Crime blotter: $18K in iPhones lifted from Temecula Apple Store, knife gang iPhone theft, more

The Apple Store in Temecula

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On the latest Apple crime blotter, over $18,000 inn iPhones was taken from Temecula Apple Store, an ex-AT&T employee has been convicted of fraud, a brazen theft gang cut into a Best Buy roof to steal Apple gear, and more.

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

$18,000 in iPhones taken from Temecula Apple Store

The recent high-profile stretch of organized retail thefts of high-end stores has mostly bypassed Apple Stores, but there was one reported theft from a California Apple Store in December.

Police are looking for a man who entered the Apple Store in Temecula, in Riverside County, Calif., and took 20 iPhones.

Having entered the store with a bag and scissors, the thief put the phones in a bag, according to The Press-Enterprise. When a witness attempted to intervene, the thief "brandished a handgun."

Best Buy thieves in Alabama cut hole in roof

In late November, a group of thieves broke into an Alabama Best Buy by cutting a hole in the roof and climbing in. Then, they stole "a large amount" of computer equipment, targeting Apple products specifically.

According to Fox 10, the break-in took place in the middle of the night shortly before Black Friday, and the thieves, who brought a ladder, "spent about two hours inside the store."

The CEO of Best Buy, on a November earnings call, had specifically discussed retail theft, expressing concerns that fear of such crime was taking a toll on employees.

Ex-AT&T employee convicted of fraud for scheme that involved iPhones

A 40-year-old North Carolina man was convicted December 10 on federal charges of conspiracy, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Per a Department of Justice press release, the man and an accomplice used their positions as AT&T store employees to illegally establish cellular accounts with stolen information.

The duo would issue iPhones using the bogus accounts, in some cases selling them.

Man jailed for stealing from ex-girlfriend via drugged Face ID unlock

A man in China was jailed for stealing 151,202 yuan from his ex-girlfriend by secretly transferring it from her Alipay account. He did so from her own iPhone, which he unlocked by spiking her food with cold medicine, then lifted her eyelids to get through Face ID.

While the woman was messaged by her bank about the large transfer the following morning, it took months of investigation before the man was arrested, reports News18. He was fined and jailed for 3 and a half years.

iPhone stolen, along with NHRA ring

Among the items stolen from a Best Western hotel in Indianapolis in mid-December was an iPhone X, a computer, and a championship ring from the National Hot Rod Association.

According to WISH TV, the theft occurred on December 11.

iPhone stolen by "10 strong knife gang"

A man in Birmingham in the U.K. had his iPhone stolen by a group of ten men with knives. Birmingham Live reports the members of the gang first threatened to stab the men, before taking the iPhone 12 Pro Max, along with a tracksuit.

Following the theft, the report said, the thieves began fighting over the iPhone among themselves. The victim did refuse to hand over his passcode to the thieves.

Georgia man arrested for using fake ID for iPhone, AirPods purchase

A man from Georgia has been arrested for using a false ID to buy two iPhones, as well as AirPods from two different Verizon stores, as well as "struggling with an officer" afterward.

According to TribLive, the man stands accused of using the fake ID at one store for the iPhones. When police searched the man's truck, it was found he had allegedly purchased $800 worth of AirPods from a different Verizon store.

The man was arrested for resisting arrest, providing false identification to authorities, receiving stolen property, and theft.

AT&T employee arrested at airport for theft, pleads guilty

A 20-year-old former employee at an AT&T store in Florida was suspected of stealing three iPhones, two pairs of AirPods, and other items from the store. In May, he was arrested at Southwest Florida International Airport, with some of the stolen items in his possession.

Fort Myers News Press reports the man has since pled guilty to burglary, grand theft, battery on a police officer, and corruption by threat of a police officer. He has been sentenced to 270 days in jail.

In a social media chat obtained by authorities, the man had reportedly stated, "I'm bouta go rob AT&T."

Penn State student arrested for apartment thefts

A student at Penn State is facing charges that he stole more than $5,000 worth of items from an apartment complex, including at least one iPhone and MacBook Pro.

According to Penn State news website Onward State, the student has been charged with burglary, criminal trespassing, theft, and receiving stolen property. He was spotted by security cameras carrying out some of the thefts, the report said.

Woman's iPhone stolen from casino

A woman having drinks with friends at the Valley Forge Casino in Pennsylvania had her iPhone 12 stolen off the bar by an unknown thief.

Sanatoga Post writes troopers working on behalf of the Bureau of Gaming Enforcement determined that a 47-year-old woman from nearby Upper Chichester was a suspect, but that the investigation is ongoing.

Three arrests made in theft of Indian actor's iPhone

Two men have been arrested for the theft of Indian actor Nikita Dutta's iPhone, and a third was arrested for buying the stolen iPhone from them, Indian Express reported.

The thieves reportedly carried out the theft on bikes, with one distracting Dutta while the other took the iPhone. The report said it was one of several thefts carried out by the duo that day.

A finalist in the 2012 Femina Miss India pageant, Dutta appears in Bollywood films.