Blotter Crime: Federal Indictment for Charlotte Phone Shop Owners


AppleInsider is supported by its audience and is eligible to earn an Amazon Associate and Affiliate Partner commission on qualifying purchases. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content.

In the latest Apple Crime Blotter, a stolen iPhone video goes viral, Find My iPhone helps bust a car theft ring, and an iPhone salesman is threatened with a knife.

The last of a chance AppleInsider series, looking at the world of Apple-related crime.

Two businessmen indicted for scheme involving stolen iPhones

The federal government has charged two Charlotte-based businessmen who own wireless phone stores. According to the Justice Department press release, the two men “purchased thousands of stolen and fraudulently obtained iPhones and other electronic devices, which they then sold and shipped to buyers in other states and foreign countries”.

The alleged scheme began as early as 2013 and continued through 2020, the statement said. It involved the pair receiving the phones from boosters, as well as intermediaries described as sellers, and then reselling them overseas. The two men, the Justice Department said, “sold and shipped through Cellport more than 20,000 new iPhones” in a one-year period between 2019 and 2020, despite knowing that some of them had been stolen.

Video goes viral of Best Buy employees arresting iPhone thieves

In a video that emerged online in early May, three people attempted to grab what appeared to be iPhones off a table in a Best Buy store – only to be blocked by three store employees who used a defense that appeared to be inspired by the NFL. (Warning: the video contains coarse language):

The location of the store and when the attempted robbery took place has not been publicly disclosed, and Best Buy has not responded to requests from various media outlets for comment. Much of the commentary on the video focused on employees’ defensive skills and the fact that Best Buy store policy prohibits employees from physically restraining shoplifters.

Credit card from stolen wallet was used at an Apple Store near Chicago

A wallet was stolen from Oakbrook Center Mall in suburban Chicago in late April, leading to a police pursuit and possible arrest, but not before a credit card from the wallet was used at the Apple Store in the same mall.

According to ABC 7, the man and woman suspected of being responsible for the theft were caught in a van without plates near the mall. The man, who fled on foot, was arrested.

Find My iPhone helped bust a car theft ring in San Francisco

San Francisco police and prosecutors in mid-May busted a ring that stole cars and the items in them while he worked at a boba tea shop. SFist reports that a person involved in the investigation used Find My iPhone to trace the stolen item to a store next to the tea shop, and ultimately to Hong Kong.

The bust recovered more than 1,000 electronic devices, which the prosecutor’s office plans to return to their owners.

School choir director arrested for sexual conduct with student after husband finds iPad evidence

A Pennsylvania woman who worked as a school choir director has been charged with sexual assault and unlawful contact with a minor. According to WTAE, the alleged misconduct came to light after the woman’s husband found incriminating messages, between the choir director and a female student, on the woman’s iPad. The husband then reported the messages to authorities.

The woman’s predecessor as a choir director, according to the report, had also faced institutional sexual assault charges.

iPhone search, Instagram photos helped nab Detroit man arrested for guns, unemployment fraud

A Detroit man was recently arrested on a litany of charges, including drug fraud, weapons and unemployment charges, and it appears his online behavior was his downfall.

According to Click Detroit, the man had used his Instagram account to post photos of himself with firearms, which he is not allowed to possess due to probation, as well as drugs. And, according to the report, the man’s iPhone was repeatedly used to access California’s unemployment claims website, leading to unemployment fraud charges.

Man pleads guilty to stealing more than 40 iPhones

A Colorado man has pleaded guilty to stealing 41 iPhones from an area Walmart. Cody Enterprise writes that the man was shown on surveillance video manipulating a partially locked cage to pick up the items. He was also shown using a backpack, which was also stolen, to hold them.

The man was sentenced to 3 to 5 years in prison and must also pay $32,650 in restitution.

A seller threatened with a knife while selling an iPhone on Facebook Marketplace

A New Zealand man who listed a new iPhone 13 Pro on Facebook Marketplace met the buyer at his own doorstep, only to have the phone stolen at knifepoint by two thieves. According to New Zealand Herald, the theft took place at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, under the eyes of the wife and the children of the man. After a fight, the thief got away with the phone.

According to the victim, the thieves listed the same phone on Facebook Marketplace just 15 minutes later. The thief was later arrested, while the thief’s father apologized to the victim.