Belgian heist lands thousands of stolen Apple iPhones

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
An elaborately planned theft of at least 3,000 iPhones in Belgium this weekend amounted to millions of euros worth of stolen property.



Local reports from De Standaard and Gazet van Antwerpen vary on whether it was 3,000 or 4,000 iPhones stolen, but at a worth of 575 to 675 euros each, the market value is said to be around 2 million euros, or $3 million U.S. The handsets were allegedly stolen from a Netherlands-based logistics company CEVA Logistics in Willebroek.



According to reports, the thieves climbed a fire ladder to get on the roof of the warehouses where the phones were being held. They then cut a hole into the roof, directly over where the iPhones were located.



Reports suggest the detail and precision of the theft implies someone had inside knowledge of the delivery and location of the iPhones. Officials with Ceva declined to comment on the theft, but were said to be "seriously annoyed by the intrusion," according to Google Translate.



The theft is apparently an issue for wireless carrier Mobistar, which has reportedly had trouble keeping the iPhone 3G and low-end iPhone 3GS in stock. Officials with the wireless provider contacted their supplier and expect to have a new stock of phones within days, but the company is anxious to resupply before their existing inventory runs out.



Because the serial numbers on the stolen phones are known, Mobsistar officials said they can block the handsets from accessing their network. Police are said to be looking into the matter, but currently have no leads.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 45
    successsuccess Posts: 1,039member
    Maybe someone from North America or Asia wanted Belgian chocolates so they made a deal.
  • Reply 2 of 45
    Belgian iPhones are unlocked. Mobistar can probably refuse access to their network for selected iPhones but is it possible for them to block access on all networks of all providers ?
  • Reply 3 of 45
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,141member
    It's a shame the GPS systems can't be used to track them once switched on. If each GPS system had a unique identifier this could be done but I don't think they do. If each GPS chip also held the serial number they'd be toast.
  • Reply 4 of 45
    Wow, not bad for a nights work! Nice score! Guess now is a good time to check Ebay and Craigslist for a great deal on a new Iphone!



    Jess
  • Reply 5 of 45
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,782member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by eddyk View Post


    Belgian iPhones are unlocked. Mobistar can probably refuse access to their network for selected iPhones but is it possible for them to block access on all networks of all providers ?



    Since the serial numbers are known, yes they can be blocked by any provider if they have been notified and if they are ethical. It would seem that Apple would want these serial numbers broadcast to the world.
  • Reply 6 of 45
    "...keeping the iPhone 3G and low-end iPhone 3GS in stock."
  • Reply 7 of 45
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    It's a shame the GPS systems can't be used to track them once switched on. If each GPS system had a unique identifier this could be done but I don't think they do. If each GPS chip also held the serial number they'd be toast.



    This would also lead to all sorts of privacy issues. Think before you write.
  • Reply 8 of 45
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,070member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by eddyk View Post


    Belgian iPhones are unlocked.



    So, they do not require a jailbreak
  • Reply 9 of 45
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Officials with Ceva declined to comment on the theft, but were said to be "seriously annoyed by the intrusion," according to Google Translate.



    I'd be "seriously annoyed" too if someone stole 3,000 of my iPhones. (I'm sure it's just a translation error)
  • Reply 10 of 45
    Were there any security cameras?
  • Reply 11 of 45
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Maybe I've watched too many heist movies but cutting a hole in the roof doesn't seem all that elaborate. But yeah it does sound like they had someone on the inside. Interviewing all the employees might be a good start.
  • Reply 12 of 45
    Ship them to China. They can't get enough of these iPhones.
  • Reply 13 of 45
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post


    Since the serial numbers are known, yes they can be blocked by any provider if they have been notified and if they are ethical. ...



    Two words. China. Russia
  • Reply 14 of 45
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    Question: Do we have Tom Cruse, Nicholas Cage or George Clooney play the lead in the Hollywood adaptation?
  • Reply 15 of 45
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post


    Question: Do we have Tom Cruse, Nicholas Cage or George Clooney play the lead in the Hollywood adaptation?



    Nah! They're just a bunch of "Droids"!



    As for the 3000 stolen iPhones, maybe Apple should consider placing them on the Mobile Me Network when they leave the factory to the store and once sold, have the Mobile Me feature end. That way, Apple can track using the "Where's my phone" feature in Mobile Me.
  • Reply 16 of 45
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post


    So, they do not require a jailbreak



    Unlocking is not exactly the same thing as jailbreaking. Jailbreaking does more than just unlocking the iPhone
  • Reply 17 of 45
    As much as I don't like Apple, I hate to hear when their stuff gets stolen. No matter how hard you try to prevent it though, it will continue to happen. Just like people who pirate software. We should however, be able to track or identify these people more easily. Didn't the Apple store have video surveillance, especially in Europe where it is so highly utilized? (I'm surprised they wouldn't use all the computer's iSights as an added security system to help ID thieves at night!)



    (I'm sure people will call me hypocrite due to my Hackintosh at home, but when I paid for the OS that is on it (Leopard, not SL) and I don't sell the OS by any means, I can't consider it theft. Other rules, maybe, but not theft.)
  • Reply 18 of 45
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post


    Since the serial numbers are known, yes they can be blocked by any provider if they have been notified and if they are ethical. It would seem that Apple would want these serial numbers broadcast to the world.



    Pedantically speaking, what is checked is the not the phone?s actual serial number, which Apple keeps track of and surely could tell if it was stolen if you called in for warranty issues. It?s the GSM-based network International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number that is used track and blacklist stolen phones around the world.



    The drawback with that, just like your Media Access Control (MAC) address being a virtual representation of your Burn In Address (BIA) on your Network Interface Card (NIC) is that it can be spoofed. There are/were jailbreaking apps that also gave you an option to change your IMEI. I?m not which countries make it illegal to change, but if you?re going to steal $3M in iPhones you likely aren?t going to care about that.
  • Reply 19 of 45
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kim kap sol View Post


    This would also lead to all sorts of privacy issues. Think before you write.



    I'm sorry; were you under the impression that by not having the GSM feature described by 'digitalclips', that you, therefor, had some sort of privacy?

    If you have a cell phone and "they" want you; they have you; no problem.
  • Reply 20 of 45
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    I think the Belgians should be on the lookout for a convoy of Minis being driven cross country with verve.
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