Police Arrest 141 New York City Merchants in Stolen iPhone Sting
The New York Post reports that a sting conducted by the New York Police Department last week targeting vendors suspected of selling stolen iPhones resulted in 141 arrests as the city works to cut down the market feeding on such thefts. According to the report, undercover officers approached workers at over 600 locations suspected of participating in sales of stolen iPhones and offered the devices to workers at low prices while stating that they had been stolen from their owners.
Undercover NYPD officers sold the electronics to merchants at more than 600 stores around the five boroughs this week — asking from $50 to $200 for iPhone 4s and iPad 2s — after clearly stating the popular gadgets were stolen, said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.
The sting — which nabbed clerks and workers at businesses such as supermarkets, barbershops, pawnshops and bodegas — began Tuesday and continued through yesterday.
“That’s our intention, to reduce the places where people who steal these things can go and sell them,” said NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. “If someone is offering you an iPad for way below market value, you have to realize that it’s most likely stolen.”
iPhones are popular targets for thieves in New York and elsewhere, with an officer in one New York precinct reporting that in some months more than half of the reported robberies involve an iPhone.
The popularity of Apple's devices has not only driven an active market in thefts and resales of the stolen property, but also in counterfeiting. Apple has been targeting vendors selling counterfeit Apple products in New York City and elsewhere, seeking to shut down those companies making unauthorized profits on Apple's name with knockoff products.