Brazen thieves steal 18 new iPhones in South Beach, police say

Detectives warn Apple customers about possibility of targeted heists

By Todd Tongen - Anchor/Reporter, Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

SOUTH BEACH, Fla. - The excitement over the debut of the new iPhone XS and XS Max, which went on sale at Apple stores on Friday, was short lived for a group of tourists from Chile in South Beach.

After standing in line and paying a hefty price for 18 new iPhones, the tourist told police officers they left them inside the car to get a quick coffee at Starbucks. They said they were inside the coffee shop for about 10 minutes, but when they returned to the car, the phones were gone. 

According to Miami Beach Police Department Detective Ernesto Rodriguez, a thief smashed the car's two windows about 11 a.m., in a highly transited area near Lincoln Road. The 18 new iPhones were valued at over $18,000. 

"Our crime scene technicians are actually dusting for prints, lifting for any prints," Rodriguez said. "At the same time, we have detectives scouring this area for video."

Despite the heavy security at the Apple store at 1021 Lincoln Rd., in South Beach, detectives believe it was a targeted heist. Rodriguez said the robbers likely spotted the tourists when they made the purchase inside the store and followed them.

"Not only are these windows tinted, there were several other cars parked in the same area and none of the other vehicles were vandalized," Rodriguez said.

There were long lines of customers at the Apple stores in South Beach and Miami's Brickell. The new AppleCare+ warranty program for the XS and XS Max replaces stolen iPhones for up to 2 incidents with deductibles ranging from $229 to $269. 

Officers are warning Apple customers to be cautious. Rodriguez said they have yet to find out what brazen burglars are willing to do to get their hands on the coveted new iPhones.

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