240 iPhone 6 Units Stolen In Beijing; Thieves Arrested

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Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have become immensely popular in China. UBS analyst Steven Milunovich said in a report earlier this week that China has surpassed the U.S. to become the largest market for iPhones. The research firm estimates that China accounted for 35% of total iPhone shipments in December quarter, compared to 24% for the United States. But three men in Beijing decided not to waste their time and money to buy the iPhone 6 at the Apple Store.

How did they do it?

They stole 240 units of the iPhone 6 worth 1.4 million yuan ($225,350) from a warehouse last month. Between Dec.12 and 13, the three men broke into a warehouse by digging a 50cm hole in the wall. They were familiar with the warehouse because one of the burglars worked as a driver for a logistics firm that owned the warehouse, reports state-run Xinhua.

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Police traced many of the stolen phones by their serial numbers to the Heilongjiang province in northeastern China. A seller confirmed the identities of three men to officials. The men sold the devices and most of money on gold, cars and gambling. When the police caught them, the three men had only 30,000 yuan of 1.4 million yuan they had earned selling the iPhone 6 devices.

iPhone 6 is famously called Kidney 6 in China

iPhones have become a status symbol in China. When the Cupertino company launched iPhone 6 in September, a Chinese man put his girlfriend on “rent” to obtain cash to buy the iPhone 6. Theft of Apple devices in China has become pretty common. In February last year, a 19-year old boy wielding knife robbed a mobile phone store in Wenzhou.

The iPhones sell for around 6,000 yuan in China. Chinese consumers have dubbed the iPhone 6 the “Kidney 6.” That’s because a teenager from Anhui province had sold one of his kidneys to an organ-trafficking gang to buy Apple products.