Crime blotter: AirDrop evacuates plane, iPad exposes massive insurance fraud & more

in iPhone
Thieves use a truck as a battering ram in Houston to break into an Apple store, how a lost iPhone freed Kevin Spacey, and more from the Apple crime roundup.

The Apple Store in Liverpool
The Apple Store in Liverpool

The latest in an occasional AppleInsider series on goings-in in the world of Apple-related crime.

Thieves crash truck into Houston Apple Store

A group of thieves in early July robbed an Apple Store in Houston the old-fashioned way: They crashed a truck into it. Per CBS DFW, the thieves stole a truck and then rammed into the front of the Apple Store at the Highland Village Shopping Center. Despite the crash taking place at 4:00 A.M. local time, a deputy was present and confronted the thieves, who grabbed some items before driving away.

The store had been scheduled to close for remodeling soon after; a similar theft took place at the same store in 2018.

Liverpool Apple Store robbed, leaving children in tears

A standard run-in robbery took place in early July at an Apple Store location in Liverpool. Per The Liverpool Echo, a "gang of thieves" charged into the store and took more than 30 iPhones. No was injured by children present were left "scared and crying," per the report.

Lost iPhone played part in dropping of Kevin Spacey charges

Charges that Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey groped a young man in Nantucket, Mass., in 2016 were dropped this week, and part of the reason why is that an iPhone containing key evidence had gone missing. Per Deadline, the accuser and his parents admitted on the stand that they had deleted messages from his device before it was handed in to police.

Meanwhile, CNN reported that the accuser had misplaced the phone in question.

Best Buy thieves steal $93,000 in Apple products after cutting hole in roof

A team of thieves broke into a Best Buy in Simi Valley, Calif., and stole $93,000 worth of Apple products, The Los Angeles Times reported. The theft was accomplished by cutting a hole in the store's roof, dropping a ladder down, and cutting into a caged area in the warehouse that held the Apple merchandise.

Gift of an iPad led to exposure of massive insurance fraud ring

A Texas man executed a large insurance fraud scam involving personal training services and fraudulent billing of insurance companies- and part of what got him caught was that he gifted iPads to his three children. Per Pro Publicla, after David Williams give his kids the devices, his ex-wife was suspicious about how he had afforded them.

When she read the text messages on one of the devices, she realized that her former husband's iMessage account was coming through on it, and it showed that he was setting up training sessions and, illegally, billing insurers for them. It took nearly four years, but Williams was eventually arrested and convicted of multiple counts of fraud.

AT&T fraud scheme leads to four-year sentence

A New York woman was sentenced last week to up to 50 months in federal prison, for her part in a schemed that involved using the account information of AT&T customers to purchase upgraded iPhones. Per a press release from the U.S. Attorney's office in Maryland, 30-year-old Toni Ann Bobet will also be required to pay restitution of $95,001.

Mueller probe obtained over 2,000 electronic devices

Over the course of its two-year investigation, the Office of the Special Counsel obtained and searched 2,300 electronic devices, with a total storage capacity of 240 terabytes of data. That's according to the results of a Freedom of Information Act request filed by journalist Jason Leopold of Buzzfeed and published by national security blogger Marcy Wheeler.

The government did not break down which devices were obtained. But it is known that seven iPods and numerous other Apple devices had been seized from Paul Manafort, that Michael Cohen used an iPhone to record conversations with President Trump, and Mueller witness George Nader was indicted as a result of child pornography found on his iPhone.

Find My iPhone leads to recovery of stolen car

The Find My iPhone tool came to the rescue once again last week in Kansas City. Per KSHB, a woman's car was stolen, with the woman's iPhone in it, so she used Find My iPhone as well as checking credit card statements, ultimately tracing the car to an Applebee's.

"Finding her was like finding a lost dog, but humans are more stupid and she did a lot of dumb things and it made it easier to find her," said the car owner, who also chronicled the entire incident on Facebook Live.

Three women were arrested.

Walmart employee caught with stolen Apple TVs

A Georgia man who works at a Walmart as a stocker was stopped by police, who found 12 Apple TV $k units in the vehicle. Per WHNT the man, who was a passenger in the car, was arrested due to an outstanding warrant for violation of probation, and the person driving "indicated the items were stolen."

Flight evacuated after horrifying AirDrop

A JetBlue flight from Newark to Miami was evacuated last week when someone used the AirDrop feature to send a photo of a suicide vest to numerous people on board. Per The Guardian, bomb-sniffing dogs were brought on board to check for threats.

No bombs were found by the dogs, and the plane took off and landed without incident. Authorities aren't sure who sent the photo.

$19,000 Walmart theft leads to chase

A pair of suspects stole $19,000 of Apple and Samsung products from a Walmart in North Carolina, leading to a chase in the middle of the night. Per WRAL, the suspects fled in an SUV and led police on a chase, after which one of the two men was arrested.

The Apple products stolen included 12 iPhones, 2 iPad Airs, 1 sixth-generation iPad and 4 Apple Watches, and police tracked the subjects using the stolen phones.

Woman arrested at work for possessing stolen AirPods

A Pennsylvania woman was arrested in May and charged with having possession of AirPods that had been stolen from a FedEx facility where she works. According to Fox 43, the woman handed a pair of AirPods to a security officer when she showed up for work, per company policy. When a loss prevention officer ran the serial number, it matched a pair stolen from there two months earlier.

She was charged with receiving stolen property.

Cars robbed at Apple Visitor Center in Cupertino

Not even Apple's headquarters is free from product theft. Per The San Jose Mercury News, two vehicles parked outside the Apple Visitor Center at Apple Park were broken into in late May, with stolen items including a tablet, an electric razor, a laptop and an electronic reader.

Have an Apple crime story? Email AppleInsider and tell us about it.


  • Reply 1 of 3
    How many Best Buy’s have been robbed this way? I remember recently this happened in Florida where it was broken through the roof and Apple products were stolen. 
  • Reply 2 of 3
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,867moderator

    $19,000 Walmart theft leads to chase

    A pair of suspects stole $19,000 of Apple and Samsung products from a Walmart in North Carolina, leading to a chase in the middle of the night. Per WRAL, the suspects fled in an SUV and led police on a chase, after which one of the two men was arrested. 

    The Apple products stolen included 12 iPhones, 2 iPad Airs, 1 sixth-generation iPad and 4 Apple Watches, and police tracked the subjects using the stolen phones. 

    Roughly adding up the value of the Apple products, that leaves, what, room for two or three Samsung products?  Haha, maybe an afterthought, they saw some Galaxies on their way out and still had room in their bag so figured, “what the hell, we’re already here.  Maybe we can get a few bucks for these.”

    edit: I know it was 12 Samsung phones, from the source article, but don’t ruin the joke for me.  😂
    edited July 2019 virtualshift
  • Reply 3 of 3
    retrogustoretrogusto Posts: 1,121member
    Two days after the robberies at the Apple visitor center, six more cars were robbed in Apple parking lots, according to the same article.

    Vehicle Burglary – Mariani Avenue and Infinite Loop: Between 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. on May 29, unknown suspect(s) broke through the windows of six vehicles parked in different Apple parking lots in the area of Mariani Avenue and Infinite Loop and took assorted electronics, backpacks, cash, credit cards, paperwork and purses for a total loss of about $10,055.
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