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Thousands of iPad Minis Were Stolen from the Airport Hangar in Goodfellas

If your'e going to steal an iPad, do it right. Don't gank one of an unsuspecting subway passenger or stash it in your pants before sprinting out of an Apple store. Go to the airport hangar where the expensive little devices are kept after they arrive...

by Adam Estes
Nov 15 2012, 6:15pm

If you’re going to steal an iPad (our lawyers tell us you shouldn’t), do it right. Don’t gank one off an unsuspecting subway passenger or stash it in your pants before sprinting out of an Apple store. Go to the airport hangar where the expensive little devices are kept after they arrive from China’s sweatshops and steal them by the palletful, just like a couple of dudes in New York did on Monday night.

It sounds like a pretty ridiculous heist. According the New York Post‘s exclusive on the crime, two bandits showed up at Building 261, one of JFK airport’s cargo hangars, just before midnight. There was apparently an airport employee who let them in a side door, one of two that wasn’t very closely guarded, and they headed straight for the pallets of iPad Minis that had just arrived from the factory. Using the airport’s own forklift, they loaded two of them onto a truck that said “CEVA” on the side and made run for it. They got away with 3,600 iPad Minis with a total value of $1.5 million. Pretty nice payday, right? Something must’ve spooked the thieves, though, because they left three pallets, another $2.25 million worth of goods, sitting in the hangar.

Does any of this sound familiar? It should, because almost the exact same thing happened in an epic, record-setting heist back in 1978. Instead of iPads—they didn’t exist in the ‘70s, obviously—the crooks lifted $5 million in cash and $900,000 worth of jewelry from the exact same hangar. The suspected mastermind of the robbery, James “Jimmy the Gent” Burke of the Luchese crime family, got away with it after reportedly killing each and every one of his coconspirators. The whole saga was immortalized in Martin Scorcese’s Goodfellas. “Whenever we needed money, we’d rob the airport,” said Ray Liotta’s character in the movie. “To us, it was better than Citibank.”

Lifting a couple pallets of iPads from the airport is hardly the most dramatic Apple heist, either. Earlier this year, a group of thieves smashed a Dodge Intrepid through the front of an Apple store in Kansas City. They were smart, too, because they backed into the store. The previous month, a group of bandits drove a BMW straight through the front of an Apple store in Temecula, California and made off with dozens of iPhones. These guys weren’t so smart, though. They left the front license plate of their luxury SUV in easy view of security camera and then managed to rip the damn thing off while trying to break through the glass, glass that blew out two of the car’s tires as it made its getaway. Police later found the license plate in the rubble. Police quickly found the car’s owner and implicated him in the crime, though his accomplices got away.

Now, stealing iPads and iPhones sure does sound like a lot of fun. But before you go robbing airports or driving cars into Apple stores, remember this one thing: These devices have GPS chips in them. Assuming Apple can match records of the shipments to GPS identifiers, the cops will be coming as soon as you turn one on. (If you know how to launder an iPad, let us know.) But at least, you might get a few seconds of YouTube fame out of the whole thing, though!

Image via Flickr
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