Amazon warehouse employees allegedly steal $590,000 worth of iPhones

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Amazon packages delivered
Stealing an iPhone is easy if you work at an Amazon fulfillment center. Not getting caught is harder.
Photo: Morning Brew/Unsplash

Spanish National Police arrested a group of five Amazon warehouse employees in Madrid for a sneaky scheme to ship iPhones to accomplices who hadn’t paid for them. If the accusations hold up in court, the scofflaws stole nearly $600,000 worth of Apple handsets.

How to get caught stealing iPhones

The group allegedly surreptitiously slipped iPhones into shipments, according to Spanish-language site iPadizate. First, an accomplice would order something cheap from Amazon. Then one of the co-conspirators at the shipping facility would add an iOS handset to the package.

Amazon noticed that some packages going out didn’t weigh the expected amount. The company set up hidden cameras in the facility, and gathered enough evidence to bring in the Spanish police.

Amazon pegged the value of the alleged stolen iPhones at 500,000 euros, or roughly $590,000. The group reportedly had 10 iPhones at that time of the arrests. Plus, they reportedly possessed many IMEI stickers apparently removed from iPhone boxes.

None of the alleged thieves has gone to trial yet. Their accomplices who received the stolen handsets also might face arrest and trial. However, that has not yet happened.

Criminals prefer Apple

This isn’t the first group of Amazon employees to be accused of stealing Apple devices. In 2019, for example, Delaware police arrested a group of workers at an Amazon Fulfillment Center for boosting more than $100,000 worth of Apple Watches.

Apple products remain a favorite target for criminals. They’re small, expensive and quite popular, likely making them easy to fence.