Authorities bust iPhone theft ring in Fort Lauderdale

More than $500,000 worth of property stolen from Galleria Mall Apple store

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The Fort Lauderdale Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service arrested seven people it claims are part of grand theft ring that teamed up to target the Apple store inside the Galleria Mall.

Officers said six of the suspects are employees at the Apple store and one man is an employee at a Best Buy. They said together the suspects devised a scheme to steal more than $500,000 worth of property from Apple.

According to detectives, the ring leader of the group, Devon Persad, would contact Sean Flynn at Best Buy, and he would provide a list of serial numbers for iPhones in Best Buy's inventory.

The Apple employees would then select a serial number off the list and associate it to the phone being exchanged. The exchanged iPhones were later discovered to be locked and/or stolen.

Detectives said the Apple employees used the serial numbers provided by Flynn because Apple's system would not allow a swap to be processed on a phone that was locked through the Find my iPhone App or reported stolen.

Detectives said there are still others they are looking for who would pose as customers, and would bring in stolen iPhones to be swapped out for new unlocked ones.

Detectives said some of the suspects claimed they were paid between $45 and $75 for each transaction, and said there were close to 600 fraudulent iPhone exchanges made during the scheme.

If you have any information about the theft ring, call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.

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