updated 09:30 am EDT, Wed April 6, 2011
Stores represent easier, lucrative target
The FBI is helping several law enforcement agencies investigate over a dozen Apple Store robberies in states ranging from Connecticut to Virginia, Special Agent J.J. Klaver tells USA Today. Thefts from the retail chain have been on the increase in recent years, culminating Monday in a California incident which saw one robber killed by a security guard and two others arrested. "I used to do store openings with Apple, and they never used to have security guards," comments analyst Rob Enderle.
Apple has declined to comment, although it is reportedly cooperating with law enforcement on the robberies cited by Klaver. Lt. Walt Miller of the Evesham Township Police Department in New Jersey suggests that Apple has been escalating store protection. "They do try to increase their security as best they can with alarm systems, security guards and the thickness of the glass," he notes.
Apple Stores may be inherently more vulnerable than other robbery targets. Glass facades make them easier to break into, and straightforward organization makes it simpler for a thief to get in and out. The popularity of Apple products combined with their cost and scarcity also makes them extremely valuable. "Apple Stores move more merchandise than anything except Tiffany's per square foot," says Envisioneering Group consultant Richard Doherty. "We've already seen (their products) command 30% to 80% premiums on eBay and double that abroad."
Doherty adds though that Apple can track stolen electronics and brick them. "They have electronic serial numbers in the mobile phones and the Wi-Fi iPads so whenever and wherever they are turned on in the world, they will know where they are. The thieves may not be aware of that," he observes.