The Allure of Mass Apple Gadget Thefts

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Last night's iPad heist at New York's JFK airport, in which thieves made away with $1.5 million in stolen Apple goods, was not the first time a shiny new Apple toy drew the fingers of burglars and the eyes of reporters and readers. When the iPhone 5 first came out, mass thefts were reported around the world, from Tennessee to Japan, a surge in criminal activity (or at least crime reporting) that we hadn't seen with iGadgets before. Now, we are seeing it happen again, which doesn't necessarily mean that Apple products are more likely to be stolen than other goods. It could just be they are more likely to make headlines. But it does mean that some thieves have decided it's a good idea to steal Apple stuff and we can understand why. 

  • Apple is glamorous. It's like the difference between a diamond heist and a massive rhodium theft (which happens, but doesn't get as much attention). Rhodium, like diamonds, is valuable, and can go for $6,000 an ounce, for example. But robbing a bunch of diamonds, or in this case iPad Minis, is more exciting. Not all thieves go for glory. But be imagine glamour had something to do with the robbery at JFK last night, since The New York Post's Philip Messing and Josh Margolin described it as very similar to that famous scene from Goodfellas, which was based on a 1978 theft of cash and jewelry, which happened in the same building as last night's incident. 
  • High demand. Note how both the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini thefts happened just as the gadget went on sale. That's because their resale value will only decrease as the tablet becomes more available.  Right now an iPad Mini goes for $329 for the most basic version on The resale value on eBay goes from anywhere between $350 and $500, meaning a lot of money for our thieves. 
  • The press loves Apple. Did you know there was a Samsung Galaxy Note II heist a few short weeks ago? Probably not because Google News said only three blogs wrote about, one of them an Android centric one. The Apple heist, however, has made its way on to the great and powerful tech news aggregator Techmeme, where it sat on top as the most important news story for a bit. Dozens of blogs and news sites picked the story up. These still-at-large-thieves, whoever they are, not only get glory but fame, too. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.