Thefts of iPhones have been going on as long as there have been iPhones, with thieves taking them from owners' handbags or pockets. But increasingly criminals are snatching them right from an owner's hands, while he or she is using their iPhone—and this is called “Apple picking”.
Here's how “Apple picking” works:
While an iPhone owner is busy using his or her phone—talking, texting, or checking for messages, for example—a thief sneaks up behind the victim and grabs the iPhone from the owner's hands, then runs away. It happens so quickly that victims don't even immediately know what happened, and by the time they do, the thief is gone. In most instances the victim can't even provide a description of the thief to police.
The important thing to remember is that if someone snatches your iPhone like this, do not fight back, contact the police immediately.
For the thief, “Apple picking” pays well. An iPhone is worth about $300.00, maybe more when sold on the black market.
Stolen iPhones are usually sold in flea markets, neighborhood stores, bodegas, laundromats and on some classified advertising web sites.
In addition, because the iPhone was stolen while the owner was using it, the iPhone is available for anyone to use. A thief can reset your password, check your contacts, email and access all your info—which brings up the possibility of identity theft.
“Apple picking” is soaring in New York City, up nearly ten percent this year, with many cases occurring in the Bronx.
Now, two New York State lawmakers, State Senator Jeff Klein (D) and Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz (D) are introducing legislation that, if it becomes law, would require anyone who sells an iPhone to prove that he or she is the legitimate owner—or face fines and possibly jail. Retailers will also have to provide detailed receipts showing the iPhone's serial number (So both customers and police can better track missing iPhones).
The aim of this “Apple picking” legislation is to make it harder to sell stolen iPhones—providing less incentive for stealing them.