Crime blotter: iPhones seized from two lawyers associated with January 6 probe
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In the latest Apple Crime Blotter, a new lawsuit says Michael Jackson's iPhone was stolen after his death, iPhones are taken from a music festival, and big iPhone trouble for an African soccer star.
The latest in an occasional AppleInsider series, looking at the world of Apple-related crime.
Department of Justice seized iPhones from two attorneys involved in January 6 probe
In the last week of June, the Justice Department seized iPhones belonging to a pair of attorneys, both in connection to legal attempts to block the certifying of electoral votes on January 6, 2021.
John Eastman, who as a Trump campaign legal adviser laid out scenarios to set aside electoral votes, alleged in a legal filing that federal agents confronted him as he left a restaurant on June 22 and seized his iPhone 12 Pro. Eastman claimed he was not shown the warrant until after the iPhone was taken, and also that he "was forced to provide biometric data," presumably in order to unlock the phone.
Eastman asked in the document to get his iPhone back.
Also on June 22, federal authorities searched the Virginia home of Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official, also in connection with the probe. Appearing on Tucker Carlson's Fox News show, Clark has said that the agents took "all the electronics" from his home, with the help of an "electronics-sniffing dog."
Peter Strzok, another figure in Trump-era Justice Department investigations, noticed on Twitter that after the raid, Clark was tweeting from Twitter's desktop client rather than its iPhone app:
When the Feds seize your iPhone pic.twitter.com/QntX10Wa1v— Peter Strzok (@petestrzok) June 23, 2022
Lawsuit claims Michael Jackson's iPhone was stolen after his death
The estate of the late music superstar Michael Jackson filed legal papers in late June claiming that several items were stolen from Jackson's residence after his 2009 death, including an iPhone.
Per TMZ, the suit says a man who was engaged at one point to one of Jackson's siblings stayed at Jackson's home for nine days after the King of Pop died, and stole many items. These included the iPhone, as well as other electronics, clothes, the singer's driver's license, and prescription drugs.
Subsequent reporting said that the man, movie producer Jeffre Phillips, was formerly engaged to Jackson's sister LaToya Jackson.
In 2014, Business Insider reported, citing a book by a pair of the singer's former security guards, that Michael Jackson had tried to purchase iPhones for himself and his mother when the first iPhone was first released in 2007. But Jackson's credit was in such bad shape that the phone had to be set up in the name of one of the security guards.
New police precinct opens near Atlanta's Lenox Square Apple Store
Atlanta's police department has opened a new "mini-precinct" in the city's Buckhead section, just over a mile away from the Lenox Square Apple Store that has been the site of two different shootings since 2020. According to The Atlanta Journal Constitution, the new station has opened in order to "deter crime in the busy commercial area."
The Lenox Square Apple Store, which had just opened in a new location, closed in November of 2020, following a nearby shooting that sent a man to the hospital. In June of 2021, a security guard at the mall was shot after refusing to let a pair of 15-year-olds into the Apple Store after hours.
The new station opened following threats by Buckhead residents, citing crime, to secede from Atlanta and form a new Buckhead City.
Member of New York iPhone fraud ring convicted
Back in 2019, six people were charged in New York for their parts in a sophisticated fraud ring involving $19 million in device purchases, mostly of iPhones.
In late June, per Inner City Press, one defendant was found guilty on three separate counts. One cooperating witness testified that an aspect of the scam involved selling Play-Doh that had been manipulated to look like iPhones.
Man accused of brandishing bat as part of the theft of an iPhone in U.K.
A man in Sheffield in the U.K. was in court in early June in connection with the armed robbery of a woman who was trying to sell her iPhone. According to The Star, the accused had conspired with the man who had arranged to buy the iPhone and tried to attack the woman with a bat.
According to the account, the buyer met the seller, who ran away with the phone. When the seller's boyfriend gave chase, the man with the bat struck the boyfriend in the head.
However, "members of the public" succeeded in detaining both thieves, although at one point boyfriend was hit with the iPhone box itself.
iPhones stolen from music festival
There's been yet another case of iPhones and other smartphones being stolen en masse from a music festival. This time, reports WJLA, they were from the Something in the Water Festival in Washington, D.C., which took place in mid-June.
According to the news station, dozens of stolen phones were recovered after the event, including from "a Nike backpack with over 20 iPhones." Those who lost their phones at the festival are urged to check in with the Police Department's 4th District.
One festival attendee was able to film a potential thief:
SHARE! THIS LADY BEEN PICKPOCKETING #SITW ATTENDEES ALL WEEKEND. ITS A GROUP OF EM BUT SHES APART OF THE GROUP. SHE EVEN STOLE MY 1k iPhone. SHE EVEN HAD A BIG ASS BAG FULL OF PHONES SHE TOOK!! I lOST MONEY BECUAE OF HER. DO ME A FAVOR AND MAKE HER FAMOUS. #SomethingInTheWater pic.twitter.com/o2hFboJQQD— JAE BENEAR (@JAE_BENEAR) June 19, 2022
Prosecutors seek to unlock murder suspect's iPhone
Prosecutors in South Carolina are hoping to unlock an iPhone belonging to a man accused of murdering a woman. They believe that text messages on the phone tie the accused to the killing, and are seeking more information.
According to Law and Crime, the accused murderer is a Juilliard-trained concert pianist. Prosecutors believe that when he received a text message on the day of the murder referring to "music research," this may have been a code referring to the murderous act.
The defendant has pled not guilty. Prosecutors, the report said, plan to allege that the defendant was friends with a man with whom the victim was engaged in a custody battle.
Zimbabwean soccer star in court after iPhone theft accusation
A notorious soccer player who plays on both Zimbabwe's national team and a club in South Africa has been charged with stealing an iPhone, and prosecutors say he did so in order to cover up evidence of a vicious assault on his child.
The Chronicle reports Kudakwashe Mahachi was forced to return to his homeland from South Africa in order to answer charges that he stole the iPhone XR from his sister, as well as child abuse charges. He is also accused of smashing the phone in question.
Per the report, the accusation stems from an earlier incident when he was accused of scalding his son with boiling water. Prosecutors say the iPhone theft was "part of concerted efforts to destroy evidence" in relation to the abuse accusation.
Bollywood actor robbed of iPad in France
A famous actor from India was recently robbed while on a tour of Europe, and the thieves lifted his iPad, a Prada bag, credit cards, and cash. According to ZeeNews, Annu Kapoor warned his Instagram followers that they should be careful while traveling in France, because of his confrontation with "big-time thieves."
Uber driver sentenced for stealing iPhone 11, cash, and plane ticket
An Uber driver in Ghana has been sentenced for stealing a passenger's bag, which included an iPhone 11, a significant amount of cash, ATM cards, and a plane ticket.
According to My Joy Online, the 23-year-old man pled guilty to taking the bag. After driving the passenger to Kotoka International Airport, the driver feigned helping the passenger with his bag, but instead grabbed it and sped off.