Apple Stores Across the Country Targeted in Brazen 'Flash Mob' Robberies
Newly released surveillance video shows a "flash mob of thieves” striking the Fashion Fair Mall in Fresno, California, Saturday as the culprits made off with a small fortune of Apple products.
It took just seconds for four young men in hoodies to get away with $27,000 worth of products from the tech giant.
"Various iPhones, the iPhone 6, iPhone 7 and 8, and even the new iPhone X was taken in this grand theft," Lt. Mark Hudson of the Fresno Police Department said in a statement.
In San Francisco, an Apple store has been robbed twice in the same fashion.
Security expert Pat Brosnan viewed the footage of the Fresno heist. He believes the thieves are professionals.
"What you have here, in my view, is a couple of professionals," he told Inside Edition. "These guys are dedicated, they are quick, they are nimble, they are agile and they are very focused. It is also product specific. They didn’t get deterred by anything else ... they knew precisely what they were taking. That is a pro operation.
Similar thefts have been reported across the country.
Five youths in hoodies struck an Apple store on Long Island, New York, Friday. They acted like typical shoppers at first, but then began yanking the Apple goods from security cords before taking off, as seen in security video.
"They basically are strategically positioning themselves in the store," Brosnan said of the heist. "When the moment is right, they sweep up whatever product they come for."
The flash mob in Long Island made off with $19,000 in products, according to police.
The Apple store's open layout of items may have made them targets, but it looks like the company has outsmarted thieves with an iPhone kill switch that activates when at stolen phone leaves the store's Wi-Fi range, rendering it useless.
Lt. Hudson said officers investigating the Fresno thefts are looking into a possible connection to other Apple thefts across the country.
"There are other reports, of other places, other cities in California that have had these kinds of takeover thefts," said Lt. Hudson. "So we are looking into [this crime] being connected to other crimes, at any other Apple Stores outside of Fresno."
Brosnan says that if you find yourself in a store during a "flash mob" heist, "stand down — don't be a hero."
He added: "These guys are dangerous."
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