Police in Franklin, Tennessee, are looking for three snatch-and-grab suspects in an Apple Store theft. They stole 17 Apple Watches, worth $9,000.
Surveillance footage released by the police shows the trio walking into the Franklin store and grabbing the Apple Watches from the display table. They escaped unimpeded.
Police asked anyone who recognizes the suspects on the surveillance video (which can be seen here) to call Crime Stoppers at (615) 794-4000.
The problem posed by Apple Store theft
Unfortunately, thieves regularly target Apple Stores. Often these are just snatch-and-grab robberies in which thieves swipe as many display devices as they can, then bolt. Occasionally, as happened this June at Valencia in California, thieves rob stores at gunpoint.
The most significant spate of Apple Store robberies took place in California in 2018. These resulted in the theft of more than $1 million worth of devices. Police ultimately arrested a gang of 17 people.
The problem comes down to the relative ease with which criminals can carry out the robberies. Apple Stores showcase expensive items so customers can try them out. Apple takes some preventative steps to avoid thefts, like using special versions of its software for all demo devices, which supposedly disable them if removed from the store. However, clearly these measures do not prove sufficient to curb Apple Store robberies.
The most effective way of stopping robberies may be to have off-duty police officers on site. Apple has done this in several locations. These officers are privately contracted by Apple, and offer a visible presence that should act as a deterrent to would-be thieves.
Unfortunately, this is not an option in all locations. Smaller cities do not typically employ enough police officers to fill these assignments. In places like San Francisco, retailers sign contracts with the city that pay officers overtime for working assignments like this outside of their regularly scheduled shifts. But this is not possible everywhere.