This Wednesday, Florida police reported that a highly successful iPhone theft ring had been broken at the Galleria mall, Fort Lauderdale. The thieves managed to defraud Apple Inc. NASDAQ:AAPL out of almost 600 iPhones before the long arm of the law caught up with them.
A regional loss-prevention manager for Apple Inc. NASDAQ:AAPL notified FLPD detectives about the group earlier this year, and the ensuing investigation recently came to a head with the arrest of six employees.
The method used for Apple’s iPhone theft
Devon Persad, 26, has been identified as the ringleader of the group, who would lay on lavish dinners in order to recruit other employees into the scheme. He impressed them with tales of his new Lexus, and his ability to pay off his home loans.
Another vital piece of the puzzle was Sean Flynn, an employee of Best Buy Mobile. He would provide serial numbers from new iPhones at Best Buy, which the crooked Apple Inc. NASDAQ:AAPL employees would then assign to new iPhones at their store.
Thieves posing as customers would then exchange stolen iPhones for new ones with wrongly assigned serial numbers, with the Apple employees paid between $45 and $75 for each of these fraudulent transactions they carried out.
The downfall of the ring
Of course, the ruse did not go unnoticed forever. The Fort Lauderdale store sent the stolen iPhones to Apple in California, where company headquarters realized something was going on.
Furthermore disgruntled Best Buy customers started to complain that their new iPhones were not working, because Flynn had used their serial numbers to activate iPhones at the Apple store.
One known member of the ring, Otis Ferguson, has not yet been apprehended by the authorities, and FLPD are appealing for information on his whereabouts. Besides the seven known members of the gang, those thieves who exchanged stolen iPhones for new ones remain unknown to police, and Detective Anna Greenlaw has likened the situation to a “hornet’s nest.”