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Apple Store thieves make out like bandits by dressing as employees

Sometimes to beat them, you pretend to join them. Just ask the three thieves who managed to steal a grand total of 67 iPhones from an Apple Store on the Upper West Side of New York City, and another 19 from a SoHo location. Their method? Mimicry. By donning the same outfits worn by actual Apple store employees, the robbers were able to abscond with tens of thousands of dollars worth of iPhones. Guess uniformity isn’t always a good thing.

According to the New York Post, the burglars actually hit the Upper West Side location twice in the past month, first stealing eight iPhones (worth more than $5,300), then getting bolder still and taking 59 iPhones (worth $44,000). In the first case, the Post notes that “a male cohort distracted the real workers, while another acted as a lookout during the heist.” Their female colleague then took care of the actual theft. More recently, sources say, “a man dressed as a worker walked over to the store’s Genius Bar help desk and snatched handfuls of new iPhone 6s from a storage drawer … He handed the batches off to a female accomplice hiding out in a nearby bathroom, where she stuffed them into a duffel bag.” Again, the third member of the party served as a guard.

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Unfortunately, the iPhones in questions were neither sensor tagged nor locked, so the shoplifters may be able to access the devices.

The  shirts that helped make the robberies possible were introduced in 2015. The uniforms, which Apple calls “Back to Blue… But All New,” are a series of blue shirts that, of course, all look somewhat similar to one another, making it easy for others to blend in.

Genius? Or just taking advantage of Apple’s branding?