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November 16, 2012
Two brazen bad guys made away Monday night with some $1.5 million in new Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPad Mini tablets from the same JFK Airport cargo site made famous in the 1978 heist dramatized in the movie “GoodFellas,” according to a report in the New York Post.
The thieves, reportedly still at large, pilfered about 3,600 iPad Mini units shipped by Cargo Airport Services and newly arrived from China. They hit the cargo building sometime before midnight, using the airport’s forklifts to move two skids worth of the tablets onto a waiting truck. In characterizing the robbery as an inside job, authorities said the burglars were waylaid from stealing three more stocked pallets by airport personnel returning from a dinner break.
According to the Post’s report, the crooks drove up to the same Building 261 as in the 1978 Lufthansa caper in a tractor trailer, positioning the vehicle away from security. Authorities believe that they were let in and out from the area by an insider.
The Post quoted a local law enforcement source as saying, “as a caper goes, it was probably unsuccessful.” Investigators currently are interviewing airport workers and, reportedly, have given three of them lie detector tests.
The theft’s size pales in comparison with the infamous 1978 Lufthansa robbery — which was said to have been organized and orchestrated by notorious crime figure Jimmy Burke — supposedly netting his crew $5 million in cash and $875,000 in jewels, or $20 million by today’s monetary standards, quite possibly the largest cash robbery in America’s history.
Still, it again points out how valuable a target is mobile technology — at first notebooks but now smartphones and tablets — for robbers looking to peddle their scores on the black market, especially in large volumes. The popularity and cultish aspects of Apple’s technology make the vendor’s mobile devices an easy mark, particularly in isolated situations, but also for bigger heists as Monday’s JFK theft.
So with all that stolen iPad Mini technology out there likely changing hands faster than you can tap an icon, does Apple have any recourse — can the vendor do anything IT wise to blunt the robbery? Well, maybe. Any of the stolen iPad Minis featuring LTE technology, if Apple can identify them, will contain an International Mobile Station Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, imprinted somewhere on the device, used by a GSM network to identify a valid unit. Blacklisting a number, as Apple might be able to do in this case, renders the tablet useless on a network. Otherwise, and short of Apple declining to activate the serial numbers of the stolen tablets, the iPad Minis are as good as gone.
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