Theft Stories June 10, 2016

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Thieves dressed as Apple Store staff have stolen a total of $66,000’s worth of iPhones in two separate thefts at retail stores in New York. Apple’s Upper West Side store was targeted back in March, when 67 iPhones worth almost $50k were stolen, followed by the theft of 19 phones worth $16k from the SoHo store last week.

Police now believe that the same thieves may be responsible for both. The criminals seemed to have done their research well, notes Gizmodo

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Theft Stories January 28, 2016

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Anyone who has ever accidentally left behind their iPhone or iPad in a public place like a coffee shop will know the sinking feeling in your stomach the moment you realize you’ve done it. Even if you rush back just one or two minutes later, you know there’s a high chance that the device will be gone.

If the worst happens, and you have another device with you, Find My iPhone lets you track the stolen device – except thieves tend to know this, and all they have to do to prevent it is to power-down their ill-gotten gains. This can be done while the device is locked, with no Touch ID or passcode access needed …

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Theft Stories July 27, 2015

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While Activation Lock has dramatically reduced iPhone thefts in some cities, with reductions as high as 50%, police data collated by the WSJ shows that the effect isn’t as great as expected in others. iPhone thefts fell by only 11% in Oakland, by 17% in Austin and actually increased by 32% in Seattle …  expand full story

Theft Stories April 28, 2015

Apple's latest iPad Air 2 tablet

Apple’s latest iPad Air 2 tablet

Mercury News reports that an iPad test model was one of the items stolen in a robbery and kidnapping that took place at a Cupertino house earlier this month. Specific details regarding the device are sparse at this point, although it has not yet been recovered. The victim of the robbery was a 20-year old man who was also kidnapped after responding to an online advertisement from a woman. The victim is thankfully safe following the incident.

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Theft Stories February 11, 2015

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Officials in three major cities have reported dramatic reductions in iPhone thefts since Apple introduced Activation Lock as part of iOS 7, preventing devices being re-activated without the original owner’s iCloud login. Reuters reports that the number of reported iPhone thefts has fallen year-on-year by 25% in New York, 40% in San Francisco and 50% in London …  expand full story

Theft Stories September 19, 2014

Former NBA player stole $14,000 in Apple Store merchandise by pretending to checkout with EasyPay

Former NBA player Rex Chapman was arrested today on nine counts of organized retail theft and five counts of trafficking stolen property after police discovered that he had stolen over $14,000 worth of merchandise from a Scottsdale, Arizona Apple Store, according to CBS Sports.

According to police, Chapman managed to get away with so much loot by pretending he was using the iPhone-based EasyPay system, which allows customers to check themselves out through the Apple Store application without the assistance of an employee. Except Chapman wasn’t actually scanning or paying for anything. He was just going through the motions.

After leaving the store, Chapman would then hit up a local pawn shop to offload the pilfered products at a profit.

During his 12-year NBA career, Chapman became the first player to ever sign to the Charlotte Hornets, then played for Washington, Miami, and Phoenix before retiring in 2000.

Theft Stories June 18, 2014

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When Apple introduced the new Activation Lock anti-theft system with iOS 7 to help prevent the re-use of stolen iOS devices, some lawmakers saw it as the perfect way to help quell smartphone theft. In fact, many sought to make features like it standard on all mobile devices. Today, the New York Times has released some new numbers that shows a decrease in iPhone theft following the implementation of Activation Lock.

According to New York police, thefts involving Apple products have dropped by 19% in the first half of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013. London and San Francisco authorities have seen even more impressive drops, with 24% and 38% reductions in iOS device thefts, respectively, in the six months following the feature’s release when compared to the six months immediately preceding it.

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Theft Stories March 7, 2014

iPhone owners 46 percent less likely to need to replace their phone

Figures from insurance company ProtectCell show that iPhone owners are 46 percent less likely to need a replacement than owners of other smartphones, and 11 percent less likely to need a repair.

While iPhones seemingly have higher build quality than other phones (or perhaps more careful owners), it comes as no surprise to see they are more desirable to thieves, with iPhone thefts 65 percent higher than those of other smartphones. A number that will hopefully fall when word reaches the criminal world about Activation Lock.

Update: ProtectCELL emailed us to say their press release contained the wrong figure (reading 54 percent instead of 46 percent). We have updated with the correct one.

Theft Stories December 23, 2013

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Bild.de reports that thieves crashed an Opel Corsa into the Apple Store in Berlin in the early hours, stealing display model iPhones, iPads and Macs. Six thieves were said to have carried out the smash and grab at 4.15am before escaping in two Audis.

There have been seven such burglaries in Berlin recently, including one at the electronics chain Media Markt, where the thieves made off with goods worth €100,000 ($137,000).

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Theft Stories September 10, 2013

Find My Phone tracks stolen car with 5yo child inside it, allowing police to intercept

A stolen SUV with a five-year-old boy in it was successfully intercepted by police in northwest Houston last night after the child’s father used the Find My Phone feature on his iPad to track an iPhone in the car.

The father had left his son in the car while he ran into a store, when it was stolen.

“The father had an iPad that he’d taken in with him and he utilized that iPad with the iPhone that was in the car and was able to track it,” said Lt. Wayne Schultz with the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office. “And the information was provided from our deputies to our dispatch, that was able to be communicated through the Harris County Sheriff’s Office dispatch also and they were able to get information out to the troops in the field to where we could disseminate information in almost a real-time environment to put it out to guys who were looking for the vehicle with the child in it.”

Police stopped the SUV 15 minutes later and re-united the child, who was unharmed, with his father. The suspect was arrested.

While we might raise an eyebrow at leaving a  5yo child in a car on his own, credit has to be given for having the presence of mind in such circumstances to use Find My Phone in such stressful circumstances.

Theft Stories June 10, 2013

Ahead of a meeting with government officials later this month to discuss how Apple could prevent increasing smartphone crimes, Apple today introduced a new feature called ‘Activation Lock’ that it says will be “a really powerful theft deterrent” when released later this fall in iOS 7.

We told you earlier this month that government officials in the US were calling Apple, Google and others to a “smartphone summit” later this month on June 13 to discuss the increasing amount of smartphone related crime in New York city and the rest of the country. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon have been pushing smartphone makers to come up with solutions to prevent crime and discourage thefts of devices.

Today, during its WWDC keynote presentation ahead of the meeting later this month, Apple introduced the ‘Activation Lock’ feature that will require an Apple ID and password to reactivate a stolen phone after being remotely erased/wiped by the owner through Apple Find my iPhone feature. The login information will also now be required to turn off Find My iPhone.

If a user’s device is stolen, wiping the device clean will essentially leave the thief with a device that is inoperable without the user’s Apple ID and password (as pictured above): expand full story

Theft Stories March 19, 2013

Police arrest Polish gypsy crime ring targeting Apple/electronics stores responsible for $3M in loot

SiliconValley.com reported police in Torrance, Calif. have arrested four suspects claiming to be part of a “Gypsy family” from Poland that is responsible for targeting Apple retail stores and other electronics retailers across the country. The group is accused of stealing around $3 million in property over the last year, and police have so far recovered more than $20,000 worth of Apple products:

The suspected thieves arrested March 8 in Hawthorne are believed responsible for 17 crimes at Apple (AAPL) stores in Manhattan Beach, Pasadena, Canoga Park, Glendale, Brea, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and Irvine, along with a MacMall in Torrance, a Microsoft store in Mission Viejo, and other businesses across Los Angeles and Orange counties, including Best Buy, Costco, PetSmart, Sam’s Club, Sports Authority and Wal-Mart, Torrance police Sgt. Robert Watt said.

During the crime and others like it, the men would stand in a position to block employees from seeing the women behind them. The men selected items from shelves and passed it to the women, who would hide it inside their oversized dresses and overcoats, and purses, Watt said.

Once the suspects were arrested, police recovered more than $20,000 worth of Apple products, Watt said.

Theft Stories January 6, 2013

Hammer-wielding vigilante sets up date with iPhone thief

We have seen Apple’s Find My iPhone app come in handy in more than a few situations. It allows police to locate and retrieve stolen iOS devices, and so the app has proven to be an invaluable tool for combating iPhone thefts. However, over the weekend, a New York City man named Nadav Nirenberg took a bit more of a creative approach.

As reported by New York Post, after leaving his iPhone in a cab on New Year’s Eve, Nirenberg discovered the following morning via email alerts that someone was using his iPhone to message women with the dating app OkCupid. Rather than using one of the methods we’ve heard of in the past (Nirenberg likely didn’t have Find My iPhone set up), he decided to pose as a woman and offer the iPhone thief a date.

While not recommended, the idea was apparently effective with the thief arriving at Nirenberg’s apartment only to be greeted with a $20 bill and a hammer:

 Little did he know that on his way up the stairs I would pop out behind him, calmly give him $20 for my phone (it was in his hand) and tell him the cops were on the way (with a hammer in my hand). RETRIBUTION! The look of immediate shame on his face was priceless, homie was shook and must feel like an idiot. Dude was all dressed up, had a bottle of wine and stank of cologne. As he was walking away I was surprised I said “You smell great tho”.

Nadav detailed the entire account on his blog.

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