In an unusual incident that took place in China, authorities recently apprehended a woman for attempting to steal an iPhone 14 Plus, valued at 7,000 yuan (approximately $823), from an Apple store. What made this heist stand out was her audacious approach, as she quite literally sank her teeth into the store’s anti-theft measures.
The woman, identified as Ms. Qiu from Fujian province in southeastern China, was caught on surveillance cameras leaning over the display counter, casually touching the coveted device. What followed was a stunning act of theft as she calmly chewed through the security cable that held the phone in place. Once the cable was severed, she quickly concealed the phone in her bag and left the store.
Unbeknownst to her, store employees soon noticed the missing iPhone and the visibly chewed cable, triggering an alarm. Unfortunately, the staff failed to notice the alarm as they approached Ms. Qiu, who pretended to be an ordinary customer engrossed in using the stolen phone.
The true audacity of Ms. Qiu’s actions only became apparent after she left the store. Store personnel reviewed the surveillance footage, leading them to notify the authorities. Remarkably, within just 30 minutes of the theft, Ms. Qiu was apprehended outside her residence.
It’s worth noting that the iPhone 14 series had been launched in India the previous year, featuring models like the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max. While the iPhone 14 shared some similarities with its predecessor, the 2021 iPhone 13, the Pro models of the iPhone 14 came with significant improvements, including a more powerful processor and the widely discussed dynamic island notch design.
Ms. Qiu informed the police that her initial intention was to buy a new device at the store after losing her phone. However, upon seeing the prices, she opted to steal one instead. She is currently in custody pending further investigation.
This story has left online observers in China astounded. One online commenter remarked, “She certainly has strong teeth,” while another questioned, “Doesn’t she know there are security cameras everywhere?”
It’s worth noting that peculiar theft stories often gain popularity online in mainland China. In a recent incident earlier this month, a mother in southwestern China stole her daughter’s admission documents to a prestigious drama university to prevent her from enrolling and leaving home. In 2018, thieves in southern China managed to steal more than six million yuan (US$823,000) worth of jewelry from a shop by tunneling from the basement of another shop.
Certainly, people have come up with some bizarre and creative ways to attempt theft. Here are a few notable examples:
Some individuals have tried to steal valuable items by hiding inside large suitcases or bags, hoping to be carried out of stores or facilities unnoticed. There have been cases where thieves trained animals, such as pigeons or monkeys, to snatch valuables from unsuspecting victims in public places. Thieves have disguised themselves as employees or service personnel to gain access to secure areas and steal items. This includes dressing as utility workers, delivery personnel, or even janitors.
In heists reminiscent of movie plots, some criminals have attempted to gain access to buildings by climbing through ventilation systems, ducts, or even narrow crawl spaces. In a ruse to divert attention, some thieves have faked medical emergencies or accidents to create chaos and steal items while bystanders are distracted.
In a desperate attempt to avoid detection, individuals have been known to swallow or insert stolen jewelry, small electronics, or other valuables into their bodies. Thieves have posed as event staff or attendees to steal from large gatherings like concerts, festivals, and sporting events. Criminals have used disguises ranging from costumes to theatrical makeup to conceal their identities while committing theft.
With the rise of consumer drones, criminals have used them to fly over fences or into restricted areas to steal items, often evading traditional security measures. Thieves sometimes work in teams, with one member creating a distraction, such as a staged argument or commotion, while another steals valuables.
These examples highlight the creativity and audacity that some individuals exhibit when attempting to steal, often pushing the boundaries of what one might consider conventional theft methods.