Theft Technique of “Apple-Picking” Reported in Orlando

With new technology, thieves discover new ways to specialize in stealing, and “Apple-picking” has become one of the newest ways for thieves to work an old trade. Within an hour on Saturday night, Orlando police had reports from five women who had their smart phones stolen from their purses at the Roxy Club. This new trend of theft has thieves snatching Apple smart phones out of women’s purses in crowded places like bars, clubs or concerts. The name “Apple-picking” originated from the action of thieves walking through a crowd unnoticed, and lifting smartphones from purses.

This is exactly what Mehdi Ari and Paula Castro were doing Saturday night. They were working through the crowd inside, and Ari would snag the iPhone out of the purses, then passing it on to Paula to conceal in her bag. Apple-picking and smart phones have become a global crime in recent years. In the U.S. alone, NY State Attorney General Eric Sneiderman reports that 113 smart phones are stolen or lost every minute.

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The U.S. is presently working with London where it is reported that 10,000 smart phones are stolen every month. Secure Our Smartphones is an initiative that has been started this year so that this crime can be addressed at both the national and international level.

Orlando Police recently found a video on Facebook that has many comments attached to it, verifying that Apple-picking is growing in the establishments in the downtown district. Now, most of these thefts go unreported, so it is difficult to catch the criminals. One woman reported that she had two phones stolen in three months, and it appears that the thieves like to target bars and nightclubs.

Ari and Castro were caught within hours after they were reported Apple-picking at Roxy Club, and they both have been charged with grand theft. Orlando Police are now investigating another video that shows a man Apple-picking in the same way at Whisky Dicks, another downtown establishment. The stolen phones at the Roxy Club were reported quickly, so law enforcement was able to apprehend and arrest the criminals with a few hours.