Cops Nab California Thief That Stole Dozens of iPhones From Berkeley Apple Store

Apple Store Thief Escape Credit: @bustdowncorn/LOCAL NEWS X / TMX / Fox News
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Police on Wednesday arrested a California man who allegedly stole dozens of on-display iPhones from a Berkely area Apple retail store. A video allegedly shows the man grabbing 50 iPhones from the display tables in the Apple store, then casually strolling out of the store, sliding past a parked cop car, and then jumping into a waiting Hyundai getaway car.

As reported by Fox Business News, Emeryville Police Department and California Highway Patrol officers arrested 22-year-old Berkely resident Tyler Mims and two other individuals for their alleged involvement in the theft of the iPhones. Prosecutors have charged Mims with burglary, grand theft, and other crimes.

Mims is being held at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. He is scheduled to appear in court on Friday. Details about the other two arrested individuals were not immediately available.

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A caller on Monday reported the crime, telling police that the suspect had stolen the 50 iPhones, which had a total value of $49,230.

Emeryville Police are asking anyone with information about thefts at the Emeryville Apple Store to contact the Department’s Investigations Unit via email or by calling 510-596-3700.

The video shows a masked man in all black clothing going from table to table at about 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 5, 2024, quickly ripping phones from their display mounts and jamming them into what must’ve been very large pockets.

The thief is seen stealing dozens of iPhones, each worth hundreds of dollars, as witnesses in the store stood back and watched. The person who recorded the video followed the thief as he walked out of the store, continuing to record as the thief brushed past a police cruiser before jumping into a black Hyundai. (Police said Thursday that there were no officers in the area at the time of the theft and the police cruiser was not occupied.)

The Emeryville Police Department has responded to four grand thefts from the same Apple Store since January 19.

While thieves have been stealing things from Apple retail stores since the first one opened back in May 2001, the thieves soon find out that they don’t benefit much from stealing devices like the iPhone as they will no longer work after being taken from the store, and they may even put a target on the back of thieves.

Stolen iPhones display on-screen messages that read “The device has been disabled and is being tracked. Local authorities will be alerted.”

iPhones taken from an Apple store will only respond to “Find My iPhone” and will do nothing more. Thieves can attempt to reset the iPhone, but that will not remove the Activation Lock from the device, and the accounts that have been set up on the devices are controlled by Apple.

iPhones stolen in this matter can begin recording their surroundings, meaning the thieves and their cohorts end up being on Candid Camera without their knowledge. Plus, each iPhone can be individually tracked, meaning even if all of the iPhones are split up among the thieves, the devices could lead police right to each of their front doors.

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