The officers clearly stated to New York City merchants that the Apple devices were stolen before they agreed to prices between $50 and $200, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne told the New York Post. Clerks and workers at a number of businesses, including barbershops, supermarkets, and pawn shops, were arrested in the sting.
"That's our intention, to reduce the places where people who steal these things can go and sell them," NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly reportedly said. "If someone is offering you an iPad for way below market value, you have to realize that it's most likely stolen."
Most arrests came from Brooklyn, where 42 people were charged. Another 41 were arrested in Manhattan, 31 in the Bronx, 21 in Queens, and 6 on Staten Island.
The businesses were targeted after the police spoke with prisoners already in custody. Those prisoners shared locations where they were selling stolen goods.
Police also cautioned that civilians should avoid showing off their smartphone in public. One source told the Post that "walking around with a cellphone is like walking around with a $500 bill," inviting theft.