Mugger Turns Down iPod

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Take my iPod, please? CC-licensed, thanks to Sifter on Flickr.
Take my iPod, please? CC-licensed, thanks to Sifter on Flickr.

This is the man-bites-dog of gadget crime: a mugger stuck a gun in the face of a 15-year-old demanding cash but just said no when offered an iPod instead.

It happened in Sydney, Australia, where police believe the attacker was another teen.

“[The boy] offered him an iPod but the attacker didn’t want that,” Green Valley Local Area Command duty officer, Inspector Siobhan Busetto told the Sydney Morning Herald. The attacker ran away, leaving the teen unharmed and still in possession of his mp3 player. Reports didn’t specify the iPod model involved in the scuffle.

For years, iPods have been at the center of countless robberies — and a few murder cases —  attesting to their cult status and steal-a-bility.

Is this a fluke or a sign that market penetration has been reached?

Perhaps the mugger was waiting for the iPad?

All gratuitous speculation welcome in the comments.

Costly iGadgets Increase Muggings, Decrease Home Thefts

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Used with a CC-license. Thanks gruntzooki on Flickr.
Used with a CC-license. Thanks gruntzooki on Flickr.

British thieves have realized it’s more profitable to snatch the iPhone from your hand than risk breaking into your home for a no-name DVD player.

Ten years ago, there were an estimated 1.28 million domestic burglaries in England and Wales, according to the British Crime Survey (BCS).   By, 2008/09 that number had fallen to 744,000 burglaries.

The drop, one researcher says,  is due to expensive portable gadgets and cheap home electronics.

“While DVD players for example, got cheaper, certain consumer items became smaller and were very, very expensive and sought after,” said James Treadwell, a lecturer at the University of Leicester’s Department of Criminology.  So the latest mobile phone, or the latest iPod, which people carry about them, have become targets for robbers.”

iPod Scammer Slapped with Prison Sentence

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Image used with a CC license, thanks to re-ality on Flickr.
Image used with a CC license, thanks to re-ality on Flickr.

A 23-year-old was sentenced to 13 months in prison for an iPod scam that earned him over half a million dollars before getting caught.

Through trial and error, Nicholas Woodhams of Portage, Michigan guessed serial numbers of the iPods still under warranty that were sent to him as an iPod repairman.  He then fraudulently obtained iPods from Apple and sold them online.

“Between March 2006 and October 2007, Woodhams caused Apple to ship more than 9,000 replacement units to a post office box through this deception,”  said a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “Woodhams then advertised and sold the units through a website for $49 apiece, a fraction of their retail value. In addition to this mail fraud scheme, Woodhams violated federal money laundering laws by wiring $200,000 of his criminally-derived proceeds from a financial institution in Michigan to a brokerage account in Missouri.”

In addition to the year-plus stint in jail, Woodhams will give over the fruits of his deceit including a home in Portage, Michigan, an Audi S4 sedan, an Ariel “Atom 2″ racing car, a Honda motorcycle, six computers and more than $570,000 in U.S. currency.

Woodhams pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering charges back in April and faced a maximum 30 year jail sentence.

Via Mlive

Image used with a CC license, thanks to re-ality

Police Act as “Pretend Burglars” to Prevent iPod Theft at Home

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Image used with a CC-license on Flickr, thanks to bixentro.

Do you leave coveted goods like iPods in plain sight around the house and forget to lock doors?

Well, if you live in Nottingham, England you just might find a police officer dressed up as “Burglar Bill”  entering your residence to teach you a lesson.

The charade is being staged to teach locals to wise up after some 285 homes were robbed in April and May by thieves entering through unlocked doors or open windows — police there say one-third of all home burglaries are perped this way.

Must-have gadgets like the iPod are a quick nick and hard to trace, they point out.

Detective Chief Superintendent Neil James said in a press release: “It only takes a couple of seconds for a thief to reach in through an open window or walk inside an unlocked door and steal a handbag, car keys, iPod and all sorts of other valuable items.”

You’ll be able to tell the artificial larcenist from the real deal because the police officer will don a get-up inspired by Hamburglar: striped shirt, mask and loot bag.

Once the fright wears off, police hope people will be more likely to use common sense habits to keep intruders out — close windows, lock doors and when at home, don’t leave keys in locks or on view and put keys out of sight to stop anyone who breaks in using your car as the getaway vehicle.
What’s still not clear: do the fake burglars give the iPods back?

Via This is Nottingham

Want to Keep Your iPod? Don’t Leave It in the Car

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Easy pickings: an iPod on the dash. Used with a CC-license, thanks to Willrad on Flickr.

Yeah, it’s common sense to take your valuables with you when you park. Online police blotters make it seem, however, that a parked car is a virtual shopping mall for thieves.

A few recent examples:

— An iPod was reported stolen from a vehicle broken into in the 3100 block of Ebano Drive. (Walnut Creek, Ca.)

— Complainant reported that his car was broken into and an iPod and a stereo faceplate were stolen early Wednesday morning.  The in-dash stereo was damaged in an attempt to steal it as well. (Lufkin, Texas.)

— Apple iPod stolen  from unlocked vehicle, Snowden Ave., July 21. A vehicle window was smashed and Apple iPod stolen, first block of Karen Way, July 19. (Both in Atherton, Ca.)

— A vehicle parked at 31 River St. was burglarized on July 19 at 11:30 p.m. A window was smashed and an 8-gig iPod touch, a purse and an orange-and-black Tony Hawk BMX were taken. (Lewiston, Maine).

In at least one area, Arlington County, Virginia, police report thefts are up 20 percent this year — attributing the increase to gadgets nicked from cars.

“Most are larcenies from vehicles to include valuables left in cars, including GPS’s, MP3 players, purses, wallets,” said Kraig Troxell, spokesman for the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.

“People walk by and see an iPod and a GPS on a car seat and just smash and grab,” Jody Donaldson, spokesman for Alexandria police told the Washington Post. “You’d be surprised how many people leave their car unlocked with that stuff out.”

Police advise if you leave your iPod in the car — at least put it out of sight — but warn that these thefts are bound to increase as more people use them.

“A lot of people have these items that used to not have them — BlackBerrys, iPods, iPhones, tiny cameras,” Donaldson said. “Think about how many people have this technology who didn’t a year ago.”

Conman Switching Apple iPods for Potatoes Bagged By Police

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Image used with a CC-license. Thanks to basykes on Flickr.

A British thief was busted in Germany after posing as broke tourist selling his iPod and electronics gear to get home.

The sorta-samaritans walked away and realized instead of MP3 players and video gear they had bought a camcorder bag full of potatoes.

It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book — buy a cell phone in a parking lot, find out it’s got sand instead of hardware in it — but the thief pulled off the bait and switch at least 26 times.

His accomplice has not been caught yet — and police in Dusseldorf warn he may be armed.
Should someone approach you, remember only Zune owners would sell their devices to get home.

Via The Sun

Baby as Bait in iPod Touch Theft

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A pair of theives “armed” only with a toddler to distract employees walked out of a SuperTarget with an iPod Touch. Police are still looking for the man and woman who snatched the device in a Boynton Beach, Florida store.

In the security cam footage, you can see the man talking to a sales associate in the foreground, then a woman comes along with a toddler (around 1:30) and asks a question. While the sales associate looks up, the man takes the iPod touch, an 8g model valued at $230.

Police hope the video footage will help ID the pair, you can contact them by calling Crime Stoppers at (800) 458-8477 (TIPS).

Via Palm Beach Post

Police Launch iPod Registry to Curb Thefts

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Police in Portsmouth, New Hampshire are setting up an iPod registry to thwart stealing. The registry covers the local high school, where staff and students reported high numbers of Apple snatching.

It works like much like bike registration: students fill out a form with a description and serial number of the device, verified by police staff at registration, and are given a sticker stating the device has been ID’d. The iPod is also photographed and the info is kept on file at the police department.

Police said the program is meant to speed up investigations and perhaps prevent thefts.

Do you think the registration will act as a deterrent?

Image courtesy Portsmouth police dept.

Via Foster’s Daily Democrat

Police Go Undercover to Nab iPod Thieves

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Police in Allentown, Pennsylvania don’t mess around with iPod thieves. When a woman had an iPod stolen after meeting a potential buyer for it from craigslist, they sent an undercover agent to bust two teen theives.

Police contacted the same 17-year old through craigslist and set up a meeting for him to buy an iPod. He showed up with the same friend about 6:30 p.m. and met with the female detective. The teen snatched the iPod from the detective and he and his accomplice tried to run.

Both were charged with robbery, theft, receiving stolen property, conspiracy, resisting arrest and criminal use of a communication device. (This last charge, it seems, has to do with illegal activity on craigslist. )
Via The Morning Call
Via The Morning Call

Photo of anti-iPod theft poster in London used with a CC  license, thanks weegeebored.

iPod Playlist Helps Police ID Thief

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A hold-up victim in Iowa helped police ID the perp by giving them a copy of his playlist.

Police checked it against an iPod found on robbery suspect Donald Cook, 18. Cook was charged with second-degree robbery shortly thereafter and is being held on $10,000 bond.

Police said the 18-year old victim and two other men pulled into a Des Moines video store parking lot about 10:20 p.m. Wednesday. Two men approached them, took them out of their car and put them on the ground.

One of the robbers said, “What you got on you? I know you got something on you.”
After taking about $390 in cash, the iPod and some cell phones the robbers got back in their car and drove away, according to a police report.

Officers said the playlist given to them by the victim matched the playlist on the iPod in Cook’s possession. Officers did not mention recovering the cash or the cell phones. The other suspect remains at large.

Image used with a CC license, thanks FHKE
Via Des Moines Register