Thieves strike Palo Alto Apple Store, two days in a row

Posted:
in iPhone
Days after Tim Cook appeared at the opening of the Palo Alto location for the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max launch, the store was robbed Saturday afternoon, and then again the following morning.

Tim Cook in Palo Alto


The recent epidemic of Apple Store thefts throughout California have reached the location in Steve Jobs' hometown of Palo Alto- the day after CEO Tim Cook appeared at the store for the launch of the new iPhones.

On Saturday afternoon, according to Palo Alto Online, a group of eight young men took "new demo iPhones" as well as iPads, before fleeing in multiple cars. Then, in a separate theft discovered early the following morning, someone shattered the store's front door and made off with another $50,000 worth of iPhones and iPads, the site said.

Cook, as he often does for the first day of new product releases, visited the store on Friday, counting down to its opening and posing for selfies with customers.

The Palo Alto store, which Apple described in a 2010 filing as a "prototype" store, reopened in June of this year following extensive renovations.

Thefts have been taking place at Apple Stores throughout California for most of this year, leaving law enforcement authorities unsure of just how connected the thefts are. A bystander videotaped one theft in Santa Rosa last week, as well as the aftermath, in which two security guards and two civilians subdued and handcuffed one of the thieves. Most of the thefts have followed the template of the first Palo Alto crime, with groups of thieves running into the store during business hours, grabbing items, and running out. Afterhours break-ins have been much less frequent.

A San Francisco Chronicle report this week found that a total of at least $281,000 worth of merchandise was taken from Bay Area Apple Stores between late August and late September.
leohunter23
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 57
    Surely it must be trivial to block all of those devices from ever doing anything useful, given the way iOS is locked on the phone. It's probably the most secure mobile operating system going (not many other OSs have such big efforts, and consequently a worthwhile market, to jailbreak - or need to be)

    Wonder if they're actually doing that yet, I mean, seemed like an oversight a long time ago...
  • Reply 2 of 57
    Might be time for a night watchman 
  • Reply 3 of 57
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 1,000member
    Not a firearm owner, NRA member or any of that, but if an armed guard dropped one of these “young men” and the video was distributed widely in glorious full color 4K HDR, this nonsense would come to a screeching halt.

    The kind of people who commit such brazen acts are taking advantage of the society they live in and apparently do not contribute to in any valuable way. Arm the guards, put a man trap in at the entrance and tell the guards to go for a head shot if need be.

    Enoigh already. Eventually, someone will get hurt because of these “young men”.
    jamielkozchrisgilly017berndog
  • Reply 4 of 57
    davgreg said:
    Not a firearm owner, NRA member or any of that, but if an armed guard dropped one of these “young men” and the video was distributed widely in glorious full color 4K HDR, this nonsense would come to a screeching halt.

    The kind of people who commit such brazen acts are taking advantage of the society they live in and apparently do not contribute to in any valuable way. Arm the guards, put a man trap in at the entrance and tell the guards to go for a head shot if need be.

    Enoigh already. Eventually, someone will get hurt because of these “young men”.
    Execution for retail theft? Yeah no thanks. (Said as a firearm owner fyi)
    edited September 2018 lordjohnwhorfinronnmacplusplussocalbriantyler82burnsidewlymdoozydozenEsquireCats
  • Reply 5 of 57
    inequals said:
    Surely it must be trivial to block all of those devices from ever doing anything useful, given the way iOS is locked on the phone. It's probably the most secure mobile operating system going (not many other OSs have such big efforts, and consequently a worthwhile market, to jailbreak - or need to be)

    Wonder if they're actually doing that yet, I mean, seemed like an oversight a long time ago...
    You can still sell those devices for parts tho.
    maciekskontaktbb-15ronnMisterKitGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 6 of 57
    davgreg said:
    Not a firearm owner, NRA member or any of that, but if an armed guard dropped one of these “young men” and the video was distributed widely in glorious full color 4K HDR, this nonsense would come to a screeching halt.
    From Hollywood's handbook on publicity: "There is no such thing as bad publicity".

    You never read about thieves stealing Androids devices.  Samsung spends many millions advertising its Android devices, and still has to lower prices to move them.

    Apple may lose a Million dollars worth of equipment throughout the year, but they get publicity worth much, much more, most importantly "iPhones are so desirable gangs stage mass thefts to get them".
    lordjohnwhorfinjbdragonsocalbriandoozydozenwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 57
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 1,000member
    Execution for retail theft? Yeah no thanks. (Said as a firearm owner fyi)
    No, the Man Trap will catch most. The gun is if they get stupid and dangerous.
    Bet Dollars to doughnuts they are armed, and not with the Apple gear they heisted.  This is probably why Apple lets them go, but this is getting out of hand and will present a danger to customers.

    I witnessed what has to be the most ignorant robbery in history years ago in a strip mall with a friend when some “young men” decided to rob a liquor store on a Saturday. What they did not check out was the fact that a gun shop was 2 stores down the strip mall filled with well armed customers more than ready to use their weapons. By the time the PoPo arrived they were outside on the pavement spread eagle face down and surrounded by customers of the gun shop.

    To my knowledge, that liquor store has never had a robbery attempt since and it is not in a great neighborhood.

    The moral of the story is - if they think someone will drop them, they will not try to hit that store. Apple can afford high quality security.
    edited September 2018 jamielgilly017
  • Reply 8 of 57
    Don't they enable the 'Find My iPhone' feature on these?
  • Reply 9 of 57
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 1,022member
    davgreg said:
    Not a firearm owner, NRA member or any of that, but if an armed guard dropped one of these “young men” and the video was distributed widely in glorious full color 4K HDR, this nonsense would come to a screeching halt.

    The kind of people who commit such brazen acts are taking advantage of the society they live in and apparently do not contribute to in any valuable way. Arm the guards, put a man trap in at the entrance and tell the guards to go for a head shot if need be.

    Enoigh already. Eventually, someone will get hurt because of these “young men”.
    I understand your frustration, but I suspect it would be a PR nightmare for Apple. Can you imagine how quickly Apple’s detractors would jump on this as an opportunity to sell their products? To say nothing of the families involved who would find an ambulance chaser attorney and attempt to sue for an obscene amount of money. Perhaps said lawyer would probably find a way to turn it into a class action lawsuit. 

    So...no...not a good anti-theft policy for Apple to attempt. 
    StrangeDaysMisterKitGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 10 of 57
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    I'd like to see it taken further with Apple secretly removing features not needed for a demo, like an always-on GPS so that any device stolen from a store can be tracked even if the thieves turn off the devices.
    StrangeDaysMisterKitgrifmxwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 57
    First, the thieves are taking advantage of the fact that Apple has instructed their employees to stand aside and let it happen - ZERO attempt is made to stop the thieves or take the products off the other tables and out of reach.

    Second, Apple needs to make it known that these devices are worthless if stolen (although I suppose the parts are worth something to a phone chop shop).

    Third, Apple just needs to hire an off duty officer to be outside the store. Undercover police officer is what I would do to catch them. Or have a uniform officer sitting at a nearby table drinking coffee or something.

    Apple needs to stop the madness as they are creating an environment which INVITES these criminals and could result in an employee or customer getting hurt. If it was a one off or two off situation then the "stand down" policy is reasonable, but now it is attracting crime and I could see liability for doing nothing.
    radarthekatwuchmeewatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 57
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,202member
    You can still sell those devices for parts tho.
    The thieves could sell the devices for parts.  But they probably don’t have the knowledge, skills or connections to do so.  More likely they’ll just try to pawn the devices off on people who think they’re getting a steal “literally” by buying the devices from these guys.  These suckers will be ripped off too.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 57
    \
    inequals said:
    Surely it must be trivial to block all of those devices from ever doing anything useful, given the way iOS is locked on the phone. It's probably the most secure mobile operating system going (not many other OSs have such big efforts, and consequently a worthwhile market, to jailbreak - or need to be)

    Wonder if they're actually doing that yet, I mean, seemed like an oversight a long time ago...
    It is not about blocking them but preventing theft. They are not stealing for themselves. Even if blocked they will sell it to ignorant buyer driven by low price... and low morale. There are people who will take risk and that promotes crime.
    You are thinking on trivial and not quite deterrent solution. Those thieves do not give damn about using Apple iPhone to be cool - thy think about getting money from this.
  • Reply 14 of 57
    Dead_Pool said:
    Might be time for a night watchman 
    Yes. One watchman will do as much... like scratch his... I gues nobody sees this as coordinated criminal event, well planned tactics and people who can do little about it. What you need is more of sting outside the store and even if this is success you need some smart judges (not freevolous) who will punish crime instead of releasing them as act of mercy for whatever reason (most likely political). They see that this puts them in jail for longer time pretty much automatically then they stop doing this being affraid that it is not acceptable social behavior.
  • Reply 15 of 57
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 1,310member
    davgreg said:
    Execution for retail theft? Yeah no thanks. (Said as a firearm owner fyi)
    No, the Man Trap will catch most. The gun is if they get stupid and dangerous.
    Bet Dollars to doughnuts they are armed, and not with the Apple gear they heisted.  This is probably why Apple lets them go, but this is getting out of hand and will present a danger to customers.

    I witnessed what has to be the most ignorant robbery in history years ago in a strip mall with a friend when some “young men” decided to rob a liquor store on a Saturday. What they did not check out was the fact that a gun shop was 2 stores down the strip mall filled with well armed customers more than ready to use their weapons. By the time the PoPo arrived they were outside on the pavement spread eagle face down and surrounded by customers of the gun shop.

    To my knowledge, that liquor store has never had a robbery attempt since and it is not in a great neighborhood.

    The moral of the story is - if they think someone will drop them, they will not try to hit that store. Apple can afford high quality security.
    Why do you keep putting quotes around " young men" ? And acting as if these robberies were personally carried out against you?  Headshots...man cages ... Brother you need to relax a bit.  
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 57
    Soli said:
    I'd like to see it taken further with Apple secretly removing features not needed for a demo, like an always-on GPS so that any device stolen from a store can be tracked even if the thieves turn off the devices.
    O yes, like those thieves care about features existing and removed. They look for money from sale of those devices. Thieves do not care about being cool like yourself. They need money and I will not mention here for what as to keep courtesy.
  • Reply 17 of 57
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,202member
    macmarcus said:
    First, the thieves are taking advantage of the fact that Apple has instructed their employees to stand aside and let it happen - ZERO attempt is made to stop the thieves or take the products off the other tables and out of reach.

    Second, Apple needs to make it known that these devices are worthless if stolen (although I suppose the parts are worth something to a phone chop shop).

    Third, Apple just needs to hire an off duty officer to be outside the store. Undercover police officer is what I would do to catch them. Or have a uniform officer sitting at a nearby table drinking coffee or something.

    Apple needs to stop the madness as they are creating an environment which INVITES these criminals and could result in an employee or customer getting hurt. If it was a one off or two off situation then the "stand down" policy is reasonable, but now it is attracting crime and I could see liability for doing nothing.
    I fully agree that Apple needs to do something dramatically different with regard to security.  Apple employees and Apple customers are not going to want to be anywhere near Apple stores with broad daylight robberies becoming common events.

    Placing highly visible guards both inside and outside the stores should increase the perceived risk for potential thieves.  Use of multiple high resolution cameras may make identification of thieves easier.

    However, asking regular Apple retail employees to intervene is a non-starter.  The risks are too high.  As customers, we want the retail employees to be friendly and accessible, and not appear as potential enforcers.
  • Reply 18 of 57
    jamiel said:
    Don't they enable the 'Find My iPhone' feature on these?
    Yeah, and they will find second hand buyer - not original thief. No traces of thief or way to find him. Does this work?
  • Reply 19 of 57
    inequals said:
    Surely it must be trivial to block all of those devices from ever doing anything useful, given the way iOS is locked on the phone. It's probably the most secure mobile operating system going (not many other OSs have such big efforts, and consequently a worthwhile market, to jailbreak - or need to be)

    Wonder if they're actually doing that yet, I mean, seemed like an oversight a long time ago...
    You can still sell those devices for parts tho.
    Not just for parts. Naive immoral buyer will pay for entire device on black market not knowing that it will not work and they will not find seller to get refund.
  • Reply 20 of 57
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,799member
    JWSC said:
    Placing highly visible guards both inside and outside the stores should increase the perceived risk for potential thieves.  
    I don't think Apple wants armed guards in the store. It doesn't present a pleasant shopping environment for customers. In general I don't think the thought of a potential robbery ever goes through the customer's minds where as with the presence of an armed guard it would. Apple can afford the loss because it is surely covered by insurance.
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