People are stealing iPhones from Apple stores by dressing like employees

By midian182 · 23 replies
Jun 10, 2016
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  1. Walk into any Apple store and you can easily identify an employee by their blue shirts. But it turns out that while this recognizable attire may be helpful to customers, it has enabled thieves to steal thousands of dollars worth of iPhones, simply by dressing in similar clothes and taking goods from the stores.

    According to DNA Info, a man wearing a blue shirt resembling those worn by official Apple store employees walked into a New York City SoHo outlet on June 1. He then entered the electronics repair room, grabbed 19 iPhones - worth over $16,000 – and passed them to an accomplice to hide under his shirt. The pair proceeded to walk casually out of the store without anyone realizing what had happened.

    But this wasn’t the first time the method had been used. Earlier in the year, three individuals stole eight iPhones from an Upper West Side Apple outlet. Reports state that a male distracted staff while a woman – dressed as an Apple worker – grabbed the devices. A second male kept lookout during the robbery.

    A month after this incident, the trio hit the shop for a second time using the same ruse. On this occasion, they managed to make off with 59 iPhones. In total, the 67 stolen handsets amount to almost $50,000.

    One of the reasons why the criminals targetted the store is because it’s used as a training location where new workers come and go all the time.

    Gizmodo points out that Apple’s 2015 ‘Back to Blue’ campaign, which stated that variations of the blue shirts were to be worn all year round - rather than staff changing uniforms seasonally - could have made the heists easier to pull off, as the clothes are easy to replicate or buy online.

    Image credit: endermasali / shutterstock

    Permalink to story.

  2. While I dislike Apple for their stunningly large profit margin charged on their products as well as their dubious tax avoidance strategies, sometimes I feel like thieves such as this are the bane of my existence. I suspect they would just as willingly steal from you or me and unlike Apple I cannot afford to so easily replace things.
    It also bothers me that people who steal like this cannot be doing it in isolation, in other words other people know and condone this activity rather than turning them in and when you read about the number of these types of crimes you know it cannot be the activities of an extremely small group of people, rather a larger number of people either are doing it, or know people who are doing it and are doing nothing about it.
    This leads to a society where you can't, for example, leave a bike outside a store while you go in, leave a garage door or front door open while you're in the yard, own anything with any perceived value outside overnight etc or it will be defaced or ripped off. Not the kind of society I enjoy living in.
  3. fastvince

    fastvince TS Enthusiast Posts: 70   +19

    All they have to do is mark the ESN for the phones as stolen. Nobody will be able to activate the phones. The thieves basically risked getting caught for nothing. When I worked at GTE we had a report of all stolen ESN's that people attempted to activate. The people were contacted and asked where they bought the phone. Not too hard to track down the people selling the stolen phones.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,256   +454

    I shouldn't laugh... but that is hilarious.
    OgnDulk and Tosikko like this.
  5. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,890   +1,224

    Right? You'd think they'd steal something that isn't it's own tracking device.

    Of course they would, they only stole from Apple because they had valuable stuff that wasn't locked down. And if you don't lock down your stuff it's your own fault. last night I left my car out and forgot to lock it - today my sunglasses were NOT stolen and I felt lucky. Is that sad to assume theft and feel lucky when it doesn't happen? Yeah, but that's how it is.

    In this case Apple was the easiest mark. You know the saying... you don't need to outrun the bear, you just need to outrun the guy next to you. Apple should pay attention.
  6. Tekkaraiden

    Tekkaraiden TS Evangelist Posts: 997   +93

    That's actually pretty cleaver.
  7. But how did they manage to deceive the 'Genius'?
  8. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,738   +3,757

    Not really. Thieves do this at every retail store on the planet. Asset protection is typically a little quicker to the punch though.

    The real story here is that Apple management didn't see fit to put supervisors or asset protection in sensitive spots, knowing full well the trainee staff wouldn't know who is who. Or, at the very least, a damn coded door lock.

    It's actually somewhat amusing. Every device in the building has a fingerprint lock so your device is secure, but their repair room is wide open.
    Reehahs and wastedkill like this.
  9. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Evangelist Posts: 925   +284

    You need to be smarter about where you sell things like that, only the stupid ones out to make a quick buck without thinking would sell where they are known. The smarter ones (who have not been caught) don't sell where they live, commandment 4 and 5 apply when selling anything not strictly legal :)
  10. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Evangelist Posts: 814   +371

    Can still work outside Canada/USA though.
  11. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Evangelist Posts: 814   +371

    Do you take all things in life and advertising as literal? The more things you take as literal, the lower the intelligence typically since you can not conceptualize the true intended meaning.
  12. OortCloud

    OortCloud TS Addict Posts: 173   +56

    I don't understand. How can a normal person put on a blue shirt and suddenly become a genius? That's a word reserved for an incredibly select group of people whose intellect outstrips our own by orders of magnitude. Apple scour the globe for these individuals snapping them up and offering them irresistible jobs working on the floors of their temples to conspicuous consumption. Surely these intellectual powerhouses would notice when an imposter walks amongst them?
  13. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    Apple has to make up the loss of the thefts so they may as well jack up the prices of their goods, the iSheep will pick up the slack as usual.
  14. It was a joke. Jeez.
  15. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,073   +219

    Don't forget about their near slave foxconn factories.

    A friend of a friend stole beer in high school in similiar way. He put to 30 packs in a grocery cart acted filled the rest with groceries taking his time going up and down every isle. Then simply walked out the door, pushed his cart to his friends pickup truck loaded the beer\steaks\chips and left the rest.

    Skip to 50 sec+
  16. grimrank

    grimrank TS Rookie

    LOl.....Genius sorry that was funny
  17. Big N8

    Big N8 TS Rookie

    Blacklisting the ESNs will stop them from being activated. That's it. No one is going to question where you got it or come looking for it. Even with a bad ESN, the phones are worth 75%+ of the retail value for parts. A good ESN from a broken phone can easily be flashed to the stolen one. Not to mention that people organized and skilled enough to steal $50,000 worth at a time are not selling single phones on Craigslist to unsuspecting people. All those phones went to one person/group who were waiting for them when they were stolen.
  18. toxicfiend

    toxicfiend TS Enthusiast Posts: 41   +11

    People like these would steal the skid marks out of people jocks if they can get away with it.
    Raoul Duke likes this.
  19. JaymondoGB

    JaymondoGB TS Enthusiast Posts: 37   +12

    Apparently their are people who actually want the things. Cant think why.
    toxicfiend and CURLUCKY like this.
  20. mojorisin23

    mojorisin23 TS Booster Posts: 152   +46

    large profit margins and tax minimization strategies are both legal
  21. williemorris

    williemorris TS Rookie

    Can´t believe this is possible :)
  22. So....I'm not allowed to dislike a company that charges $800 for a $200 phone and keeps billions offshore, out of the economy, to avoid paying income tax? What am I supposed to do, admire them? Legal doesn't always mean admirable, moral, worthy or deserving of praise. I'm saddened when I see individuals making low income pay more tax as a percentage of their income than Apple (Google, large banks etc) pay less on their billions. Sorry, but I'm not impressed.
  23. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Posts: 7,673   +413

    cleaver? Don't you mean clever :)
  24. JamesandBennie

    JamesandBennie TS Booster Posts: 170   +14

    iPhone is money , so they do that in risk

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