A new report shows that Apple has an awkward and embarrassing problem. People are stealing Apple products from Apple Stores simply by dressing up as employees and walking out of the store.
If you’ve ever walked into (or, like me, walked by) an Apple Store, then you know you can easily spot employees by their distinctive blue shirts. That recognizable attire is a key strategy by Apple. You don’t have to scan the store to find someone to help you.
But the same distinctive outfit that has given Apple Stores a unique selling point has made it easy for thieves to walk away with loot.
Thieves have reportedly stolen “thousands of dollars” worth of iPhones simply by dressing in similar clothes and taking goods from the stores.
DNA Info reports that “a man dress liked an Apple store employee” was able to steal 19 iPhones – worth $16,000 total – from New York City’s SoHo Apple store on June 1.
All that guy did was walk into the Apple Store wearing the shirt, enter the electronics repair room in the back, grab 19 iPhones, and pass them to an accomplice to hide under his shirt.
Then, the pair of thieves walked casually out of the store. Nobody batted an eye.
That may sound like a one-off, quirky heist. But it’s actually happened before.
It’s Happening Around the World
Earlier in 2016, three people conducted a similar heist when stealing iPhones from the Apple Store. One man distracted Apple Store staff while his accomplice – a woman dressed as an Apple employee – grabbed the devices from the book. The second male kept a lookout throughout the robbery.
Amazingly, that same trio hit the same Upper West Side Apple outlet one more time using the exact same ploy. This time, they managed to steal 59 iPhones.
In total, the 67 handsets they stole amounted to $50,000 in losses.
The reason people keep attacking the Upper West Side Apple Store is because it’s used as a training location. New employees come and go from that store all the time, so it’s not unusual to see faces you don’t recognize walking around.
In any case, the next time you need a new iPhone or a quick buck, just grab that blue shirt from your closet and stroll into an Apple store. Just kidding. Don’t do that.