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Five nabbed for stealing 1,680 iPhones on route to US

FIVE suspects have been detained for stealing nearly 1,700 iPhone 4s bound for the US market, Shanghai police said yesterday.

They said the stolen iPhone 4s were replaced with plastic models with the same weight and were not detected until the shipment arrived in the United States.

One suspect surnamed Wu was a truck driver of a logistic company that delivers iPhones from a local electronic company to a Pudong International Airport warehouse.

Wu and his accomplices swapped 1,680 iPhone 4s with fake ones on the way to the airport, police said. The value of these stolen phones was estimated at about 8 million yuan (US$1.3 million) at the market price.

Only a few stolen iPhones were recovered; the rest had been sold to vendors across the country, police said.

The theft took place on December 26. One of the four trucks, driven by Wu, was about 30 minutes late to arrive at the warehouse. That gave a clue to the police.

Wu lied to his company that he had a flat tire which caused the delay and disappeared from Shanghai afterwards.

The police found that Wu drove the truck to meet the other four suspects near Linbo Road in Pudong New Area. They unloaded the iPhones onto Fan's van and replaced them with fake models of the same weight. The plastic models cost them 50,000 yuan.

On December 28, they sold the iPhones to a wholesaler at 1,400 yuan each, less than a third of the market price. Those phones later changed hands six times before reaching customers, police said.

After months of investigation, police caught the five suspects in eastern Jiangsu Province and in Chongqing Municipality in western China before February 2.


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