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Crime blotter: Seven charged in $28 million iPhone theft ring

Apple Store in Topanga, Calif.

In the latest Apple Crime Blotter, thieves steal from a surfer and head to Apple Store, iPhones are taken from handbags in New York, and Find My iPhone finds a car with a baby inside.

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

Seven charged in $28 million, multi-state iPhone fraud ring

Seven people were charged in the first week of September for carrying out an iPhone theft ring over a two year period. According to Fox 2 Detroit, which cited court records, the seven people were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Known as the "Clear Gods," according to the records, the conspirators allegedly added themselves as authorized users, while also gaining access to AT&T computer systems. Their system of upgrading phones, the government claims, pulled in $28 million over the life of the scheme.

Thieves steal man's wallet while he surfs, go on Apple Store and Cartier shopping spree

A man who for 40 years has gone surfing in Topanga, Calif., for the first time, had his car broken into in mid-September. As a surfer, he couldn't take his car key with him onto the waves, so stored it in the back of a fellow surfer's car, which was left unlocked. The key was taken and his locked car accessed by thieves.

ABC 7 reports the thieves took credit cards belonging to the man and his friend, spending thousands of dollars at the Apple Store and $37,000 at Cartier.

Another surfer told the TV station that those who do that should get a "valet key" that they can carry while surfing.

iPhones taken from "high-end handbags" in New York

A thief in Staten Island has been targeting women carrying "high-end" bags at stores and supermarkets throughout that New York City burough, according to NBC New York

The thief has taken multiple iPhones, credit cards, cash, and more since the thefts began in late July. Police have released surveillance footage.

Find My iPhone successfully tracks down stolen car with baby inside

A car was stolen in Philadelphia on September 12, with the driver's six-month-old baby still inside. However, according to 6 ABC, the car and baby were tracked down minutes later, thanks to Find My iPhone.

The child was unharmed, but the accused thief remained at large as of the 12th.

California artist's stolen iPad turns up in Las Vegas

An artist based in California who keeps art on his iPad had the device stolen from a car. However, the iPad was discovered in Las Vegas, thanks to Find My iPhone.

Patch writes the phone was taken in July and discovered in September.

Man arrested for Apple Store theft in U.K.

A 21-year-old man from London was arrested on suspicion of theft from a shop, in connection with a theft from the Apple Store at the Westquay Shopping Centre, in Southhampton. According to the Daily Echo, the man remains in custody.

Family on hook for bills after iPhone stolen in Italy

A family of five from the San Francisco Bay Area this summer visited Italy, and one of their iPhones was stolen during the trip, ABC 7 reported.

But after taking the iPhone, thieves spent "thousands of dollars" on phone bills, including over 7,000 minutes of calls to Croatia, Lithuania, Serbia, and Tunisia. The family says they were stuck with a bill for thousands of dollars by Verizon.

Ex-trooper to plead guilty in package thefts

A former Delaware State Trooper has agreed to plead guilty after he was charged in connection with a series of thefts from a package reshipping company. According to the Associated Press, the 32-year-old ex-trooper will plead in late September to one misdemeanor count of deprivation of rights under color of law.

The man's iPhone was seized in connection with the thefts in July 2021, out of fear that he would delete evidence from the device, the report said.

iPhone stolen from Nigerian entertainer's bodyguard

The bodyguard of Wizkid, a popular singer and songwriter in Nigeria, has alleged that his iPhone was stolen. The Nation Online reports the phone was stolen from the Quilox Club in Victoria Island, Lagos.

The bodyguard has released a CCTV video of a woman taking the iPhone from the top of a car, and vowed that he will "protect the girl's identity and reward anybody who could give meaningful information regarding [recovery of his] phone."

AirPods lead to arrest to of two men

Two men accused of "dozens" of larcenies in Michigan were caught when police followed a pair of AirPods to them, C&G News wrote on September 7. Both of the accused are homeless, per the report.

Police followed the signal as a Kenny Chesney concert was letting out at Detroit's Ford Field, leaving many iPhone signals to appear at once. But a backpack that was stolen was traced to the men.