New York Police Arrest 141 People Over Alleged IPhone Thefts

The New York Police Department arrested 141 people for allegedly selling stolen iPhones and iPads, stepping up an effort to combat robberies of handheld electronic devices.

Officers made the arrests at convenience stores, newsstands, barber shops and other businesses, the department said in a statement yesterday. The suspects were charged with criminal possession of stolen property after being apprehended for allegedly purchasing the gadgets from undercover police.

“This was a two-prong approach to apprehend both thieves and receivers of stolen property,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said in the statement. “Suspects at both ends of the equation are learning the hard way that ‘victims’ and ‘sellers’ may in fact be undercover police officers.”

The arrests are an attempt to cope with a rash of robberies of the iPhone and iPad, Apple Inc.’s best-selling products. The department also is working to capture thieves stealing the products from inattentive subway riders, according to the statement.

Robberies involving handheld electronic devices have caused a slight increase in grand larcenies in New York City, the police department said. The iPhone and iPad arrests were made this week, the department said. Prices for the merchandise ranged from $50 to $200.

Of the 141 arrests, 42 were in Brooklyn, 41 in Manhattan, 31 in the Bronx, 21 in Queens and six on Staten Island, the police department said.

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