SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco police are warning consumers to be leery of deals on iPhone X devices after a UPS truck heist outside the Apple Store at Stonestown Mall this week.
Investigators warn that the phones could be sold on the black market and it's the consumer who could end up paying the price.
The brazen robbery was the city's largest of its kind for iPhones.More than $300,000 worth of the new iPhone Xs were stolen around 11 o'clock Wednesday morning while a UPS driver was making his delivery.
"There's probably going to be a lot on different websites that are being sold but a lot of em do trickle down to the street," said Captain Joe McFadden, head of the department's newly-minted General Crimes Unit, designed to crack down on the city's property theft epidemic. This is the team's first official case.
Investigators hope to find the phones before they hit places like E-bay or local flea markets.
"But when they do hit the consumer and they think they've got this great deal," said Capt. McFadden. "It turns out it's not really because, one, they may not be able to use 'em and two, once we find em we're going to recover those as evidence."
Every phone has an electronic serial number embedded in it and tech experts say a stolen one may get blacklisted and therefore, disabled so you can't activate it. If you are able to get it up and running, the serial number is broadcast to Apple and it's only a matter of time before police are able to track you down.
"You should be very careful if you see an iphone on ebay - especially if it's at a very low price because right now nobody is selling them for low prices... if anything, they're scalping them for more," said Larry Magid, technology analyst and CEO of ConnectSafely.org.
"My guess is these guys are pretty sophisticated. They probably knew what they were doing with a big operation so they probably had some plan to either fence these either overseas or somewhere where they can either get around that kill switch take the phones apart and sell the parts."
Police are looking at whether the heist was an inside job.
The three suspects are described as husky and wearing hooded sweatshirts, driving a white Dodge van.