Crime blotter: blowtorches used to steal iPhones, and a carjacker fought off with an iPad

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Thieves in the UK stealing iPhones are using blowtorches to melt locks, while a ten-year-old whacks a carjacker over the head with an iPad. Plus, Apple is sued for how one of its Apple Stores was robbed.

The Fairview Apple Store in Toronto
The Fairview Apple Store in Toronto


The latest in an occasional AppleInsider series, looking at the world of Apple-related crime.

Apple sued after attempted Apple Store theft

An Ontario family last month filed a lawsuit against Apple, after their son was injured in an attempted retail theft at a Toronto Apple Store in 2017.

According to The Toronto Star, the suit alleges that "knew or should have known of the high level of thefts at the Apple store prior to this incident," in which the then-7-year-old boy was trampled by a thief who was attempting to steal a laptop.

The accused thief, who was arrested at the time, is also named in the suit.

Children use an iPad to fight off a carjacker

A older boy, aged 10, hit a car jacker over the head with his iPad in Chicago last month. The boy's 16-year-old sister, Imama, then restrained the carjacker and dialled 911.

There were three children in the car at the time. According to WGN, the incident took place outside a Domino's Pizza location, when the children's father had left the kids in the car while he picked up their order.

The would-be thief jumped into the car's driver's seat and drove off. "And he starts driving really fast, going in like a zig-zag pattern," Imama told reporters. "And he goes, 'Get out or I'm going to shoot you.'"

She woke up her brother who pretended to get out of the car but then instead hit the driver with the iPad.

"My phone was dead so I couldn't call 911," continued Imama. "I see my dad's phone in the passenger seat so I, like, try to strangle the dude from the back because I was right behind him."

The driver abandoned the car and joined what are believed to be accomplices who were driving a stolen Toyota Camry. That car was later recovered by police with five people inside. One got away, but the other four were arrested.

Illinois woman falls for gift card scam


A woman in the Chicago suburbs last month was the victim of a scam in which she received a phone call purportedly from Apple.

According to The Chicago Tribune, the woman received a call from a man claiming to be an Apple technician, who said that her computer had been hacked and that in order to repair it, she needed to purchase gift cards and provide the caller with the access codes.

Apple gift cards
Apple gift cards


This wasn't a case of a ten-buck iTunes card, either. She ultimately paid over $5,500 to the scammer.

Blowtorch used in theft of iPhone, iPad

In the latest of what seems to be a new fad in British robberies, thieves in Rubery, England, have used a blowtorch to melt locks.

In late December, they applied this technique to gain access to a private residence and successfully, so far at least, got away with an iPhone, an iPad -- and the owner's car.

Walmart Distribution Center worker arrested in Apple thefts

A man from Florida who is employed at a Walmart Distribution Center was arrested last month after police say he stole 20 iPhones from the facility.

Inside the Walmart Distribution Center at Fort Pierce, Florida (Source: Walmart)
Inside the Walmart Distribution Center at Fort Pierce, Florida (Source: Walmart)


According to TC Palm, out of the several times he stole from the distribution centre, one incident from December 15 was captured on security cameras. Police say that another incident involving ten more iPhones happened on December 22.

Stolen phones, iPad recovered in Kenya

A police raid in Nairobi, Kenya, just before the new year recovered more than 150 smartphones, and an iPad.

Nairobi News reports that five suspects were arrested in the thefts, which they believe came from several different places in Kenya.

Woman accused of stealing money meant for Apple

A Minnesota woman has been accused of stealing nearly $200,000 from the company, Quantum Merchant Services, where she worked, in part by diverting payments meant for Apple, one of the company's legitimate vendors, to herself.

"[She] would transfer money to her personal bank accounts, but record the transactions as having been payments to Apple, one of the business' legitimate vendors," alleges a criminal complaint filed against the woman. "Because of this mislabeling of the actual recipient of the funds, [her] theft of these funds escaped detection."

According to The St. Paul Pioneer Press, she stole $185,118 over a five-year period and now faces three felony charges.

92 "suspicious iPhones" seized before flight to Russia

There are so many FAA constraints these days on what you are allowed to have in your carry-on luggage. But, to be fair, there isn't a specific ban on having 92 iPhones.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) this week seized the iPhones, valued at over $100,000, from a woman who was about to fly to Russia.

According to Quartz the woman, Yulia Radochinskaya, was charged with making false statements and providing false documentation. She had landed in New York Dec. 26, obtained the phones, and attempted to fly out of Newark with them the same day.

Radochinskaya was carrying export documentation, which she showed to customs officers, but the paperwork was counterfeit.

The arrest came as part of an investigation into "illegal exports of stolen cellular phones for resale outside of the United States," the complaint said.

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

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    Sometimes I wonder how humanity survived this long.  AI overlords where are you? We need you...
    (AI = artificial intelligence, not AppleInsider)

    ...yes, I unfortunately felt the need to clarify.
  • Reply 2 of 13
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    I love these Sunday crime blotter summaries. Whomever at AI thought of this deserves a raise.
    retrogustowatto_cobrasteveaujony0
  • Reply 3 of 13
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,217member
    So the family is suing the robber who actually did the crime, and Apple because the robber has no money. Riiiiight. If I was on the jury I know how I would rule.
    edited January 2020 ronnwatto_cobrajbdragonllamajony0
  • Reply 4 of 13
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    I wonder if any Android sites have a weekly feature like this?

    Nah, I doubt it. :#  Who wants to steal garbage?

    One of my favorite stories is one I remember from a while back when some thief stole a phone from somebody and when they noticed it was an Android phone and not an iPhone, they returned the phone to the victim. Hilarious! 
    edited January 2020 watto_cobrajbdragonkurai_kagejony0
  • Reply 5 of 13
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    apple ][ said:
    I wonder if any Android sites have a weekly feature like this?

    Nah, I doubt it. :#  Who wants to steal garbage?

    One of my favorite stories is one I remember from a while back when some thief stole a phone from somebody and when they noticed it was an Android phone and not an iPhone, they returned the phone to the victim. Hilarious! 
    I know you're just hating on Android, but it's possible since Samsung thefts rose dramatically (and iPhone thefts dropped dramatically) after Apple introduced Authentication Lock for devices.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 13
    apple ][ said:
    I wonder if any Android sites have a weekly feature like this?

    Nah, I doubt it. :#  Who wants to steal garbage?

    One of my favorite stories is one I remember from a while back when some thief stole a phone from somebody and when they noticed it was an Android phone and not an iPhone, they returned the phone to the victim. Hilarious! 
    There a lot of good Android phones out there.  Sure they’re not as user friendly as iPhones, but new iPhones aren’t as user friendly as they used to be (without the Home button).

    I’m more worried about the Google proctologist sitting in the Android phones.  I would welcome another mobile OS... the competition between IOS and Android is getting stale.
  • Reply 7 of 13
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,217member
    apple ][ said:
    I wonder if any Android sites have a weekly feature like this?

    Nah, I doubt it. :#  Who wants to steal garbage?

    One of my favorite stories is one I remember from a while back when some thief stole a phone from somebody and when they noticed it was an Android phone and not an iPhone, they returned the phone to the victim. Hilarious! 
    There a lot of good Android phones out there.  Sure they’re not as user friendly as iPhones, but new iPhones aren’t as user friendly as they used to be (without the Home button).

    I’m more worried about the Google proctologist sitting in the Android phones.  I would welcome another mobile OS... the competition between IOS and Android is getting stale.
    I would agree, another mobile OS is needed. iOS and Android have reached rough parity in many areas. They aren't pushing each other any more. WinPhone is a lost cause. MS has screwed the reputation of that up so thoroughly that it's likely irredeemable. Who else is out there? Maybe Ubuntu or RedHat could produce a clean Linux for phones? Anyone else? 
  • Reply 8 of 13
    hentaiboyhentaiboy Posts: 1,249member
    16 year-old girl tried to strangle a car jacker? Man that's ballsy...
    jbdragonkurai_kage
  • Reply 9 of 13
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,038member
    DAalseth said:
    So the family is suing the robber who actually did the crime, and Apple because the robber has no money. Riiiiight. If I was on the jury I know how I would rule.
    Standard procedure. Sue everybody even remotely associated with the alleged injury and let the judge sort it out. But yeah, always sue the one with some money. I assume this is a  required course in Ambulance Chasing school.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 13
    hentaiboy said:
    16 year-old girl tried to strangle a car jacker? Man that's ballsy...
    Uhhhhh,, don't know if you're from the Women are Frail and Need to Be Protected School of Thought, or maybe you don't know any 18 year old athletic  women, but she was sitting behind him, putting him in the headlock.  Her younger (11) bro smacked him over the head with his multi-duty iPad. Feisty fam.
    Some women, these days, actually box, play competitive sprorts against men, excel in martial arts, kickbox competitively,  My gym is easily 50% women, a smaller percentage lift, smaller percent box. And, yeah, they are feminine, some most sexy, if that makes a difference, and sexy is subjective.. My grandpa would never believe any of this if he were still here. 
    steveauwatto_cobrajbdragonkurai_kage
  • Reply 11 of 13
    When the woman got to $5000 in iTunes cards, did it not occur to her that maybe she’d spent more than the cost of her computer? Nope.  She had to buy another $500 worth. 
  • Reply 12 of 13
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 1,029member
    Sorry that your kid was injured, but the criminal is 100% at fault. If I grab an iPad in an Apple Store and hit someone in the head with it [great move by the 16 and 10 year olds BTW], it isn't at all Apple's fault that they didn't secure the iPad to the table with some ultra-strong bracket.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,208member
    apple ][ said:
    I wonder if any Android sites have a weekly feature like this?

    Nah, I doubt it. :#  Who wants to steal garbage?

    One of my favorite stories is one I remember from a while back when some thief stole a phone from somebody and when they noticed it was an Android phone and not an iPhone, they returned the phone to the victim. Hilarious! 
    Did you about the guy who left his phone in his car and someone broke in to steal it? Once the thief realized it was a Windows Phone he left a second one.
    edited January 2020
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