people were waiting to purchase items they'd picked out in the store. Today, two friends (not regulars at the apple retail outlets) went to the same store to make a small product purchase. They told me afterwards there were more than ten people in line and only one person running "checkout". "Confusing" and "inefficient" were the words they used, neither terms apple wants to plant in customers' minds. *

I love apple, and own a lot of its stock. I hope these renovations don't emphasize form at the cost of function.

* -- Both instances could be explained away by how busy the stores were--there were probably 1.5 customers for each staffer at the store during my visit, and if more than ten people were in line to make purchases when my friends visited, sales were obviously booming that day, too. But it's management's job to meet demand, so the flip side of "great business" is "inadequate staffing". It's easy to staff at the Sony store across from the apple store I frequent in a different city: I actually feel sorry for them, seeing one or several customers in the store while the apple store has many dozens. I hear the MS stores experience the same sort of low traffic. Still, it's apple's job to manage its sales with dazzling warmth and efficiency. What are others seeing at their stores after renovations?
post #23 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

...Maybe something with the Microsoft logo?

yes or print this out and paste it over the apple logo, should scare anyone off...

post #24 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

They'll catch them...and in prison they'll have a roof over their head, 3 sq. meals a day and plenty of sex! Also, most likely will only have PC's to use...insult to injury, I guess!


A roof yes, but crowded conditions and poor food because California is dead broke, issuing IOU's and begging the federal government for 7 billion dollars, and that's just the start. Also any good food is eaten by the kitchen staff or smuggled to be sold on the yard, most everyone else gets under-nutritional slop.

Sex? perhaps for the small amount of homosexuals, they are often kept separate from the general population because they are so disruptive. Plus if inmates were getting sex, you think they would be too docile to bother trying to kill each other and power struggle 24 hours a day.

No PC's for inmates, outside a rare few who need it for their jobs or training, certainly no internet, think of the crime it would cause.

They do get a TV, if someone "approved" sends it' in for them, great pacifier and behavior controller. However since the digital switch requires a expensive HDTV, not many get it, since it's easily destroyed by a disgruntled cellmate.


Some of my family works in corrections, I hear all sorts of stories.
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post #25 of 72
when i get bored i read the rimm board.

doesn't anybody ever steal a blackberry? the rimm board says that everybody walking around has a blackberry and nothing else.
post #26 of 72
GOOD: the police will warn customers to not leave valuables in the car.

GREAT: the police actually try to take down the 'large crime ring'.

Hey, it's good to dream of a government organization that actually tries to help it's taxpayers.
post #27 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post

Highly desirable Apple products sell well on the black market.


By the way, one can get free Ubuntu stickers to place over the Apple logo.

http://system76.com/article_info.php?articles_id=9


What you don't want to appear as is a smug, careless Apple snob. (even if your not, it appears so strutting fancy Apple gear)

It's cool to be poor and suffering now, shows sympathy with others who are not doing so well.


I went down one busy street today, and there was a dozen people with signs begging for work.


The Apple Authorized Seller I visited today to get a new battery is down from 3 full timers to just one.


True unemployment rate is closer to 18%, rather than the 10% based upon unemployment checks.


The current employment amount is leveling out to almost the same level as the last recession under Clinton, so something very bad is occurring, we are not creating new jobs, most likely China is to blame. Bush gave us a temporary boost, but now that's all gone.

Heads need to roll in Congress and we need a government that's more friendly to business that puts people to work and rebuilds America, we are done playing socialist now.

What's next for America? Hugo Chavez?


Dude, in this day in age, people don't want to work... people are irresponsible. Years ago, there were skilled tradesman, people built things. Today you have a bad combination of bad pop culture and mindless marketing numbing people on TV. Have you seen the John Adam's HBO Series? If not, I highly recommend it. Anyway, people blame the government for everything so they don't have a reason to change for themselves.
post #28 of 72
This would be a good opportunity for Apple to release a new product. The iTerminator.

post #29 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

I shop at the Apple store in San Francisco quite a bit. I've told the sales folks there countless of times to hand me my purchases in a bag that does not scream "steal me".

at what point do you, after purchasing a product, take responsibility for getting it to your front door?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

It really irks me that Apple does not seem to see a problem of watching their customers carrying thousands of dollars in computer hardware out of their store in big bright-white boxes with a picture of the latptop/iMac prominently displayed on the side walking outside their store in a major downtown metropolitan city near the Tenderloin, where thieves, crackheads, punks hang out and not think "Hmm... maybe our packaging / wrapping should be more discrete?"

the tenderloin is about 3 or 4 blocks away--and these are big city blocks. there are plenty of options for getting your purchased mac things home, completely bypassing the tenderloin. one of those being that the apple store will bring your purchased item to your car in front of the store. if you go shopping afterwards, leaving your brand new computer in your car (like the article suggests), you're simply inviting someone to break into your car. leaving only yourself to blame. plan ahead if this is a concern for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

I no longer purchase high-ticket items at their stores. I'll just order them online and have them shipped. When I buy items that are placed in their bags, I bring another bag, backpack, something that conceals what I'm carrying. It's really stupid what they do.

It's irresponsible what they do. Some simple common-sense would do wonders.

i'm assuming that you're calling apple irresponsible. this makes no sense. when did we become a culture that doesn't even recognize our own personal responsibility?
post #30 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post

What's next for America? Hugo Chavez?

Already there. Try crossing the border legally sometime....

Back on topic, it makes perfect sense to exercise some street sense when walking out of a store with hundreds or thousands of dollars of highly-desirable gear. Apple or otherwise.
post #31 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by azzurri View Post

This would be a good opportunity for Apple to release a new product. The iTerminator.


He's what you could really call iT support!
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post #32 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

You'd think with a hundred targeted Apple customers, the police can set up an easy sting operation to nab some of these crooks... Unless profiling has crept down to the local L.A. law enforcement world! Thank you very much, ACLU idjits!

I suppose you likely blame Pres. Obama for this too, eh? Conservatives are funny in how they try to turn everything into an attack on those who protect our freedoms.

And yes, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure is an important freedom that we enjoy here in the United State because of groups such as the ACLU who rightfully oppose prosecutors and law enforcement in the rare instance when they violate these liberties. Now don't mistakenly interpret my statements to say that I do not support our prosecuting attorneys or police. I believe that the vast majority of them are doing a great job protecting the public and have respect for the rule of law and our Constitutional rights. Unfortunately, right wing extremism has tried to paint the picture that if you do not blindly support the military, police, government, or whatever that you are somehow opposed to them. Not the case at all!!

I support our local police AND I support the ACLU and there is really no contradiction between the two. Both are crucial in protecting our property and our freedom.

Now as far as the "sting operation" you suggest, that would not be "profiling" at all. However, what this article essentially describes are minor property crimes. The theft of computers from a locked cars is not a serious enough crime that the police force can invest resources to conduct sting operations. Thanks to the economic downturn, the budgets of state and local governments particularly in California are not it great shape, as you know.

And you can blame that on the misguided economic policies of the Bush administration. Not the ACLU.
post #33 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

You'd think with a hundred targeted Apple customers, the police can set up an easy sting operation to nab some of these crooks... Unless profiling has crept down to the local L.A. law enforcement world! Thank you very much, ACLU idjits!

Perhaps you should read the whole article before posting your inflammatory comments. The article clearly states that the crooks were caught by an undercover cop. As far as your opinion of the ACLU, I hereby nominate you to serve as an example to the rest of us by giving up your civil rights.
post #34 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilogic View Post

Dude, in this day in age, people don't want to work... people are irresponsible. Years ago, there were skilled tradesman, people built things. Today you have a bad combination of bad pop culture and mindless marketing numbing people on TV. Have you seen the John Adam's HBO Series? If not, I highly recommend it. Anyway, people blame the government for everything so they don't have a reason to change for themselves.


People do want to work, it gives them a feeling of purpose.

The trouble is, cheaper labor overseas, robots, production methods and manufacturing techniques that render skilled trades and labor nearly obsolete.

Also, too many people and socialist creep.

Take the UAW for instance, $75 hour pay and 90% even if they are not working, full medical (and then some) when equal, non-union workers in a Honda plant in South Carolina get $45 a hour.

People raise their standard of living as soon as possible to their income limit, borrow like hell after that and then fight like cats against anything that will threaten it instead of simply saving and surviving.

It doesn't help when companies gouge the consumers when they can lower their prices and get more customers. For instance would be AT&T and Comcast, even Apple.

We need deflation, to offset the years of price gouging and give people value for their money, but the government is printing more money to try to offset it. It's going to come anyway, just like it did in Japan.

I'll watch the series though, thanks.
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post #35 of 72
I've had a Mac stolen (it sucks) and the REAL problem is the crooks that buy the stolen ones. Apple needs to protect its customer better. The next time that stolen Mac "phones home" for an update, it gets permanently shut down until it sees an Apple store... at which point, if you are not the purchaser of record you will get a courteous escort out by your local authorities to a lovely over night accommodation.
post #36 of 72
This isn't unique to California. I live in Nashville, TN and one of the local outdoor malls had a new vehicle in the parking lot over the holidays....a portable crow's nest. It allows the police to get a high view of the parking lot to watch potential thieves following people to vehicles. There's no Apple store here, but there is a Best Buy and plenty of big ticket consumer electronics leave that place every day. And the Target next door sells TVs too. The crows nest isn't subtle...it has police markings and flashing lights. The authorities want people to know they are being watched. What's amazing is that this step needed to be done at all...the mall is right next door to the local police prescient station.
post #37 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Landcruiser View Post

I've had a Mac stolen (it sucks) and the REAL problem is the crooks that buy the stolen ones. Apple needs to protect its customer better. The next time that stolen Mac "phones home" for an update, it gets permanently shut down until it sees an Apple store... at which point, if you are not the purchaser of record you will get a courteous escort out by your local authorities to a lovely over night accommodation.

apple needs to protect its customer better? it's apple's fault that your product was stolen?
post #38 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

I shop at the Apple store in San Francisco quite a bit. I've told the sales folks there countless of times to hand me my purchases in a bag that does not scream "steal me". Of course, it's not the fault of clerks.

It really irks me that Apple does not seem to see a problem of watching their customers carrying thousands of dollars in computer hardware out of their store in big bright-white boxes with a picture of the latptop/iMac prominently displayed on the side walking outside their store in a major downtown metropolitan city near the Tenderloin, where thieves, crackheads, punks hang out and not think "Hmm... maybe our packaging / wrapping should be more discrete?"

I no longer purchase high-ticket items at their stores. I'll just order them online and have them shipped. When I buy items that are placed in their bags, I bring another bag, backpack, something that conceals what I'm carrying. It's really stupid what they do.

It's irresponsible what they do. Some simple common-sense would do wonders.

Really? REALLY? So everyone who sells expensive items should put them in plain, drab boxes simply because there's a possibility of getting robbed when you leave the store? You can't possibly be serious. Once you get it out, it's YOUR responsibility, not theirs. Drive it straight home if you're so worried and keep the doors locked. Put it in the trunk before you leave. Seriously, getting fed up at Apple over something like this is just plain retarded.
post #39 of 72
Don't take a bag full of shiny new gear from a high dollar store, lock it in the trunk of your car, and then continue shopping on foot. At least drive to another location b/c that will foil the thieves on foot (but not necessarily the ones with access to a car).

This happened in LA? I'm shocked, shocked I tell you!

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post #40 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by MadIvan View Post

Perhaps you should read the whole article before posting your inflammatory comments. The article clearly states that the crooks were caught by an undercover cop. As far as your opinion of the ACLU, I hereby nominate you to serve as an example to the rest of us by giving up your civil rights.

It doesn't say that the crooks were caught, only that their first attempted victim was an undercover cop. Apparently the crooks are still at it from what th article says.

The burglaries first began in December 2008, when suspects reportedly attempted to break into the car of an undercover police officer who purchased an Apple computer at a store at the Shops at Mission Viejo in California.
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