Even for determined thieves, getting through the locked doors of an Apple Store sounds like a tall order. But what if you didn’t have to break into the Apple Store after hours? What if you could just break into the store next door?
It sounds like something out of a (not very exciting) heist movie that someone would tunnel into an Apple Store to steal $500,000 worth of iPhones. But the huge hole in the bathroom of the Seattle Coffee Gear store shows that this isn’t Ocean’s Eleven.
Seattle’s King 5 News said on Tuesday that two people broke into Seattle Coffee Gear in Lynnwood, Washington, and then made a big hole in the bathroom wall, which led to the back room of the nearby Apple Store.
The CEO of Seattle Coffee Gear, Mike Atkinson, said on Twitter that surveillance footage shows the two thieves getting in and out “in less than 15 minutes.”
He also posted a picture of the mess he said the crew left in the bathroom of the Seattle Coffee Gear:
Police told King 5 News that 436 iPhones were stolen, which is estimated to cost $500,000.
Reports say that replacing the locks on Seattle Coffee Gear cost almost $900, and the coffee appliance store thinks bathroom repairs will cost between $600 and $800.
Some people, like Atkinson, think this was an inside job because of how fast and well it was done. Regional retail manager Eric Marks told King 5 News that the thieves even cut through the wall of the bathroom without hitting any pipes.
Good morning Twitter fans! Yesterday was a weird day…
1. Two men broke into one of our retail locations. Why? To cut a hole in our bathroom wall to access the Apple Store next door and steal $500k worth of Iphones🙄
2. Later that night on the way to the grocery store my wife… pic.twitter.com/DcUld6ULEd
— Mike Atkinson (@coffeemikeatkin) April 4, 2023
Marks said that when the alleged crime happened, there were no employees in either the Apple or Seattle Coffee Gear stores.
The stores are in the Alderwood Mall, which told King 5 News that it is working with the police. Apple didn’t answer King 5 News’s request for a comment, and the company has never said anything about store thefts in the past.
Other memorable iHeists
iPhones have been stolen for a long time, but this theft seems to be more planned out than usual and is linked to a lot of money.
In other recent cases, thieves have taken advantage of Apple Stores’ lack of physical security on display devices by grabbing iPhones right off tables in front of customers and employees while wearing masks or hoods.
In 2022, two people are said to have stolen $35,000 worth of goods from an Apple Store in Palo Alto, California, during the day on Black Friday. This was one of the most brazen cases. As you might expect, there were a lot of people with camera phones in the store, and footage of the event quickly spread on the Internet:
We’ve also seen the same Apple Stores get attacked more than once. For example, a store in Berkeley, California, was attacked three times in nine days in 2016, and a store in San Francisco was attacked twice in four days, with one attack taking only 12 seconds.
Even if an Apple Store isn’t open, it can still be a target. ABC 13 News reported that in August 2022, four people stole more than 220 phones, 200 Apple Watches, and 50 AirPods from a store in The Woodlands, Texas, before the store opened to its first customer.
Even though $500,000 is one of the biggest amounts of money we’ve seen stolen from a single Apple Store, there have been rumors of $1 million schemes. In 2018, 17 people were arrested and charged with stealing more than $1 million from Apple stores in 19 California counties.
Many people will say that Apple can remotely lock stolen products, but that doesn’t stop people from going to great lengths to get a five-finger discount.