Stealing from Apple Store


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 26, 2009
My girlfriend and I were at the Apple store today Boxing day looking for a new iPhone case and a Mac book.

When we were at the iPhone case section, a white guy (around 40) with a huge jacket walked by and grabbed two Mophie Juice Pack Air off the shelves.

I found it kind of odd because he didn't really look at what he was taking and he was talking on the phone using a cheap Samsung cellphone.

I followed him around the store. He kind of noticed me following him so he walked to the cashier but then suddenly made a sharp turn and walked to the exist. I toldmy girlfriend to tell one of the staffs at the store quickly but the male staff just watched that guy walked away without doing ANYTHING.

He said the security at the mall will take action. TAKE WHAT ACTION?! That guy is "walking" away with $200 items and he didn't do crap?

All I saw is that male staff told another male staff and all they did were standing there and chat. My girlfriend then told another female staff. The female staff just said they weren't allow to leave the store.

Well I think I did my part. It's not that I am losing anything but I just feel that I have the right to do what I have to do. Thenmy girlfriend just looked at me and said, "Is it that easy to steal at Apple store and not get caught? Why are we paying for stuff?". I just laughed. :cool:


macrumors 68000
Aug 6, 2007
Same thing happened to me at Walmart this black friday. people (well just one guy :p) were just walking out with 42" tvs and the alarm was going off, but employees cant chase them out of the store. I guess its protecting the workers though; you never know if they have a gun or something. still, its a shame.


Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
Sometimes they have specific procedures using the mall staff, for dealing with theft, to reduce the chance of a violent encounter that could endanger staff or customers...


macrumors 68020
Jan 22, 2009
Most retail stores operate this way. It's business 101: Cost/Benefit. If a worker goes after a thief, who stole a $200, it can end in two ways: 1. He gets the item back, and saves Apple $200. 2. The thief harms the worker and the worker sues Apple for an unsafe work environment (and gets thousands).

Basically, Apple (and all retailers) would much rather have someone steal some items than have a worker attacked, do years in litigation, settlements, and deal with the horrible press.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 26, 2009
This and also the chance that the Apple Store employee alerted Mall Security on the matter.
The staff didn't made any call or anything. We were watching them for a good 5 minutes.

I think FSMBP is right though. It would be better off for someone to steal a few hundreds and save all the trouble. But that will just make people feel stealing is "okay" and that's not a good thing.


macrumors 68000
Aug 26, 2006
Atlanta, GA
My wife used to work at Old Navy, and from the stories she told me, it almost seemed like it was company policy to encourage shoplifting and theft. One could easily, without any questions whatsoever, just pull something off the rack, then go "return" it for cash with no receipt or anything. This happened on an almost constant basis. They also refused to use anti-theft tags. The stories she would tell me would just make me angry, because it was SO easy to prevent. Just don't allow returns without a receipt, and the majority of your problems are solved. Argh.


macrumors 68040
Oct 11, 2006
Minneapolis, MN
Unless the employee sees a person pocketing something they can't do anything. Most stores now also don't let employees follow shoplifters for safety reasons. No to say they don't want to stop shoplifters, but having security take care of it lets them focus on the paying customers and also limits the chance someone will get hurt.


macrumors 601
Aug 14, 2008
Dallas, Texas
Yep, no doubt about it, stealing stinks, especially if you have had the unfortunate experience of being the victim of such a crime. I had a Ti Powerbook stolen from me a few years ago at a trade show. What a painful experience. It just crawls all over you that people think it's okay to take another person's belongings. As Duke said, it's nothing new, but it sure does fire you up when it happens to you. :mad:


macrumors newbie
Mar 21, 2008
Wow, thanks for the heads up about the lax Apple Store security. Going to try my luck at walking out with two Mac Pros! :D

Seriously, that is whack about the mall security not doing jack. They needed Paul Blart to regulate!


macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
Location Location Location
\If a worker goes after a thief, who stole a $200, it can end in two ways: 1. He gets the item back, and saves Apple $200. 2. The thief harms the worker and the worker sues Apple for an unsafe work environment (and gets thousands).
You're mostly right, but shops aren't afraid of being sued by employees for an unsafe work environment if they were to get assaulted. The shops just don't want to deal with the overall trouble of going through the authorities after an assault on store property, nor do they want to reverse the negative impression left on customers if they were to see a physical attack in their store. It's just negative publicity for the shop, and customers may never come back.

There's also the risk of a customer getting injured due to one of their employees springing into action.

Unless the employee sees a person pocketing something they can't do anything.
Even if an employee sees this, they can't do anything. This probably varies by city/province/state/country, but I'm just speaking of my own experiences. It is not "theft" until a person has walked off the shop property without paying for merchandise. As long as the "thief" is still in the shop, an employee can't do anything. After all, other customers are carrying merchandise around the shop and haven't paid for it either. Even if you see someone stuff something inside his pocket, the person has not stolen the item yet. All they're guilty of is suspicious activity, and that's not exactly going to land them in jail.

If a security guard catches someone with merchandise in his pocket, the most they can do is take him/her to a backroom and scare that person. This will only work if the potential "thief" doesn't know what I just mentioned, and thinks he's guilty of theft.


macrumors 68040
Oct 11, 2006
Minneapolis, MN
I also remember in my younger years when I would heist stuff I got busted stealing something really stupid, like an $8 key chain. The store employee followed me out of the store and grabbed me around the neck and started trying to fight me. My misdemeanor shoplifting charge trumped by the felony assault charges against the store employee. Because of this my case was dropped, and the employee fired. I have a feeling that companies like Apple might see something like that as bad PR.


macrumors 65816
Feb 11, 2008
So if you were an employee of Apple you would take the chance of being killed for $200 worth of non apple merchandise? I'd say the employees were smart. Let the guys that get paid for the dangerous stuff handle it, otherwise, Apple can afford it.


macrumors 6502a
Mar 25, 2009
obviously they have security cameras and can go after the guy if they feel its worth the time and effort, which they might not.

I used to spend my summers in Aspen and this guy I roomed with one summer told me about his scam at banana republic. heres how it went, the stores in aspen obviously cater to the wealthy, so they dont allow any employee to confront a customer who steals. it's considered kitsch so anyone can just walk in and walk out with as much merchandise as possible. so this jewish kid brought a freakin cello case into banana republic and walked out with something like 3k dollars worth of clothes!


macrumors 6502a
Jan 8, 2009
Well I think I did my part. It's not that I am losing anything but I just feel that I have the right to do what I have to do. Thenmy girlfriend just looked at me and said, "Is it that easy to steal at Apple store and not get caught? Why are we paying for stuff?". I just laughed. :cool:
For the bit I highlighted, you will end up losing out.

The cost of theft from shops will be built into the retailers prices next year. There was a story about it a while back here in the UK, about how the millions of pounds worth of stuff stolen from shops will eventually be recovered from the paying customer.

Abstract is correct regarding watching the person all the way round. I used to do a CCTV/Security job for a supermarket chain in here, and unless the same person watched them all the way round the shop, without breaking visual contact at all, and then watches them walk past the last point of payment (not leave the shop although this is allowed to happen as its easier to do them for shoplifting) they can't stop them. Fortunately over 200 cameras made it easy to keep an eye on everyone, and I was allowed to stop them, where as standard shop floor staff weren't


macrumors 65816
May 31, 2006
New York
Like others have said, most stores have a policy forbidding employees to chase shoplifters. When I worked at a gas station, if we saw people shoplifting, we were supposed to, from a distance, say "I saw you put x item in your left/right pocket, are you going to pay for it?" If they left the store, it was out of our control. But cops came in often enough (they got free drinks) that we'd just let them know what happened.


macrumors 68000
Jan 28, 2009
When I was younger I used to work night-shifts in IKEA basically just unloading trucks and putting the stuff into the Full-Serve area. We had some absolutely shocking stories. IKEA has a policy that if there is a fire in the store they will not evacuate unless it is a threat to the life of the customers. We had constant Code 1000 (fire in the store; generally in staff areas where the heavy machinery works) coming out over the speaker system, but the customers were never informed. Why? If the store is evacuated, there is generally ~£10,000 of stock stolen. We had loads of stuff stolen; somewhere in the region of £7,000 of stock from our store alone per week, but the store was taking well over £250,000 per week, so financially it made more sense just to leave the thiefs alone.

IKEA also could not care less about the amount of stock damaged by staff - we'd have so much heavy lifting and moving to do in one shift I'd say a good several hundred £s per night was destroyed - our line manager just told us to report it as 'damaged in transit' when placing it on the computer system. If we broke something as a staff member there were no questions asked. Working in "Full Serve" area (the bit away from customers, for big stuff like mattresses and wardrobes), we had races every night on pallet jacks and no one ever questioned it. To sum up, I'd assume the Apple Store is similar. Because the store is taking so much money, there's a no questions asked policy about theft, staff damages, customer damages etc. Unless it's having an adverse affect on their store statistics, the higher management couldn't care less.

A bonus story; I had a coworker who'd been in a pretty serious car accident a couple of years before getting a job for 4 hours a week in IKEA. He'd been in an accident caused by the police so they basically funded his life; had a house paid for, a car paid for and also got disability benefits. So he was sorted for life. Anyway, the 4-10am shift was just me, until he came in at 6am til 10am. He had been in a coma for several months following the accident and was *not* right in the head. Really nice guy, but had serious anger issues. I was supposed to be his supervisor, but I just let him get on with it, as he worked pretty hard. We chatted as we worked, and one day he told me he wanted to quit because our manager was a douche (which he was; since got fired for threatening another guy I worked with). I thought fair enough, and on our (unofficial) breakfast break, we wrote his notice so he could hand it in that morning. The douche manager came in at 9am and was discussing this guy leaving. The following occurrence is completely true: (beware, language)

Manager: So, you're leaving us? You'll need to work your 4 weeks notice, so you can leave at the beginning of August.
Guy: Mate, I'm not your f**king slave; I'm leaving today and you'll never f**king see me again or I'll kill you.
Manager: Don't threaten me please. Will you at least do a leaving interview?
Guy: Here's my interview; you're a f**king a**hole and I'm leaving now.
Manager: Suit yourself, but you won't get paid.
Guy: Then use my stolen pay to buy some new sofas.

With this, the guy pulled out his knife (we carried them to open boxes etc, not a safety knife), and I kid you not, SLICED the knife through every single sofa along one of the walls, doing in excess of £4,000 worth of damage. You'll not believe me when I say this;

Reason for the damage: "Damaged in transit". The moral is; there is no one who ever gets held responsible for this stuff --- it just gets pushed further and further up the line, where is eventually just disappears.


Oct 27, 2007
Los Angeles, CA
Someone that I was friends with in high school/undergrad used to steal things all the time even though his family had plenty of cash and he had a credit card that his parents would unquestioningly pay for.

He used to walk out of the LCBO with bottles of alcohol. He used to steal CDs. Stuff like that.

I remember when we were getting ready for our first year of university, he went to Ikea, loaded up his cart with boxes of dressers, night tables, a coffee table, kitchen table, chairs, shelves, etc. and just carted it straight out of the store. He did this a few times I think- he had to furnish his and his roommate's apartment :rolleyes:. I asked him how he got away with it and why he was so confident that he wouldn't get caught, and he said that as long as you look like you know what you're doing (not looking around checking to see if you're being watched), the employees would think you bought the stuff.

Another story about this guy, more related to stealing grades than things: When we were in 2nd or 3rd year, we had an exam in one of our classes (we were in the same major). We were able to get his hands on an old exam (passed down from friends who were a year ahead of us in the same major), and we used it as a study tool (well, I used it as a study aid, he just memorized the exam and hoped for the best). When we sat down to take the exam, the professor was lazy and actually used the same exam, EXCEPT he changed the numbers a little (for example, instead of using 0.96, the prof would use 0.69). My friend didn't notice the changes, and simply regurgitated the old exam solutions onto the exam paper using the old numbers for his calculations. Well, he didn't do very well (a D or something like that), but he went to the professor and convinced him to raise his grade....... and he ended up with an A.

Needless to say, our friendship ended because the differences between our ethics were just too vast.