Attention, holiday shoppers! The bad guys are following you

It was supposed to be a special day for my kids.

They couldn’t contain their excitement when we told them we were headed to the Apple Store to pick up three brand-new MacBook Air computers for school. Kari and I had been saving our pennies to replace their aging laptops, and truth be told, we were as thrilled as the children.

But the day ended in disaster. And, according to the police, it could have cost us a lot more than the thousands of dollars we lost in a few short minutes.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travel Insured International -- Travel Insured International is a leading travel insurance provider. For over 25 years, their goal has been to help each individual travel confidently. Some of the major travel insurance benefits provided by in their plans include Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Accident and Sickness Medical Expense, and Baggage and Personal Effects coverage. Plans also include other non-insurance assistance services. In 2015, Travel Insured was acquired by Crum & Forster, whose parent company is Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. The financial strength and core values of the companies give Travel Insured the best position in the market to continue its commitment of helping individuals protect their travel plans. Travel Relaxed…Travel Secure…When you have Travel Insured.

I’m sharing our story with you because, with the holiday shopping season just around the corner, I don’t want this to happen to you.

Yes, it’s embarrassing. I’ll admit from the outset that we could have taken steps to prevent it. But you also deserve to be warned.

It all started on a Sunday afternoon in September, when we headed to the Apple store at the Altamonte Mall in Altamonte Springs, Fla. Every Apple device I’ve purchased in the last decade has come from this store.

Our timing was not ideal. The store was overrun with customers who were waiting in long lines for the new iPhone 6. Lucky for us, there was a separate queue for computer buyers, and an associate helped us quickly. After setting up our preferences, we were on our way — each child happily carrying a new computer out of the mall in a conspicuous “Apple” bag.

From there, we drove to the grocery store to pick up dinner. We were in the store less than 15 minutes. When we returned, someone had pried open the drivers-side door of our 2005 Honda Accord. The trunk was empty.

The MacBooks had vanished into thin air.

“What happened?” our seven-year-old daughter asked me, her eyes welling up with tears.

I explained to her and her brothers that their school computers, which we’d saved for and waited patiently to buy, had been stolen.

But how?

After reporting the crime to the sheriff, we retraced our steps at the Altamonte Mall. We interviewed mall security, an Apple Store manager, and the employees who had helped us buy our computers.

Apparently, a team of career criminals had staked out the Apple Store that Sunday. A spotter was either near the store or in it, tagging potential victims. He or she then phoned or texted an accomplice with a description, who followed us to the grocery store by car.

Once we were inside the grocery store, the thief used locksmith’s tools to gain access to the car.

You’re probably wondering if insurance covered the loss. We have an annual travel insurance policy, but the crime must occur more than 100 miles from your home. My Visa card doesn’t cover items stolen from vehicles. Neither does my car insurance. My homeowners policy covers the computers, but I had to pay a $1,000 deductible.

Is the crime solvable? Maybe. Preventable? Definitely.

We enabled tracking on the devices, so that if they’re turned on we’ll know their location and can report it to law enforcement officials. Apple has the serial numbers, so if the devices turn up, they would theoretically be able to bring the criminals to justice.

But here’s the kicker: A deputy told us this could have ended much, much worse.

See, the felons followed us for 20 minutes, and if we didn’t need groceries, guess where we would have gone? Yep, we were headed home.

When they know where you live, they can do one of two things. They can wait until you leave, and then ransack the house. Or they can confront you in the driveway and demand you hand over the computers. That’s what happened to some Houston-area Apple customers back in 2011.

What if the criminals had followed us back to Winter Springs? Then we might be dealing with more than lost property. One of us could be in the hospital — or worse.

The story had an anticlimactic, but noteworthy, ending. The computers were not recovered and we filed a claim against our homeowner’s insurance policy. The MacBook Airs will probably turn up on eBay.

Was any of this avoidable? Absolutely. We could have been more discreet with our purchases. But it’s hard to tell the kids to not be excited about their new computers.

The mall and the Apple Store might have done a better job, too. The surveillance inside and outside the store wasn’t enough to catch the bad guys on camera. And how about training employees to spot and report this kind of scheme? It’s hard to believe we’re the first victims, or that we’ll be the last.

Will we ever buy another computer from an Apple retail store again? If we do, we’ll be watching our backs to make sure no one follows us.

It sounds paranoid, but it isn’t.

So to those of you heading to the mall before Black Friday, please don’t become victims of this crime. Go window shopping and buy online. If you make a purchase, carry it out of the store discreetly, in a generic bag.

Otherwise, you could end up like us.

Whose negligence was most responsible for this theft?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

116 thoughts on “Attention, holiday shoppers! The bad guys are following you

    1. They were responsible, but I’m sure even Chris agrees that he could have been more vigilant and done a better job of protecting his property. That said, Chris, I’m sorry it happened.

        1. I don’t disagree that the criminals were entirely responsible-but there were steps that Chris agrees that he could have taken to avoid this happening.

  1. Sorry to hear about your loss.

    Are there surveillance cameras at the grocery store or businesses around the grocery store? It could be hard to spot the criminals on video at the mall unless they were really stupid like pointing at you or etc.

    It could be very unlikely in your situation but is a possibility…that it could be an inside job…someone from a store could text their buddies outside that someone just purchased three MacBook Air computers.

      1. And, the other problem is that, in all honesty, the police have bigger fish to fry than stolen computers. Now, if they had followed you to your house and stolen the computers there with any sort of violence, then the police might make it more of a priority. I’m not blaming the police at all. The police force is so overwhelmed that they can only try to “solve” so many crimes in a days’ time. I say this because I have close friends who are police officers and it is a thankless job for not near enough pay. And, there is way too much crime, period!

        1. The willingness of police to respond to property crimes is an important selling point for homes around where I live. I live in a fairly small community that has a high number of law enforcement. Some of the neighboring cities/communities have other issues. There’s one nearby area that has almost as much population as where I live, but only one patrol officer dedicated to the area, operating out of a sheriff’s dept substation miles away. They also get occasional CHP patrols for traffic.

          I’ve heard that there’s been some issues along the border of Oakland, California and the enclave of Piedmont, California. The areas of Oakland near Piedmont are actually quite nice, but the police department doesn’t have very good response times because so much of their resources are devoted to handling the violent crime in the bad parts of town, as well as budget cuts. It’s gotten to the point where some residents have called Piedmont to request police services. They might occasionally answer a call for mutual aid, but they simply won’t respond to an Oakland call and have to be firm that they don’t do it.

      1. Merchants routinely use bags with their logo plastered over them. I guess if someone steals from the customer it’s that merchant’s fault as well.

        1. More that if you sell a very expensive product, like laptops, maybe screaming I HAVE EXPENSIVE ITEMS IN MY BAG with the Apple logo on it isn’t a great idea.

    1. Apple should start by changing the packaging or at least, the bags people are sent out of the store with.
      Secondly, it is a tech company that enables creeps to spy on kids in their bedrooms through the webcams…they can’t put a camera over the doors?

  2. From the article, ‘Know your credit card purchase protection plan’ (wwwcreditcardscom/credit-card-news/credit-card-purchase-protection-plans-1267php#compare):

    AMEX: Items stolen from a vehicle COULD be covered…was not disclosed in the ‘Not Covered’ items from the above article or on its website, wwwamericanexpresscom/us/content/card-benefits/purchase-protection/faqhtml#6.

    Capital One: Items stolen from a vehicle COULD be covered…can vary by the different cards issued by Capital One.

    Citi: Does not covered items stolen from a vehicle

    USSA: Items stolen from a vehicle COULD be covered…was not disclosed in the ‘Not Covered’ items.

    Wells Fargo: Does not covered items stolen from a vehicle.

    Credit Card Purchase Protection ONLY provides protection within 90 days of the date of purchase so it does not provide long term protection.

    In regards to American Express, AE is the secondary insured, so if you have renter’s, homeowner’s or auto insurance that may cover the loss, you must file with the other insurance first, and American Express will pick up the difference up to the coverage limit.

    1. I generally use my USAA American Express card. Its “Purchase Assurance Coverage” excludes “Items stolen from the interior or exterior of a watercraft/boat, aircraft, motorcycle, automobile or any other motor vehicles.” I don’t drive, but instead use public transportation.

      Taking the USAA exclusion literally, it would seem as though if I were waiting in a subway station, and was the victim of a strongarm robbery, my purchase would be eligible for coverage. But from the moment I step from the platform onto a subway car (each subway car having a motor that propels the car along the track), any strongarm robbery of the purchased item would be excluded. Yet, if I were instead boarding a train pulled (or pushed) by a diesel or electric locomotive, then a strongarm robbery while riding in the car would be covered (since the car itself has no motor but is instead being pulled or pushed by the locomotive).

      I think what the exclusion was meant to cover was the exact situation described in this story. That is, an item stored and left behind in an automobile while the motorist went elsewhere. But to exclude from coverage a physical attack on a person who happens to be in a motorized vehicle seems rather arbitrary, especially when the same type of physical attack on a person standing on a sidewalk would be covered. I don’t understand the reasoning.

  3. “My homeowners policy covers the computers, but I had to pay a $1,000 deductible.”

    One option is to have a rider for your electronics on your homeowners policy. Typically, a rider is 100% replacement – no deductible. You will need to determine if the extra cost is worth paying or if you are willing to assume the risk of your deductible.

  4. So Chris, why didn’t you order them online?

    The apple store in this case should have advised you, but then the store would essentially have to close. Who is going to buy a product and risk a home invasion or robbery? They will just save the gas and all the other expense and order online.

    I am very happy that this incident didn’t turn out worse for you and everyone was safe.

      1. I wasn’t trying to be belittling, you’re literally the worlds smartest consumer, so I really am interested in knowing “why” you didn’t order online? Was it loyalty to the store, the family shopping trip experience (time with the wife and kids), was their a secondary benefit for the kids?

          1. And I do support your going into a store and supporting local jobs. Shame that this had to happen.

          2. I don’t see that you did anything imprudent by not ordering online. There are pros and cons to availing yourself of different purchasing channels. In this case, by purchasing at the store, you could make a visual inspection of what you were buying.

          3. And Apple offers setup help and options when you buy in person. While these are possible when you order for delivery, you still have to make the trip to the store with your computer. Doesn’t solve the problem if there are crooks staking out the place.

          4. For a few years I drove around on weekends with $100K in $10s and $20s the trunk of my car and a gun tucked in my pants. Now THAT makes you nervous. And try explaining to a cop when you get pulled over.

            I was working for a bank where I was responsible for filling ATMs on the weekends. The money all in convenient piles that could easily be slammed into the ATM so I was exposed for a limited amount of time. My car was unattended quite often. But being a junker I was not worried it might get stolen.

          5. At a former job I hired an armored truck service to deposit our cash. Our driver was a guy in a pickup truck with a gun coming daily. He services many businesses in our region. We often handed him $200K to $300K cash during busy time of the year. I was always nervous for him. He took good care of us.

          6. Unless you left the computers out in plain view, IMHO you did nothing wrong. You could not have foreseen being followed to another location.

          7. And there’s also the whole aspect of taking your kids to the store, buying them something fabulous, and making a fun excursion out of it. Hey, I’m a parent…it’s WAY more fun to go to the store, pay the money, and let the kids march out of the mall with their hands on their shiny new laptops. I totally get it.

            This is just a really crappy thing that happened. I hate to have to accept that we live in a world where we CAN’T take our kids to the store and buy shiny new toys for them without having to worry about animals following us home. 🙁

          8. If I go to the mall knowing I will buy something expensive, I make that my last stop so that I leave for home immediately afterwards and I don’t leave tempting goodies in the car. Of course that doesn’t stop a criminal from following me to my house, I guess. I never thought of that.

  5. 5th option – it’s the town’s fault.
    From google search …
    This makes Altamonte Springs a place where there is an above average chance of becoming a victim of a property crime, when compared to all other communities in America of all population sizes. Property crimes are motor vehicle theft, arson, larceny, and burglary.

  6. I’m glad that in my state we can shoot back. There is less confrontational crime because the bad guys have no way of knowing who might be armed. Meanwhile, buy large items online: same Apple Store, same prices.

    1. So what if the criminals waited until the child was going to school before robbing them? Should the child be carrying too?

      1. If the bad guys can stake out your house all night and wait for someone to come out for school/work/shopping, you definitely need to move to the other side of town.

  7. Welcome to my world. Really. And unfortunately.

    Only here it could be a little worst… Instead of waiting you to stop at a grocery shop and open your car without you inside it, they follow you at a motorcycle, and at the first red light you stop, they stop at your side, point a gun and gently ask for your goods…

        1. So, carry a can of WD-40 with the integral spout, and a reliable cigarette lighter. Cold shot to the face with the second shot ignited. OR carb cleaner; same procedure. Or starting fluid, same. Legitimate reasons to have these in the car.

          1. I wish it was so easy. Usually they work in pairs, the biker’s driver stays at the seat, while the second one points the gun. Any suspicious movement, and he shots with no second thoughts.

            You don’t have this kind of violence in USA, neither in the movies. A friend of mine just reported at Facebook that she was coming home from the beach, and because of the traffic jam, all the cars literally stopped at the road. Coming from nowhere, a large gang started to steal all the cars. They didn’t robbed her because her car is armored, but she saw several people loosing their wallets, mobiles, etc.

          2. Pity. If you got yourself a gun, the govt would probably treat you worse than they would treat the criminals….. Just like in NYC….
            And, they make some very good firearms there in Brasil….

  8. Sorry to hear about this. There are just too many people in the world who would rather steal for a living than work. Glad it was only material things that were lost.

    Something to think (worry) about though. Many people keep insurance cards and other things in their vehicle with home addresses on them While it is doubtful the crooks took the time to look for these things in this case, it would be best if people did not leave these things in their car.

    1. Excellent point, MarkK. Hubby & I found (non-obvious) places in our cars where the insurance cards could be hidden. Get in your car and look … they’re there.

      1. My insurance company now provides proof of insurance and other required documents without your home phone or address on them. Much better.

      2. The State requires that the registration be in the car. It’s a LARGE paper – too big for a wallet. I keep mine in the trunk in a zip bag.

      1. We get duplicate insurance cards for each car, so we do carry one card (for our own car) in our wallets; but occasionally we drive each other’s vehicle, so we don’t have the insurance card for that car on our person. So we resorted to finding hiding places in the cars for the appropriate insurance cards.

  9. I am very sorry this happened to you. However, I do not feel you should
    be listed as one of the choices of who is at fault. And neither should
    the store nor the mall, really. I hate that things have shifted to where
    we have started blaming the victims for the crimes of others. And I
    don’t understand why you would be embarrassed – you were robbed and
    violated. You saved up the money, took your kids out to buy new
    computers for school, encouraged their enthusiasm…. yeah, what a
    crappy dad. You should make shame. Thank you for you putting this
    experience out there so the rest of us can be warned.

    1. That is what I was thinking…a flea market or Craig’s List…probably Craig’s list because it is harder to track down the seller (most organized flea markets require registrations. sales tax permits, etc.) after the buyer discovered that the laptop was stolen.

  10. The poll asked for the negligent party. The thief was deliberate and proactive, not negligent. Hmmmm. Would the homeowners insurance company drop the policy next year over this incident, even though it was a forced entry breakin?

  11. Sorry to hear about the loss.

    The mall and the Apple Store might have done a better job, too. The surveillance inside and outside the store wasn’t enough to catch the bad guys on camera. And how about training employees to spot and report this kind of scheme? It’s hard to believe we’re the first victims, or that we’ll be the last.

    That’s a bit much. Apple is supposed to be responsible for criminals OUTSIDE their store? They are taught to sell their merchandise and protect their assets. Protecting the surrounding community is asking for a lot.

    1. If this type of theft is a pattern, it would be smart to go the extra mile to protect your customers… and keep them coming back to the store.

      1. Maybe so, but you’d probably need to catch the criminals to determine their targets. Do they only go after Apple customers? Best Buy customers? Any big store shoppers? At best you’d need multiple stores to contribute to the extra security (which may or may not work as the crimes are committed off-site).

    2. Las Vegas casinos certainly take the security of customers outside their premises seriously. They absolutely rely on customers feeling that they can walk down the street with thousands of dollars in cash without worrying about being robbed.

      1. Casino security ends at the property line. While casinos don’t want anything bad to happen to their customers, they can’t enforce laws on public streets. They only work with LVPD to catch criminals on their property, that’s it.

        1. However, if someone is robbed in a parking garage/lot or there’s suspicion that a customer was followed from the casino property, they will scour security cameras to identify suspects. Their cameras are also pointed to the sidewalks, so they’ll go over those if they need to.

          I suspect that a shopping center wouldn’t go through those lengths.

          1. Yes, but that’s still on their property. In Chris’ example, the crime didn’t occur until many miles (and minutes) later. All security would have seen is people leaving the mall at the same time (or soon after) Chris. Good luck trying to identify the criminals.

          2. Again, I don’t believe shopping center security would go through those lengths. They’d probably just say it’s out of their hands if someone wasn’t robbed on property. Casino security would go a long way to try identify suspects and work with police and possibly security where the robbery took place..

  12. I’m sorry for the trauma to you and your kids, Chris. While issues like this have no easy answers, I’m going to have to vote that the mall bears some responsibility, particularly since this was a recurring issue. Malls bring vendors and customers together. That’s their job. And they have security, which means they’re assuming a role in protecting those vendors and customers. Since the mall was aware that this was happening, I would expect them – at the very least – to cooperate with law enforcement and get the proper surveillance equipment and security personnel to combat it.

  13. Whenever something like this happens we always look to blame someone. It would never occur to me that someone could be watching me make a big purchase at a Apple store and I would be watched and followed. Never.

    Really cute kids. Putting things in perspective, they are far more important than three new laptops but it still sucks. We all move on from these things and put them down to experience.

  14. I didn’t realize those were your actual kids, I thought they were stock photos. They are just totemo kawaii, your wife has extremely good genes.

  15. When I took my wife to pick up her new iPhone, I wore my gun on my hip. Not because of thieves in the mall, but because this has been a problem in Houston for awhile. It’s a network of scum. I was hoping to encounter one of them just to make an example of him–DRT.

  16. You just got unlucky. You know there’s been times in your life when you took unnecessary or stupid risks and came out unscathed, and there are times when you do everything right and misfortune falls upon you.

    The only way this crime could have been prevented is having TSA style checkpoints at the entrances to all parking lots. 😉

  17. The details of this story would suggest either a very large operation or possibly an inside job. I’d be curious if anybody at the Apple store asked Christopher’s family if they were taking the computers home right away to try them out or something similar. (The alternative being they had somebody in the store listening in on people’s conversations.)

    Most crooks like this probably aren’t going to break into houses, so their ideal mark would be somebody making another stop after buying the computers. But without any other info they have no idea if you’re going to stop on the next corner or if it’s a 30-minute drive to your house. They’d REALLY like to know you were making another stop to avoid wasting their time following you. I suppose with a big enough crew they could afford to go on some wild goose chases, but it still would seem like they were likely either getting some help or had somebody in the store listening in.

  18. Browsing brick and mortar and then buying online is a pretty good recipe to follow to have fewer brick and mortar stores to browse in.

    Why not just avoid buying trendy electronics on the same day or week that trendier electronics are released?

  19. I hate the “Monday morning Quarterbacking” of blaming the victim. I was sorry to hear the victim’s story. The best part of this discussion is the reader’s opportunity to learn from other’s experiences. We should just add the awareness to all the other things we’ve learned on Elliott’s website, dealing with hotels, reservations, photographing car scratches, etc.

  20. i have to vote for “the mall”.

    i work at a target and if you go to the yelp page there is a story about a woman who’s car was broken in to in parking lot F.

    I was there when she came in crying and screaming. she cried and screamed even louder when our security informed her – Target does not technically own ANY of the parking lots, so there is no security coverage AT ALL.

    it was the 5th time such a break in happened, and for a while the building manager hired a separate security guard (meaning ONE) to patrol that lot. then when we did not have a break in, in a month he was suddenly no longer there.

    this article reminds me so much of her story, because on yelp, she posted that she held target so responsible, she contacted the target ceo. (needless to say she has yet to hear back from him….)

  21. This kind of thing happens every Christmas at malls all over the country. The fact that it happened to you after going to an Apple store in this particular incident is merely coincidence.

  22. The last time I bought an Apple product was at a Target store, where I placed it in an ordinary paper bag (cost 10 cents though). I think any thief would be hard-pressed to know that it was anything pricey unless they station someone inside the store, and in that case the cameras will be watching them and security will notice who is constantly near the electronics dept.

    In any case, it’s not that difficult for Apple to “brick” a product that is reported stolen and to relay location information to their servers. A device is generally useless these days unless it can connect to the internet, and then once that happens it will complete the disabling process. They make sure that their authorized dealers keep track of products by serial number. The lost prototype iPhone 4 incident in 2010 included Apple disabling the phone by the next day.

    1. But not buying directly from the Apple Store is like going to a crude facsimile of a church rather than attend at the Vatican.

      1. Love Apple products and use them, but I don’t recall ever buying a major piece of hardware at an Apple Store. I think I bought a mouse once and maybe some accessories. I kind of like them, but it’s not a religious experience for me. I’ve actually gotten rebates buying Apple products from Amazon and Target threw in a $50 gift card, which effectively served as a discount.

        If I were to buy anything major at an Apple Store, I’d probably do it during my lunch break and bring it back into the office before taking it home at the end of the day. I suppose someone might just follow me home after work, but I doubt anyone would loiter around the parking lot at work, especially with a security guard walking around.

  23. Sorry that happened but glad you weren’t hurt. Learned this lesson about 15 years ago, it isn’t just Apple stores they lurk around.

  24. I can’t vote in this poll because I limit myself to only voting once per day. Jokes aside, I am so sorry Chris. This is horrible, but I am glad it happened at a store and not at your home I honestly don’t know who to vote for. You could have been more careful, but you shouldn’t have to be more careful and I doubt you were announcing your laptops to the worked and drawing attention to yourself. If the mall knew about this, they should have been on the lookout. Same for Apple. The grocery store should have also had cameras. Mainly though, I think the criminals are responsible. Seriously, if they put this much effort into learning an working, they could get a job and make money and use it to buy Apple products if they so wished. I just dont’ understand the criminal perspective.

    As a side note, I was in an apple store around a similar time getting my phones battery replaced under a recall. I waited in the non-iPhone 6 line, and a guy behind me asked if he could skip the line because he was going to buy 15 brand new mac book pros. They told him no. He argued about how he shouldn’t have to wait in line because he was going to give them thousands of dollars. They still told him no. When he was finally in, he kept announcing very loudly that he wanted 15 new mac book pros as if he wanted the whole world to know. I though he was just looking for attention, but wow, maybe he was looking to get robed, or maybe it was an undercover sting operation. I was out the door before he actually purchased them, so who knows what happened.

    1. ” I can’t vote in this poll because I limit myself to only voting once per day”

      Definitely not from Chicago then…

  25. Wow – how cruel and heartless of the criminals, if they tailed you out of the store and knew exactly whose MacBooks they were stealing! Apples needs to disable those computers so that the recipients won’t benefit from the fruits of the thieves’ labor and if those recipients bring them into an Apple Store for servicing . . . .

  26. I’ve been a long-time reader of your column but never commented before. I had to add my thoughts on this story because it hits so close to home, in more ways than one. I also live in Winter Springs, and I’ve purchased Apple products from that same store. About a year ago, when I made my latest purchase, which was a laptop and other hardware, the employee did tell me a similar story and advised that I should go straight home. While I agree it’s even more disturbing to think that the crooks would know where I live (didn’t consider that at the time), at least one Apple employee did take the time to warn me about this issue. I’m sorry this happened to you. Hopefully justice (or at least karma) will catch up to them.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment. This is very troubling. As a postscript, a supervisor called me to see if there was anything he could do (other than to gratefully accept another $2,600 from us). Touching. He insisted there had only been one other incident like this in the recent past. I now believe he was not being completely honest.

      1. I dug back through my e-mailed receipts from Apple. I purchased a MacBook Pro, Mac Mini and Apple TV on November 29, 2013 (Black Friday, no less). So my estimate was close – it was almost a year ago, and since it was the start of the holiday shopping season I suppose the employee felt it was important to warn me about this. It’s a shame the store doesn’t respond more proactively to this situation, but I’m not qualified to suggest improvements.

      2. Nobody should be untruthful with you, so no excuse for that. However, from a prevention standpoint, this would be extremely hard for the store to catch if it was a large and clever pack of crooks. It’d be very easy for the thieves to cycle a few people through the store to avoid detection. All they’d need to do is overhear somebody talking about their next stop on the way out of the store, then they just see what car they need to follow. And that’s assuming they cared what they were stealing and wanted to concentrate on the most likely marks. If they weren’t that picky they could just sit in the parking lot and trail people who had several bags, just hoping they made a stop on the way home.

      3. One way to find out is to look at the police reports to see if the supervisor from the Apple store was being honest with you or not.

  27. As painful as it was for me to click “ours” in the poll, I did click it because if you have to pick who, among the three entities listed, was most responsible for preventing this crime, it was you…mainly by not going there during a busy time, and by not making it obvious you were leaving the store with expensive purchases.

    But I want you to know that I don’t consider you “negligent”, or even responsible. You are victims. You behaved as any other consumer would behave upon buying something fun. And your kids did nothing wrong in acting excited about their new computers.

    I’m so sad that this happened to you. And I’m so relieved it happened at the store!

    Thanks for the important lesson. It’s too easy to forget that animals like this exist out there, ready to prey on innocent children. But they do.

    I hope the rest of your holiday season goes better!

  28. In Honda Accord, the interior latch for opening the trunk can be locked with the car key.

    Expensive items such as laptops should have been put inside the trunk – which was the case – and the trunk latch should have been locked, so even if someone gets access to the inside of the car, he won’t be able to open the trunk.

    1. The doors were locked and the computers were in the trunk. They used a slim jim or something like it to force the door open and then opened the trunk. We had to replace the lock, since they broke it. The good news? The $200 repair bill, combined with the value of the computers, ensured the thieves (if they’re ever caught) would be charged with a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

      1. I mean, the latch for the trunk next to the one for gas tank beneath the driver seat can be locked (in mine atleast), so if someone force open the car door he cannot open the trunk as the latch is locked

        1. A determined thief would probably have a crowbar. It takes less skill than trying to pop open the door, but it’s brute force.

          I don’t put things in the trunk with any idea that it’s really possible to secure the contents. It’s better to be aware of who may be following you.

          1. I was just trying to say Chris could have locked the latch so as to make it a little difficult for thief to access the trunk, which might be enough to save laptops.

            Yes, a determined thief would even go as far as carjack.

          2. Some thieves aren’t willing to go beyond mere property crimes. Unlocking a car door and popping the trunk release isn’t much different than using a crowbar. They’re attempts to commit the crime quickly and efficiently.

            Thieves are usually trying to escape detection. Carjacking is also pretty dangerous for the thief, as some victims have been known to run over the carjacker. I’d also note that Florida is a state where it’s pretty easy to obtain a concealed-carry weapon permit.

    2. Thank you for that info about the Honda Accord…I have one and never knew or just never really paid attention to that feature, I will be locking the interior latch from now on.

  29. The quantity and dollar value of your purchase made you and your family a more satisfying target than the customer who only bought one item. I’m also presuming that Apple graciously put each computer in its own bag so that each of your children could have the joy of carrying their own computer. It could have been worse — they could have grabbed them from your children in the mall.

  30. I guess the bottom line is that they did not follow you home and that’s a good thing. My heart goes out to your kids for having to learn such a nasty lesson so young, but at least you’re all safe. My first thought was help from your credit card company, but I suppose the fact that the computers were in the car complicates things just enough so nobody will cover the loss.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: