Prosecutors Charge 27 ID Thieves Targeting Apple Stores

Apple Theft RingNew York prosecutors announced Wednesday that a criminal ring of 27 people have been charged with buying stolen credit card numbers and using homemade credit cards to purchase Apple products from Apple Stores around the country. Prosecutors said the ring had purchased more than US$1 million in gear in this manner, and then fenced that gear through Brooklyn fences.

According to Reuters, the ring bought the stolen credit card numbers through syndicates operating out of Eastern Europe. They then used equipment to make false credit cards with those numbers, and those credit cards were used to buy Apple gear.

Apple computers and its other devices have a markedly higher resale value on the used market than PCs and smartphones from other companies, and Apple (and third party Mac resellers) has often been the target of burglaries for this reason. This is, however, the first organized ID theft criminal ring that we’ve heard about targeting the company.

NPR reported that police seized some $300,000 in cash, multiple bank accounts, and three guns during the investigation. That report also mentioned that the enterprise was so successful that some members split off to form their own branch operation.

Now, however, they’re in jail, awaiting trial.