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Apple Store Robberies on the Rise – but Are Thieves in for a Surprise?

Groups of technology bandits are targeting Apple stores in a growing number of grab-and-run burglaries. Thieves have hit more than a dozen of the iconic retail locations in recent months, mostly in California. Surveillance video shows how in just seconds, iPhones, iPads and laptops are snatched off tables and taken out the door. One of the most recent hits was Sunday in Burlingame, California. Another location in Pasadena was hit with the same type of grab-and-run burglary two years ago. One Los Angeles store experienced three robberies in eight days. Many of the robberies netted thousands of dollars worth of items.

“These items are relatively small and they’re very expensive,” Captain Garo Kuredjian of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department said. “So if they get away with a few things in their hands, these are very easy to transfer into cash.” Apple is notoriously silent about its security measures, but tech experts believe the real value for thieves lies in selling the parts. “A lot of these gadgets can be $1,000, $2,000 or more,” Dan Ackerman, an editor with CNET, says. But Ackerman believes Apple has surprises in store for the thieves. “People think that you could run in, grab a bunch of stuff from the Apple store, run out and boom, you’ve got a bunch of laptops and iPhones. Not necessarily the case,” Ackerman says. “It’s fairly well known that they install special custom versions of the operating systems on these so they’re of very limited use, if any, if you take them out of the store.”

Another reason for the recent rise in thefts may be due to Apple’s lack of common security features in its stores, like attaching devices to security tethers. And that’s not by accident. Apple’s senior vice president of retail Angela Ahrendts told Norah O’Donnell last year the stores are designed to be a hangout where customers can engage with their devices — and it may be worth the risk. “They seemingly have decided that it’s worth a couple of snatch-and-grabs,” Ackerman says. “Apple feels like if you get the chance to really play with its gadgets, you might walk out of the store with one, at least one that you legitimately paid for.”  Police are still searching for the suspects in several of these robberies, including the one over the weekend. A spokesperson for Apple told CBS News the company does not comment on security measures.  [Source: CBS News]

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