Is Apple’s EasyPay too easy?

September 23, 2014, 11:34 AM UTC

“It’s pretty strange to go to a store and scan items yourself, as though you are an employee,” wrote Cult of Mac‘s Leander Kearney when Apple’s innovative self-checkout system was introduced three years ago. “No one paid us much attention. I tucked the case under my arm and we left the store. No one blinked an eye. Satisfied the system works, we went back in and did it again.”

So, allegedly, did Rex Chapman.

According to a booking sheet released Monday, the 12-season NBA veteran and TV color commentator went back in and did it again and again and again.

The former Phoenix Sun guard stole at least $14,270.30 worth of Apple merchandise — mostly headphones — before he was done, prosecutors charge. They say security cameras show Chapman pantomiming payment with the EasyPay iPhone app and walking out the door.

The Phoenix New Times has the blow by blow: (I quote)

433160588540* May 24: Chapman enters the store for a Genius Bar appointment. When the appointment’s finished, he takes three sets of headphones off a shelf, puts them in his backpack and leaves the store without paying for them. Total value: $489.85.

* June 13: Chapman enters the store at about 7 p.m. carrying an Apple bag. He puts a pair of headphones valued at $379.95 in the bag and walks out.

* June 13: Chapman goes back in the store an hour later, again carrying a white Apple bag. He puts three sets of headphones in the bag and leaves. Value: $1,029.85.

* June 14: Chapman sells the $1,400 worth of equipment to North Scottsdale Loan and Gold, 7126 East Shea Boulevard, for $625.

* July 14: Chapman enters the store, places five items worth a total of $2,579.75 in Apple bags.

* July 16: Chapman sells the same five items to the pawn shop for $1,085.

* July 19: Chapman steals five items worth $2,359.75.

* July 20: Chapman sells the five items to the pawn shop for $1,050. (The report contradicts itself here and states that one of the items did not match the five items he allegedly stole on July 19.)

* July 23: Chapman swipes seven items valued at $3,139.65, again putting them in bags.

* July 24: Chapman sells the exact same seven items to the pawn shop for $1,150.

* July 25: Chapman takes seven items valued at $3,919.65. He returns to the shop a short time later and swipes a $600 Monster hard drive.

* July 26: Chapman sells those eight items to the pawn shop for $1,550.

* August 6: Chapman enters the Apple Store just before 3 p.m. and steals two sets of headphones valued at $779.90. Store business manager Mike Dudley sees Chapman take the items and follows him to the parking lot, having recognized the suspect as a former NBA player.

This sequence must have been reconstructed from Apple security cams, because until Dudley recognized Chapman from TV, nobody was paying him any attention.

Chapman was charged last week with five counts of trafficking in stolen property and nine counts of organized retail theft. He was released Saturday on $14,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 30.

Below: A videotape of his arraignment.

UPDATE: While we’re on the Apple Store crime beat, Bloomberg reported Tuesday that three masked gunmen robbed a security van outside Apple’s retail palace on Berlin’s Kurfuerstendamm Saturday afternoon. The van was hauling away a pile of euros that would have been smaller if the crowd of Germans that queued up to buy the new iPhones had used EasyPay — or Apple Pay — instead of cash.

Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple (AAPL) coverage at or subscribe via his RSS feed.