Apple crime blotter: Find my iPhone locates carjacker, iPhone X chase, and more

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From coast to coast, law enforcement follows the Find My iPhone signal to recover stolen devices. Plus, a theft spree during a marathon in India, and multiple burglaries from schools as they gear up for the fall return of students.

the latest Apple Store robbery, in Costa Mesa

The suspects in the Apple Store robbery (via Costa Mesa Police Department)


The latest in an occasional AppleInsider feature: A look at Apple crime around the world.

Another Apple Store robbery in California

The latest in a series of robberies of Apple Stores around the country this summer took place in Costa Mesa, Calif., on July 23. According to ABC 7, five suspects ran into the store and took $29,000 worth of iPhones and iPads. The suspects grabbed the display items and ran out.

It's unknown if any of the recent Apple Store thefts have been related to one another, and it also doesn't appear that any arrests have been made.

60 iPads taken from Georgia middle school

Thieves stole 60 iPads, as well as music equipment, art supplies and other items from a middle school in Athens, Ga. According to Fox 5 Atlanta, at least one of the iPads has been recovered, after someone bought it stolen. A school spokesperson told the TV station that the school's insurance policy will cover the cost of the items, "but it's the principle."

California elementary school theft nets over 100 iPads

Not to be outdone, thieves reportedly stole 172 iPads, with a value of $90,000, from an elementary school in Poway, Calif. According to NBC San Diego, the school's library and 11 classrooms were broken into at Tierra Bonita Elementary, an Apple Distinguished School. The thieves are believed to have scaled a wall and entered the school through the roof.

Man accused of using stolen credit card for $4,000 Apple Store purchase

Police in Manchester, N.H., are looking for a man who they say stole a credit card from a workout facility and then used it at the Manchester Apple Store to purchase $4,000 worth of goods. According to Manchester Ink Link, the man was clearly photographed while inside the store.

NBA's J.R. Smith accused of throwing fan's phone

Basketball player J.R. Smith may face charges in connection with an incident in which he allegedly grabbed a man's smartphone and threw it into a construction site. According to TMZ Sports, the man had attempted to take a picture with Smith outside a New York City night spot last Saturday, but the NBA player rebuffed him. Later, when the fan took a picture anyway, Smith grabbed the "$800 phone" -- referred to as an iPhone in some other media reports -- and tossed it into a nearby construction zone.

New York City police are investigating the incident.

iPad helped police track stolen ambulance

After a woman stole an ambulance from a hospital in Houston at 4 a.m. on July 30, police tracked it after they found a way to track an iPad that was in the ambulance and had pinged. According to ABC 13, the woman crashed the ambulance, and after she was pulled out of the wreckage, she was brought to the hospital.

Find My iPhone catches a carjacker

Two teenagers in Omaha, Neb. helped foil a carjacker by utilizing the Find My iPhone feature. According to KETV, two 17-year-olds were at a gas station with their Chevy Cruze when the carjacker approached, said "Sorry bro, I have to do this," and he took off with the car.

Because the driver's phone was in the car, his friend activated "Find My iPhone," and alerted police. A police helicopter tracked the suspect to his location, where he ditched the car on foot and was eventually arrested.

He was charged with theft and obstructing a police officer.

Stolen iPhone X leads to chase

In another story of a car chase aimed at tracking down a single stolen iPhone, a sheriff's deputy in Northern California followed and then apprehended a suspect for about 9 miles on I-80 after he stole an iPhone X. According to the Auburn Journal, the suspect had taken the device from a T-Mobile store, and once caught was arrested on suspicion of both the theft itself and "being in possession of a cutting tool alleged by investigators to have been the device used to lop off the phone's anti-theft cable."

Chase scene leads to discovery of several iPhones

In another part of California, another T-Mobile was robbed of phone merchandise, leading to a high-speed highway chase. According to the Santa Clarita Valley Signal, a man and woman took seven phones -- five iPhone 8 phones and two Samsung phones -- from the store and took off on Interstate 5.

Following a chase that reached speeds of 100 miles per hour, the two were arrested at a Carls Jr. restaurant.

iPhones stolen during marathon in India

Ten phones, at least one of which was an iPhone, were stolen July 30 from a marathon in Vashi, India. According to The Hindu, which attributed the theft to "unidentified miscreants," the phones were taken when the thieves broke into cars of runners during the race. Police told the news outlet that they tracked the stolen iPhone nearly 60 miles away in Nalasopara but had lost track of it.

They also said that the organizers of the marathon had not received permission to hold the event, and therefore there had been no arrangements made to guarantee security.

Couple arrested for stealing iPad, MacBook, dog

A man and woman have been arrested in Youngstown, Ohio, for a home burgarly in which they took a MacBook, an iPad, expensive jewelry, and a dog.

According to WKBN, the dog, a French bulldog, was returned shortly after the robbery, and the couple was later arrested at an OVI checkpoint.

Woman arrested for selling stolen iPhone

A 50-year-old woman was arrested this week in North Carolina for taking an iPhone that had been stolen from a Sprint store within the hour and selling it on an ecoATM kiosk.

According to CBS 17, the woman was charged with felony larceny and obtaining property by false pretense.

iOS phishing scam leads to "Lance Roger at AppleCare"

A new variety of phishing scam has emerged, one that brings up a fake AppleCare windows. According to Ars Technica, the scheme is meant to get users to sign up for fake mobile device management services, and eventually extract money. The scam has been known to use a bogus persona named "Lance Roger from Apple Care."

Walmart employee's $6,000 theft spree included Apple Watch, accessories

An employee at Walmart in Louisiana was arrested August 1 and is accused of stealing nearly $6,000 worth of electronics items from the store, including iPhone charges and earbuds that he had removed from an iPhone box. According to My Arklamiss, the 24-year-old man did not steal the iPhones themselves from those boxes, but he did take an Apple Watch series 3and several Samsung products.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
     Find my iPhone saves the day hooray !
    jbdragon
  • Reply 2 of 13
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,611member
    Due to security measures like "Find my iPhone" iCloud lock, how anyone think to steal iPhone/iPad when it can not be unlocked to use or sell ? It is more like expensive brick. Moreover, it can be tracked.
    edited August 5 repressthisracerhomie3macseekerjbdragon
  • Reply 3 of 13
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,601member
    wood1208 said:
    Due to security measures like "Find my iPhone" iCloud lock, how anyone think to steal iPhone/iPad when it can not be unlocked to use or sell ? It is more like expensive brick. Moreover, it can be tracked.
    But a person stealing & selling it doesn't really care. Once they get their money they got what they wanted out of the deal. They couldn't care less if it's locked or not. Just turn it off and it cannot be tracked back to you. It's the person buying it that gets screwed!
    edited August 5
  • Reply 4 of 13
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 226member
    macxpress said:
    wood1208 said:
    Due to security measures like "Find my iPhone" iCloud lock, how anyone think to steal iPhone/iPad when it can not be unlocked to use or sell ? It is more like expensive brick. Moreover, it can be tracked.
    But a person stealing & selling it doesn't really care. Once they get their money they got what they wanted out of the deal. They couldn't care less if it's locked or not. Just turn it off and it cannot be tracked back to you. It's the person buying it that gets screwed!
    That may be true in some cases.  But many of these thieves don’t exactly rate high on the IQ scorecard.  It’s a high risk effort for relatively little reward.  Remember, if your going to steal, steal big!
    jbdragon
  • Reply 5 of 13
    JohnDeeJohnDee Posts: 23member
    spare parts are still very much in demand...
    lkruppalanh
  • Reply 6 of 13
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,368member
    1) What kind of asshole do you have to be to steal from kids at an elementary and middle school?

    2) What kind of prick steals a pet?

    3) Instead of paying for a service like LoJack I've wondered if just using an old iPhone that has Find My iPhone on it and then hiding it in the car and wiring it so it can get continuous power. What I don't know is if I can wire it directly to the DC with a properly spliced USB connector or if I'll need an inverter. So far all the inverters I've sen need to be switched on after the car losing power and they do tend to give off some heat due to the conversion. Is there any solution here that would allow a $10/month cellular charge for a DIY "PoJack" setup?
  • Reply 7 of 13
    normmnormm Posts: 523member
    Soli said:
    3) Instead of paying for a service like LoJack I've wondered if just using an old iPhone that has Find My iPhone on it and then hiding it in the car and wiring it so it can get continuous power. What I don't know is if I can wire it directly to the DC with a properly spliced USB connector or if I'll need an inverter. So far all the inverters I've sen need to be switched on after the car losing power and they do tend to give off some heat due to the conversion. Is there any solution here that would allow a $10/month cellular charge for a DIY "PoJack" setup?
    You need 5 volts DC, and a car battery supplies 12.  Recent cars have built-in USB ports.  If yours doesn't, you could use a cigarette-lighter USB power port, which contains a voltage regulator (rather than an inverter).  If you only charge the phone when the car is running, there's no concern about constant power drain (which is tiny anyways).  If someone steals your car, the car will be running.
    Solijbdragon
  • Reply 8 of 13
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 846member
    Soli said:
    1) What kind of asshole do you have to be to steal from kids at an elementary and middle school?

    2) What kind of prick steals a pet?
    1) Thieves don't care. It's the same mentality that will cause $20000 worth of damage to wiring/HVAC units so they can steal $2 worth of copper.
    2) Same as #1 -- they don't care. French bulldogs are quite expensive in the US and as long as they get a few hundred dollars quickly from the heist they are happy.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 9 of 13
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,442member
    Can we assume the display items in the Apple stores are activation locked? What would the thieves gain from stealing these? Will they fence/sell them to unsuspecting people looking for a cheap bargain? Does that explain why I see users on the Apple discussion forums asking how to defeat activation lock on a daily basis? Will they fence them to repair shops for the parts? 
  • Reply 10 of 13
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,442member
    linkman said:
    Soli said:
    1) What kind of asshole do you have to be to steal from kids at an elementary and middle school?

    2) What kind of prick steals a pet?
    1) Thieves don't care. It's the same mentality that will cause $20000 worth of damage to wiring/HVAC units so they can steal $2 worth of copper.
    2) Same as #1 -- they don't care. French bulldogs are quite expensive in the US and as long as they get a few hundred dollars quickly from the heist they are happy.
    And it’s almost always to support a drug habit. Quick cash for the next hit.
  • Reply 11 of 13
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,889member
    lkrupp said:
    Can we assume the display items in the Apple stores are activation locked? What would the thieves gain from stealing these? Will they fence/sell them to unsuspecting people looking for a cheap bargain? Does that explain why I see users on the Apple discussion forums asking how to defeat activation lock on a daily basis? Will they fence them to repair shops for the parts? 
    Someone activated Activation Lock on my Grandma's iPad Mini. It's been locked up for the last couple years. It's pretty much worthless. She doesn't have the receipt so can't go to Apple can get them to Unlock it. What do you do? I wish she had did at least 1 backup on her desktop as we would have been able to wipe it and remove Activation Lock! That's a good reason to do a real backup on your Desktop computer. Not a cloud backup.
    edited August 6
  • Reply 12 of 13
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 846member
    jbdragon said:
    lkrupp said:
    Can we assume the display items in the Apple stores are activation locked? What would the thieves gain from stealing these? Will they fence/sell them to unsuspecting people looking for a cheap bargain? Does that explain why I see users on the Apple discussion forums asking how to defeat activation lock on a daily basis? Will they fence them to repair shops for the parts? 
    Someone activated Activation Lock on my Grandma's iPad Mini. It's been locked up for the last couple years. It's pretty much worthless. She doesn't have the receipt so can't go to Apple can get them to Unlock it. What do you do? I wish she had did at least 1 backup on her desktop as we would have been able to wipe it and remove Activation Lock! That's a good reason to do a real backup on your Desktop computer. Not a cloud backup.
    Neither a restore from a backup on a desktop nor a restore from a backup on the cloud will remove the activation lock. The only ways to remove the activation lock are with the appropriate ID/password or with proof of purchase sent to Apple support. She needs to obtain access to her Apple ID again (she needs to go through account recovery procedures) so she can use it to remove the activation lock.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    macguimacgui Posts: 934member
    You can buy USB adapters that can be wired to a 12V electrical circuit. It's pretty easy to find an always on 12V source. No inverter required. 

    In most US cars the cigarette lighter socket (in cars that have them) and/or 12V power sockets (look just like the cigarette light socket) are alway hot. It's easy to tap into those.

    In most imports, the sockets are off when the ignition is off. But it's still easy to find 12V 'live' under the dash. Unless the car's battery is in bad shape, a phone 'charging' 24/7 will take quite awhile for the parasitic drain to affect starting the car.

    While a phone has to be able to make a 9-1-1 call without an account, I don't know if Find My iPhone will work without one. (For this scenario it should be assumed WiFi won't be an option.) I'm too lazy to see if FMI will work with my no-account 4S. LOL!


    Soli
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