UPS employee accused of stealing $1.3 million worth of Macs and iPhones en-route to customers

iPhone 15 Pro with a titanium finish running iOS 17
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future / Apple)

Reports of iPhones being ordered from Apple and then going missing en route to their intended destination have been rife over the last few months, and it has been claimed that crooks working at parcel companies may be intercepting packages, removing Apple hardware, and then sending those packages on their way. Now, it seems that there might be something to that after all.

That's after it was reported that Martirez Beltrano, a now-former UPS employee, has been accused of stealing and then reselling more than $1.3 million in Apple iPhones and Macs. The case, out of Winnipeg, reportedly came on the same day that UPS was already planning to fire the employee after an internal investigation found that he was responsible for hundreds of thefts. It's said that he stole at least 866 different Apple devices and then sold them to a person he met via an online marketplace.

Alongside the Apple gear, it's also thought that the UPS employee stole more than $9,000 worth of jewelry from the company's warehouse.

AWOL Apple

This is all according to a Winnipeg Free Press report which notes that the man was in charge of outgoing international shipments rather than anything destined for local residents. The thefts all took place from pallets of Apple hardware that were supposed to be shipped to Ontario.

UPS is liable for items that go missing during the shipping process and as such set up surveillance to try and get to the bottom of what was going down. A probe was launched after a "significant number" of Apple items were found to be missing.

"The video surveillance tape shows him texting before and after he rummaged through the pallets," the report says. "A Winnipeg Police Service property crime detective said in an investigation report that she suspected the video showed Beltrano communicating with a buyer by text about what he was able to steal, or looking to fill a specific illicit order."

Following the discovery it was found that Beltrano was working during all the times when other items were stolen, and court papers claim that the man "deposited a total of $232,650 in cash in bank accounts between September last year and mid-January." The man also admitted to stealing some of the devices after he was arrested, saying that he sold them to someone he met on the Kikiki marketplace.

The man claimed that he gave the laptops to his family as gifts while adding that sold the other items to "help his parents put a down payment on a house and to help his sisters with money." The man also said that he originally intended to sell the items to individuals before the buyer asked if he had more to sell. From there, the contact became a regular buyer of the stolen hardware.

It wasn't confirmed which devices were stolen, but the huge $1.3 million value suggests that these were high-end devices like iPhone 15 phones and MacBook Pro laptops rather than devices towards the more affordable end of the lineup.

This instance appears to be slightly different from the ones we reported last year which saw individual devices either being stolen or swapped out for older or completely different models. Some reported placing orders with Apple only to receive counterfeit iPhones instead of the real thing.

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Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.