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The Apple Watch on cocaine, self-driving secrets, and other news from the Apple crime blotter

Apple Stores nationwide suffer smash-and-grab thefts, and fallout from the arrest of an Apple employee caught attempting to flee to China with stolen trade secrets in AppleInsider's latest Apple crime roundup.

The Fresno theft, in progress

The latest in an occasional AppleInsider series: A roundup of Apple-related crime.

An epidemic of Apple Store robberies

Multiple Apple Stores around the country were robbed in quick burglaries. According to the Suffolk County Police Department on Long Island, five men in hooded sweatshirts broke into the Apple Store in Huntington Station, New York, on July 6, stealing 21 iPhone 8s and iPhone Xs, with a value of $19,000, by grabbing them off a display table.

On the same day, on the opposite coast, a group of four men stole $27,000 worth of iPhones and MacBooks from an Apple Store in Fresno, Calif. The Fresno Police Department posted security video of the robbery, in which the suspects ran into the store, spent about 30 seconds grabbing merchandise, and then ran back out. The thieves got away with $27,000 worth of items.

Another Apple Store theft took place in May, in Bakersfield, Calif., but police released surveillance photos of it this week. According to KGET, the three teenaged suspects stole display items and ran off.

And finally, a single thief was finally caught after stealing 26 iPhone X in seven separate robberies of an Apple Store in Leeds, England. According to Leeds Live, the thefts took place over a ten-week period, and usually involved suspect Reece Godward, sometimes with accomplices, running into the store, grabbing the devices, and then running out.

The 19-year-old is also accused of other crimes, including an assault on a shopkeeper while Godward's accomplice was stealing nine jars of coffee from his shop. For good measure, Godward is also accused of stealing a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Samsung Galaxy S9 in separate thefts.

Find My iPhone tracks iPhone theft across states

A couple whose iPhone was stolen used the Find My iPhone feature to track the iPhone X to another state, in order to chase the car of the woman who stole it after it was left in a Buffalo Wild Wings restroom.

According to the Times Tribune newspaper, the Florida couple was driving through New Jersey when they took a detour to retrieve the phone. The couple chased the "Find My iPhone" signal from Rockaway, N.J.. to Wilkes Barre, PA — a 106-mile trip — to follow the thief's van, ultimately calling police once they reached a residential neighborhood.

After the couple called the phone —and the thief answered —she was arrested; her male accomplice was charged with providing false identification to law enforcement.

Self-driving secrets may stop Apple from suing ex-employee

As AppleInsider readers know, a former Apple engineer was arrested earlier this month prior to boarding a flight to China, and charged with stealing secrets about the company's autonomous car plans. While the indictment of Xiaolang Zhang revealed certain things about "Project Titan" that hadn't been previously confirmed, the prospect of more of the project's secrets coming to light may prevent Apple from moving forward with any type of lawsuit against Zhang.

According to Axios, past lawsuits, especially those between Apple and Samsung, have led to unwelcome revelations in the past. Zhang has pled not guilty to the criminal charges against him.

"Creepy electronics expert" convicted of using iPad to spy on estranged wife

A British man who had moved out of his home after splitting from his wife used the home's sophisticated ELAN smart home system to spy on his estranged wife's conversations via an iPad, police said.

According to The Sun, the man was caught after the wife declared that she no longer loved him, and he burst into the house to confront her about what she's said. The man was convicted on stalking and harassment charges, although the stalking charges were later tossed on appeal.

Motorist jailed after failing to unlock iPhone

A man in Florida was pulled over for a drug offense, and has now been in jail for several weeks due to his refusal to unlock the two iPhones he had in his car.

According to The Miami Herald, the man was pulled over June 21 for a traffic offense, upon which a drug-sniffing dog occasioned a search that turned up drugs and drug paraphernalia, along with a Glock 23 .40 caliber and the two iPhones- one of which received a text during the stop that read "OMG did they find it."

Police obtained a warrant for the passcode to the iPhone, but the man refused, claiming he forgot it. Police have told the man he will be released from custody should he remember the code.

Very narrow cyberattack hits 13 iPhones in India

A malware attack in India, which authorities call "a highly targeted operation," infected 13 iPhones. According to Bleeping Computer, the attack used a mobile device management (MDM) server, and replaced popular apps on the phones with versions that included data harvesting malware. And in a reversal of certain other hackings recently in the news, that hacker was based in India, but claimed falsely to be Russian.

Apple Watch finds favor among cocaine users

There have been a lot of stories in recent months about Apple Watch users claiming their device saved their lives by alerting them to a medical episode. Now, a different group of Apple Watch users are finding the Watch helps them stay safe during another activity —hard drug use.

According to CNBC, users of cocaine have been using their Apple Watches and Fitbits to monitor their heart rates and prevent overdoses. Apple did not comment on CNBC's story, but one cardiologist called it not a great idea, in part because "it's possible this is leading people to do more cocaine."

iPhone evidence catches former reality contestant stealing from a man just before his death

A woman who was once a cast member on the reality TV show "The Bad Girls Club" has been arrested for stealing the debit card information of a man who had paid her for sex —just before the man died of a drug overdose.

According to The Blast, texts found on the dead man's iPhone tied Shannade Clermont, who has also modeled for Kanye West's Yeezy collection, to the crime.

"As alleged, Shannade Clermont, a former cast member of the Bad Girls Club,' lived up to her reality series reputation," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement after her arrest. "Thanks to the skilled investigative work of the NYPD, Clermont's new reality is federal prosecution for her alleged nefarious conduct."

Man nabbed in iPhone purchase scam

A man in Michigan was arrested in Nebraska after carrying out a scam in which he bought four iPhones with another man's ID and activated them. According to the Columbus Telegram, when the mobile phone store was made aware by the man whose ID it was that he had never bought the phones or even been to Nebraska. The man was arrested and charged with identity theft and theft by deception.

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