Serial Apple Store thief finally caught after nabbing over $18,000 worth of MacBooks in the UK

Apple Walnut Street store
(Image credit: Apple)

Devices on display in Apple Stores might be quite easy to steal, but they are impossible to sell and also useless thanks to a range of measures Apple employs on its demo hardware. Yet one thief in the UK went back for seconds at Apple's Bluewater store in Kent and got nicked for a spree of other thefts in the process.  

As confirmed by Kent Police in a statement, “Patrolling officers in Bluewater have arrested a man suspected of stealing laptops worth over £15,000. The constables were in the shopping centre on Wednesday 24 January 2024 when they were notified of a reported theft from the Apple store.” In tandem with the Bluewater security team, they managed to locate and arrest the man, recovering the most recently stolen MacBook in the process. 

He was also charged with a theft from the same Apple Store just weeks prior on January 9, as well as four other counts of theft from other stores in London over the previous month. He was later bailed, and he will appear in court on February 21.

Play silly games

This story is a little different to when thieves are usually caught stealing from Apple Stores. Following a $20,000+ heist in London last December, police officers and Apple staff worked together to find missing iPhones with Find My, where they then tracked them to a local train station and found the criminals. This time, the perp didn't even make it out of the mall. 

Apple devices are some of the worst things you can possibly steal as all the major devices, like MacBooks, iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches, have Find My and serialized parts which makes them easy to track down and blacklist. Devices could technically be stripped for parts but that is inefficient and significantly diminishes the worth of the devices being stolen. Demo products taken from an Apple store are geo-locked, meaning if they're removed from the store in the case of a theft, they stop working. Last year, looters who stole iPhone 15 demo units from a store in Philadelphia found their devices rendered useless within seconds. The handsets were remotely locked, started playing an alarm tone, and even showed a green status light to indicate thieves were being filmed from the device's cameras. 

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James Bentley

James is a staff writer and general Jack of all trades at iMore. With news, features, reviews, and guides under his belt, he has always liked Apple for its unique branding and distinctive style. Originally buying a Macbook for music and video production, he has since gone on to join the Apple ecosystem with as many devices as he can fit on his person. 

With a degree in Law and Media and being a little too young to move onto the next step of his law career, James started writing from his bedroom about games, movies, tech, and anything else he could think of. Within months, this turned into a fully-fledged career as a freelance journalist. Before joining iMore, he was a staff writer at Gfinity and saw himself published at sites like TechRadar, NME, and Eurogamer. 

As his extensive portfolio implies, James was predominantly a games journalist before joining iMore and brings with him a unique perspective on Apple itself. When not working, he is trying to catch up with the movies and albums of the year, as well as finally finishing the Yakuza series. If you like Midwest emo music or pretentious indie games that will make you cry, he’ll talk your ear off.