The Bordeaux Apple Store was attacked during protests and riots against the French government across the country, with the store essentially cleaned out by the thieves.
Videos shared on Twitter and YouTube over the weekend show looters gaining access to the Apple Sainte-Catherine store in Bordeaux, dressed in hoodies and other concealing clothing. The thieves grabbed iPhones, iPads, and other goods kept on the display tables before leaving the store and joining the rest of the crowd outside.
The theft coincided with ongoing "yellow vest" protests in the country, taking advantage of the general unrest as an excuse to loot the store, as well as to provide cover at a time when the store would have had a reduced police presence with offers occupied elsewhere. Approximately 125,000 protestors were on the streets on Saturday, reports the BBC, with more than 1,200 people taken into custody.
The protests were originally a stance by groups against rising fuel tax, which the government scrapped following pressure from the public. The movement has since expanded in scope to cover other areas, including taxes in general, the rising cost of living, and changes to the educational system.
Protests have been staged over the last four weekends, and has caused widespread damage to buildings and property in Paris. The situation has reached a state where it has been declared a "catastrophe" for the economy by the French finance minister.
President Emmanuel Macron is expected to reveal measures to tackle the crisis in a national address today.
While Apple is likely to have been targeted by an opportunistic group of thieves, it is plausible that the attack on the store was fueled by continued calls from critics for Apple to pay its fair share of taxes. In late 2017, activists staged protests in Apple Stores demanding Apple paid back taxes to the Irish government, while a "die-in" from April at two Apple outlets accused the company of exploiting tax loopholes.