Apple crime blotter: Apple Store receives meth, California thefts continue despite arrests...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2018
Several more Apple Store robberies in California, a Congressman's campaign cash spending spree including Apple Store visits, and an NFL star is accused of insider trading over FaceTime. The latest from the Apple crime blotter.

surveillance footage of the Walnut Creek, Calif., Apple Store theft, via the Walnut Creek Police Department


The latest in an occasional AppleInisder feature, a roundup of Apple-related crime:

Apple Store theft crew caught, but robberies continue in California

A crew was arrested in Thousand Oaks, Calif., August 20 and suspected of responsibility for several of the thefts at Apple Stores throughout this year. Several more Apple Store thefts took place in California in the ensuing days.

A crew of eight men was arrested after stealing 38 iPhones from the Fashion Island Apple Store in Orange County. The Los Angeles Times reported that five of the men were arrested last Tuesday on suspicion of conspiracy and burglary, while three other suspects fled.

A separate robbery took place the following day at Corte Madera in Marin County on We. According to the Marin Independent Journal, the five thieves ran into the store, grabbed items from two tables, and ran off, fleeing in a Honda sedan. Police say the theft netted $19,000. Then, days later, thieves hit an Apple Store in Walnut Creek, Calif., and another robbery took place in Valencia days after that.

The Associated Press reported that the five people arrested in Thousand Oaks are "suspected of being an organized retail theft crew." It's unclear whether the crews are working together, but it is clear that the arrests have not deterred the other thefts from taking place.

Iowa man caught, accused of stealing 35 iPhones

A man in Iowa was arrested August 27, after police say he stole 35 iPhones from a Sprint store at gunpoint and then led police officers on a chase. According to the Des Moines Register, the man brandished a BB gun and took the phones and about $400 in cash from a safe. Earlier in the day, the same man had stolen a car, also at gunpoint.

Police say that after crashing a car, he was apprehended and charged with first-degree robbery.

Crystal meth sent to Apple Store

A package of crystal meth was mistakenly sent via FedEx to the Apple Store location at New York's Grand Central Terminal. According to the New York Post, a store employee opened a box that arrived at the store in early July and discovered two bags of the drug.

A drug dealer, who had somehow managed to write the wrong address while shipping drugs to a heavily policed transit hub via a method that leaves a clear paper trail, was arrested four days later.

Indicted Congressman accused of spending campaign cash at Apple Store

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), along with his wife Margaret, was indicted August 21 and charged with wire fraud and conspiracy, as well as campaign finance violations. Prosecutors say the Hunters illegally directed $250,000 in campaign funds for their personal use. According to the indictment, as cited by CNN, Rep. Hunter in 2010 visited an Apple Store and used campaign money to spend both $1,199 on a Mac computer and $41.04 on a video game.

Three years later, Hunter returned to an Apple Store and spent $138.19 on iPhone accessories, including a camera lens, and told his chief of staff the latter purchase was a "campaign receipt."

NFL star indicted for insider trading used FaceTime to communicate with accomplice

NFL linebacker Mychal Kendricks was indicted Wednesday on charges that he engaged in insider trading along with his accomplice, Damilare Sonoiki. Sonoiki was a Goldman Sachs employee who would tip off Kendricks to impending mergers and acquisitions.

According to separate SEC civil charges cited by ESPN, the two men communicated through "methods of communication that they apparently believed would not be uncovered, such as FaceTime."

Kendricks issued a statement admitting to his role in the scheme and apologizing, and he was released by the Cleveland Browns on Thursday.

Man arrested for stealing iPhone, moped

A 19-year-old in Massachusetts has been arrested for stealing a moped from a 16-year-old acquaintance, along with his iPhone. According to the Hartford Courant, the accused stole the moped.

Then, three days later, the accused and an accomplice pulled a BB gun on the 16-year-old, threatened him, and stole the contents of his pockets, which included his iPhone, a charger, a knife, and a sheet of math homework.

Man pleads guilty to part in $40,000 iPhone/iPad identity theft scheme

A 41-year-old man has entered a guilty plea for his part in a scheme to order $40,000 worth of iPhones and iPads under false names, open attached Sprint accounts, and order them to be delivered to addresses in Nashua, N.H. The man and two accomplices then grabbed the packages and sold the devices. According to the Union Leader newspaper, the three conspirators were arrested in January.

Two arrested in iPhone delivery scam

In a similar case to the Nashua one above, two men were arrested August 23 in Clarks Summit, PA., after retrieving several iPhones that had been delivered to an address there. The two men were charged with theft, criminal conspiracy and other counts, the Times-Tribune said.

Lunch ladies accused of school theft

A pair of sisters who supervised two school cafeterias in New Canaan, CT., for years, skimmed more than $500,000 over a five-year period, The New Canaanite reported. In addition to the cash, one of the accused returned an iPad belonging to the school to police -- "saying she didn't realize she had it and didn't want to be accused of stealing it"-- while a man connected to the alleged scheme later returned a school-issued iPhone and iPad.

South Carolina man accused of $2,000 electronics theft

A man has been arrested for stealing what police say was $2,000 in consumer electronics from a Walmart and Verizon Store in South Carolina. Police say the man stole a display iPad and two laptops from the Walmart and an iPhone 8 from Verizon, the Journal Gazette and Times Courier reported. Both thefts were caught on video surveillance.

Credit card thief caught due to distinctive haircut, jersey

A man in Wyoming was arrested after police caught him buying an iPhone, Apple Watch and other items with a stolen credit card. According to Oil City News, police say the man stole several cards from a wallet in a YMCA locker room, and used them for a shopping spree at Walmart and Target. Police said surveillance video made it clear the thief was a "skinny white male with a man bun or top knot" hairstyle, wearing a brown Wyoming Cowboys jersey with a number 1 on it.

He was later arrested after police responded to a public intoxication call at a party supply store, where the suspect was found holding the stolen iPhone and wearing the same clothes from the video.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    BobJewelsBobJewels Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    I continue to wonder why there are no articles about massive Android thefts in the media.   
    Oh wait........ >:)
    p-dog
  • Reply 2 of 18
    D_CMillsD_CMills Posts: 20unconfirmed, member
    Wow that moped story... 

    In Facebook messages between Embair and a friend, the 19-year-old wrote: “I was proving a point that I can do whatever I want to him, even take his life …,” according to the affidavit.

    I am curious what their relationship was, because that is pretty messed up. 

    And I love that the lunch ladies were being charged with stealing $500,000, but they didn’t want to be charged with stealing an iPad as well. Like, what difference would that have made to their sentencing at that point?
    edited September 2018
  • Reply 3 of 18
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,782member
    BobJewels said:
    I continue to wonder why there are no articles about massive Android thefts in the media.   
    Oh wait........ >:)

    There are very few "Android" stores in existence. You only find that trash in Best Buy, Target, and other big box stores. Apple stores are open, airy, and welcoming, the exact sort of space that the smash and grab gangs like because they can move quickly in a shock-and-awe sort of way. If you look at the videos people milling around aren't even aware of what's happening and those who do are kind of stunned into inaction. Store employees are porbably trained to just stand back and do nothing as a matter of policy and safety. The gangs know this, of course, and that's why Apple stores have become targets of choice. They are easy, low hanging fruit. 

    We still have not had any real research into what happens to the stolen merchandise. Who do they fence this stuff to? What about activation locks and serial numbers? Can the devices be put on some list that Apple sees when they appear on the network? Is there a black market for parts, a sort of Apple chop shop? Maybe AppleInsider should do some investigative journalism on this?
    bonobobarthurbap-dogjony0
  • Reply 4 of 18
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,153member
    I am curious what their relationship was, because that is pretty messed up. 

    That's beyond messed up. That's potentially a very dangerous menace in the making.  


    I wonder if the two cafeteria stories about returning Apple kit were about the suspects knowing or finding out that Find My iPwn could be their undoing.


    The Y-M-C-A Cowboy should have been arrested by the Fashion Police even if he hadn't committed traditional criminal offenses. A man bun? A man bun with a cowboy hat? A man bun with a cowboy hat and a distinctive jersey??

    That jersey may as well have said 'I'm the crook you're looking for. If only the Smoking Gun would print his mug shot— It's MEME TIME!
  • Reply 5 of 18
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,153member

    lkrupp said:
    We still have not had any real research into what happens to the stolen merchandise. Who do they fence this stuff to? What about activation locks and serial numbers? Can the devices be put on some list that Apple sees when they appear on the network? Is there a black market for parts, a sort of Apple chop shop? Maybe AppleInsider should could do some investigative journalism on this?
    These questions and more... Seriously, I've been asking myself the same questions.  Certainly the activation lock thing must hamper the resale value. Maybe there's an end run around it and Apple doesn't want it known.

    And while possible, it doesn't seem likely that there's that much of a demand for genuine Apple parts. Although I guess they could be sold to Mall kiosks. They couldn't advertise 'genuine' replacement parts, but there's be a better quality of repair.

    But then there's the fact that somebody has to 'chop' the phones. Even with a lot of practice, it's still labor intensive.

    Three local police departments near me have reported a very sharp decline in iPhone and iPad robberies (different than burglaries). Most occurred at various BART (our public transit rail system) stations. The decline was noticed shortly after the public mention of PD's wanting Apple to do something, which resulted in the activation lock. Apple might have already been working on it, ahead of public safety requests.

    Some still happen. Whether it's ignorant thieves, or they want any personal data of value off the phone, IDK. Find my iPhone has caught a number of robbery and burglary suspects and can be assumed to be at least partly responsible for the decline.
    roake
  • Reply 6 of 18
    BobJewels said:
    I continue to wonder why there are no articles about massive Android thefts in the media.   
    Oh wait........ >:)
    Haha...made me laugh. :)

  • Reply 7 of 18
    Activation lock only works if the phone has already been signed in with an Apple ID, so, new phones can not be activation locked. They are, however, tracked by IMEI number and when that number gets activated it’s traced. Unfortunately it’s usually activated by someone who bought the phone not knowing it was stolen through eBay or Amazon seller and the seller is in the wind by the time they get it... 
  • Reply 8 of 18
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,785member

    Man arrested for stealing iPhone, moped

    A 19-year-old in Massachusetts has been arrested for stealing a moped from a 16-year-old acquaintance, along with his iPhone. According to the Hartford Courant, the accused stole the moped.

    Then, three days later, the accused and an accomplice pulled a BB gun on the 16-year-old, threatened him, and stole the contents of his pockets, which included his iPhone, a charger, a knife and a sheet of math homework.
    I wonder if the man did the math homework for him at least? 
    mknelson
  • Reply 9 of 18
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,988member
    This is all a very sad commentary on a tiny parasitic segment of our society. I'm glad that the vast majority of people are honest, considerate, and respectful of the property rights of others.

    I do hope that Apple takes some security measures to reduce these thefts because the thieves and their despicable actions pose an existential threat to the safety and security of legitimate Apple customers and Apple workers who are inside the Apple stores that are being burglarized. Apple can write off the monetary losses associated with these thefts as a cost of doing business, but the moment that bloodshed occurs Apple is going to be scrutinized at a scale that will be impossible to contain. It will be like a Hoover Dam full of of crap hitting a billion fans all at once.

    I know that Apple wants to provide the best possible experience for customers who are evaluating Apple products in the Apple Store by having actual release products on display. However, these production units are too attractive to thieves and it is time for Apple to implement some sort of physical alterations to display/demo units that ensures that forcibly removing the devices from the tethered demonstration area results in total, or near total, destruction of the demo device. This is not a difficult design challenge. Unfortunately, one possible reaction to making the demo units theft-proof is that thieves may react by switching from snatch & grab techniques to armed confrontation and demand for inventory from the back room. Perhaps Apple views the snatch & grab attacks as the lesser of two possible evils. 
    edited September 2018
  • Reply 10 of 18
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,492member
    lkrupp said:
    BobJewels said:
    I continue to wonder why there are no articles about massive Android thefts in the media.   
    Oh wait........ >:)

    There are very few "Android" stores in existence.
    With the exception of Apple Stores, EVERY store that sells iPhones sells Android phones.  One never hears about that.  It’s as if even the thieves know they can’t even be given away.

    true though that Apple stores are an easy target with their open floor plans.  When I go to the flagship store in San Francisco and they happen to have those grand glass doors wide open, I’m surprised no one tries to steal anything.

    Then again, security is pretty tight at that store.
  • Reply 11 of 18
    How the fuck does FedEx not check what it has undertaken to courier? Are they ok with shipping across chemicals in bags, as long as it just says "Alum", or whatever?
  • Reply 12 of 18
    roakeroake Posts: 624member
    How are people still robbing Apple stores in California!?!  Didn’t California make that illegal?
  • Reply 13 of 18
    roakeroake Posts: 624member
    sflocal said:
    lkrupp said:
    BobJewels said:
    I continue to wonder why there are no articles about massive Android thefts in the media.   
    Oh wait........ >:)

    There are very few "Android" stores in existence.
    With the exception of Apple Stores, EVERY store that sells iPhones sells Android phones.  One never hears about that.  It’s as if even the thieves know they can’t even be given away.

    true though that Apple stores are an easy target with their open floor plans.  When I go to the flagship store in San Francisco and they happen to have those grand glass doors wide open, I’m surprised no one tries to steal anything.

    Then again, security is pretty tight at that store.
    Why would people want to risk stealing Androids that you can buy new for $30 at Walmart?
  • Reply 14 of 18
    roake said:
    How are people still robbing Apple stores in California!?!  Didn’t California make that illegal?
    Unfortunately with the passing of Prop 47, retail theft has gone way up all over California. California is now a shoplifters paradise. 
    edited September 2018
  • Reply 15 of 18
    with all the money Apple has and spends on its stores, you'd think they'd have a more sophisticated way of deterring, preventing, or busting these idiots. 
  • Reply 16 of 18
    Wow, I was really hoping that the distinctive haircut was the Samsung notch…
  • Reply 17 of 18
    roake said:
    How are people still robbing Apple stores in California!?!  Didn’t California make that illegal?
    Unfortunately with the passing of Prop 47, retail theft has gone way up all over California. California is now a shoplifters paradise. 
    Although, there isn't much you could shoplift from an Apple store that's less than $950 (that's a very odd amount).
  • Reply 18 of 18
    grifmx said:
    with all the money Apple has and spends on its stores, you'd think they'd have a more sophisticated way of deterring, preventing, or busting these idiots. 
    Apparently Apple hasn't made enough noise that most of the iDevices on display are bricks after leaving the store. Also, the media will state that thieves stole something like 10 iPhones worth $10000 even though they are worth something more like $100 in parts and a huge liability on the crooks due to their traceability. Apple also doesn't lose $999 or more on a stolen iPhone X because Apple's cost is much lower. Remember Apple's large profit margin?
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