iPhone accessories seized, iCloud catches criminals in the Apple Crime Blotter

Two men accused of crimes against women caught by iCloud, Find My iPhone catches car thieves, and more in the Apple Crime Blotter

Within a two-day period in mid-November, there were two major thefts of Apple products in Europe. A truck hijacking in the U.K. notched $6.6 million worth of Apple items, while Amazon employees in Spain were caught stealing the equivalent of $592,000 worth of iPhones.

Most other Apple-related crimes in November weren’t nearly as lucrative for the alleged criminals, but there was still plenty of them. This is the latest in an occasional AppleInsider series, looking at the world of crime involving Apple products and services:

CBP seizes $41,500 in phone accessories

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said November 9 that they had seized $41,500 worth of “counterfeit Apple and Samsung accessories” in Minneapolis. The package contained iPhone cases and adapters, as well as Samsung accessories, and the items were determined to be counterfeit due to “various inconsistencies, poor quality, and the incorrect packaging.”

The Custom and Border Protection's recently seized iPhone cases

Unlike the incident in September when CBP seized OnePlus Buds and erroneously described them as counterfeit AirPods, the CBP’s description this time appears to be accurate.

Man presented fake ID to try to claim MacBook Air at UPS facility

A man was arrested in mid-November after presenting a fake Pennsylvania ID at a UPS facility in Bethlehem Township, Pennsylvania. Police say he presented the bogus ID in order to pick up a package containing a 13-inch MacBook Air.

Per Lehigh Valley Live, the man was charged with forgery and theft, in the third such bust at that facility in three months.

iCloud evidence helped catch U.S. embassy employee arrested for sex crimes

An employee of the U.S. embassy in Mexico City was arrested in October and charged with one count of coercion and enticement related to a sexual assault on a woman. However, the man is suspected of attacking many more victims than that.

According toThe Daily Beast, the government searched the man’s phones, laptop, and iCloud account, and discovered hundreds of photos and videos of the man in the act of abusing women.

“Extreme stalker” in U.K. accused of performing suspect iCloud searches

Another man accused of vile crimes against women was felled at least in part by iCloud evidence. The Express and Star reports a man in Wolverhampton, England, was arrested in February after carrying out a massive, multifaceted campaign of stalking against a woman.

Police say the man created countless social media accounts, including 19 fake Instagram accounts, while also hacking the woman’s home CCTV system. He was also found to have performed Internet searches of the woman’s name along with the phrases “log into iCloud without verification” and “free mobile phone tracker without user knowing.”

Head of special needs group accused of buying iPhone with stolen money

The former head of Revere League for Special Needs, an advocacy organization in Massachusetts, has pled guilty

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Man Catches Deadly Snake With Bare Hands In Shopping Center Car Park

A venomous snake was caught from a busy shopping center car park after it was found in a wall cavity. The red-bellied black snake was spotted next to a car wash in the car park of a shopping center in Canberra, Australia, a week ago.

On Thursday, the deadly reptile fell off the wall beside the stairwell following which it was captured.

“This hefty Red Belly was living in a wall cavity in a busy shopping center car park next to a car wash, and was certainly making the  car wash  team and customers a wee bit uneasy!” Gavin Smith with ACT Snake Removals wrote in a Facebook post.

A video accompanying the post showed the serpent near the stairwell. It then cuts to the snake catcher capturing the reptile with his bare hands and placing it inside a black bag.

“You can’t see in the video but the snake was just away to disappear back into its hole, so was very relieved to get hold of it! I was also told the snake had been seen about a week before falling off the wall next to the stairwell you can see at the start of the video where the onlookers are, but fortunately, no injuries were detected when I inspected it and it sure moved fine!” Smith wrote.

He added that had the reptile stayed in the car park, it would have likely been run over by a vehicle.

“So thankfully now in safer and, dare I say, more appropriate watery – and not concrete – habitat!!!” he wrote.

The video has since gone viral on Facebook with people thanking the snake catcher for relocating the serpent.

Last month, Smith captured an eastern brown snake that was “three times bigger” than normal from an aged care facility in Canberra. After capturing the snake, he took it to a local vet, who told him that it was six feet in length and weighed approximately 4 pounds, which is almost three times more than an adult snake of the same species. 

The snake, that resembled a diamond python, could have been feeding on larger animals such as rabbits to survive, Smith said.

Red Bellied Black Snake A Red-bellied Black Snake showing its tongue. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

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Minneapolis Sisterhood of the Traveling Wedding Dress catches on

When her photographer heard what Tina Nguyen was doing, she decided to lend her own dress as well. Then the two of them put the call out.

MINNEAPOLIS — One Minneapolis woman’s decision to offer her wedding dress up to other brides is catching on.

Tina Nguyen knows she was lucky to have a dream wedding in September of last year. As she watched other couples navigate the shifting sands of getting married in a pandemic, she wanted to do something.

A daughter and granddaughter of powerful women, Tina is an immigrant from Vietnam and knows what it is to be helped by others – and to help others. She says she learned from her grandmother to always lift up other women.

“She always reminded me of where we came from, the struggle,” Tina said. “She’s like, you are privileged to live in a life that you currently have, and that privilege, you need to know and always, always recognize that.”

So instead of selling her designer wedding gown or leaving it in her closet, she had it cleaned and pressed, and posted it online labeled “FREE.”

RELATED: Minneapolis woman offers her designer dress free to other brides

Tina wants to lend the dress out to as many brides as she can find who want to use it for their wedding – and can’t afford their own.

“I love, love my dress,” she said. “It’s just beautiful. It’s silky. It’s soft. It made me feel like a bride. I wanted that for all other brides out there, especially during this time, I want that for them.” 

When Tina’s wedding photographer, Madalyn, heard about what she was doing, she decided to offer up her dress as well. The two women started a Facebook group encouraging others to do the same – and dozens of people have joined, with a couple of them already seeking to lend their dresses.

Tina likened her “Sisterhood of the Traveling Wedding Dress” idea to the story of the woman throwing beached starfish back into the sea. There are a lot of people struggling – but you can focus on helping one at a time.

The starfish was the theme of Tina’s wedding last year. She had a chalk artist draw them on a brick wall.

But Tina doesn’t see herself as the rescuer. She knows she’s the starfish.

“That’s just a reminder for the rest of my life, too,” she said. “It’s like, yeah, just one starfish at a time, one starfish.”

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