Apple's stock is currently in a "death cross" pattern.
Photograph by Zhang Peng — LightRocket via Getty Images
By Don Reisinger
December 9, 2016

An Apple Store in Berkeley, Calif., was robbed in just 12 seconds last month, but would-be thieves might want to think twice about taking on the technology giant.

In a video published to YouTube recently, two separate robberies are shown at the Apple Store. In both cases, a group of thieves walks in the store’s front door with hoodies on and what appears to be masks covering their faces. They snatch iPhones left on the desks towards the front of the store and run off. In the second clip, a person entering the Apple Store holds the door shut to keep the thieves inside, but he’s eventually pushed aside and they take off.

According to the video, which was earlier reported on by CNET, the two incidents occurred on Nov. 25 and Nov. 29. The suspects haven’t been identified, but local police hope the public can help them figure out who might have stolen the thousands of dollars in Apple (AAPL) products. A report in local news outlet Berkeleyside says the Apple Store on Fourth Street in Berkeley was robbed earlier in November, a total of three robberies in just nine days.

Apple Stores might be viewed at first blush as easy targets for thieves. The stores are generally wide open and simple to enter and exit. They also display exceedingly expensive (and popular) devices on tables for anyone to pick up and try to steal. Best of all, the popularity of these gadgets could make them appealing in black-market sales, where the thieves might try to make some cash on their bounty.

Ironically, Apple has perhaps made it easier for its products to be stolen. In October, the company held an event at its redesigned London Regent Street store where it talked up the fact that the iPhones weren’t tethered to the tables they’re sitting on. Apple said at the time in an interview with CNET that it decided against the tether so customers could pick up its handsets and feel what it’s like to hold them as if they already owned the devices.

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It appears from the videos that the iPhones stolen in Berkeley also weren’t tethered to the tables, making it easier for the thieves to run off with them.

Still, Apple has a secret weapon that could make stealing products from its stores an exercise in futility. As part of its theft-prevention features, Apple can place stolen devices in Lost mode, turning off all their functions and rendering them useless. Thieves, then, are walking off with bricks that aren’t operational.

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Whether thieves sell the devices to others under the pretense that they’re operational, however, is unknown.

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