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Precision thieves

As wrong and illegal as “smash and grab” theft is, I have to admit to a grudging respect for the skill and precision with which these thieves managed to despoil a sanctum sanctorum of computing, an Apple Store in New Jersey:

Yikes. All in all, they took they took 23 Macbook Pros, 14 iPhones and nine iPod Touches, all in 31 seconds flat.

If only these thieves hadn’t put their ambition and skills to such an illegal and immoral use…

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

28 replies on “Precision thieves”

I just installed Snow Leopard on my Macbook Pro. 😀

The stores near where I live have kensington locks on their macbooks. I’m guessing these guys could have easily cut them, but I still think it’s a good idea for a store not to make it this easy for criminals.

it is possible to respect the persons exceptional professionalism while disproving of their profession. Like train robbers of old, this group was very good and coordinated but still crooks.

Really quite a display of their craft.

Skill? Just a little coordination. The boss was smart enough to make sure everyone in the crew had seen the store, and then assign each to a different and known line.

The stores near where I live have kensington locks on their macbooks. I’m guessing these guys could have easily cut them, but I still think it’s a good idea for a store not to make it this easy for criminals.

Indeed. It at least would have slowed the thieves down…

Just breaks your heart to see an Apple store defiles (desecrated?) in such a manner. And to think they are probably pawing and groping those poor, innocent macbook pros even as I write this. I think I’m going to be sick…

I suspect that if they look at surveilance video for the past several weeks, they will find them. With so many individuals they only have to find one or two to get a line on the rest. Some of the clothing did have distinctive marks. I noticed a white spot on one pair of jeans.

Sorry, that was damn impressive and all, but I would only really get excited if it was only one guy.

I also agree with everyone above that this Apple store almost seems to be begging for a smash and grab. No security grates? No Kensington locks? Non-shatterproof glass? One security guard, most likely unarmed? Jesus, why don’t you just leave the computers in a pile by the front door?

Looks like little more than a simple pre-planned theft. Looking at what they stole – it’s 4 or 5 laptops per individual, and about as many ipods. Not all that impressive?

BTW, just out of curiosity, who is H*appeh? And why does he apparently get banned often enough to make it almost rote?

H*ppeh is good old fashioned deranged.

The only other future for these kids was probably McDonalds. But at least the service there will be quick and coordinated which would make a nice change 😉

The stores near where I live have kensington locks on their macbooks. I’m guessing these guys could have easily cut them, but I still think it’s a good idea for a store not to make it this easy for criminals.

They’re all supposed to, it’s corporate policy (though relatively recent). And no, they couldn’t have “easily” cut them – it takes bolt cutters and a good bit of leverage. Not something you can do in less than a few seconds each, which would have given the guard time to respond. Though unless he was armed, that might not have meant much.


That was actually my point. I have a kensington lock for my own Macbook Pro. The wire is very thin, and even though I haven’t tried cutting it, I suspect that it wouldn’t take more than one good cut with a bolt cutter. I guess it depends on how you define easily. If you have a bolt cutter it would be easy to steal a macbook. It would have made anything like this heist impossible as they would need one person to cut the locks for each person carrying laptops and much more time per macbook. They would have gotten away with far fewer, and would probably not have bothered in the first place.

“Defiled”? “Desecrated”? Heh… Mac really is a cult. This should barely be local news.

I have bolt cutters. Cutting a Kensington lock would be be like cutting string with scissors.

I’m betting that anyone buying more than two MacBook power supplies at a time in the next few weeks will get just a little bit of extra scrutiny.

Was Tickle Me Happeh turning himself/herself in for the robberies, or for being an object of ridicule, or for something else?

None of these guys seem to be wearing gloves.

As with bank robberies, anyone can get away with it once. Maybe not Tickle Me Happeh – when TMH starts slapping TMH’s legs, laughing, and falling down, it can be distracting, but eventually someone will arrest the high pitched red dude/non-dude. Maybe TMH’s Mickey Rooney impression from Breakfast at Tiffany’s will be TMH’s undoing.

The problem for successful thieves, is stopping before being caught. That is assuming that one of them doesn’t get caught doing something else and turn in the rest to get a lighter sentence. As with anti-science people, they start to believe that there is something special about them, that they cannot get caught. By the end of the month, I expect that they will be arrested. The police will go out of their way to make an example of these guys.

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