May 4, 2012 — -- The theft of iPods, iPhones, and iPads isn't new -- Apple's products happen to be some of the most common products picked off people. But a woman in Texas isn't just going for the one-off iProduct snatch; to date she has stolen over 100 iPads. And she's still on the loose.
According to ABC News' Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate, WFAA, the woman has hit 28 Walmarts and eight Target stores in Texas, leaving each of them with several iPads. According to the police and surveillance videos, the woman succeeds at stealing the sealed iPad boxes by using the same tactic each time.
She fills her cart with groceries, then goes to the electronics department and says she wants to buy a couple of iPads. As she is checking out, she takes the iPads, after they have been rung up, and slips them into her tote bag. She then tells the clerk she needs to get her wallet from her car. She goes outside and doesn't return to pay.
The new iPad starts at $499; the highest end model with 64GB of storage and 4G service costs $829.00. Police estimate that she has stolen $57,000 worth of iPads. They continue to search for her and the stolen merchandise.
Thefts of iPhones and iPads have been on the rise in cities across the country. In April, the New York Police Department reported that the theft of Apple devices was up by 44 percent. Chicago police also report that the theft of iPhones has been on the rise. Both police departments have trained their officers to use Apple's Find My Phone feature. Unfortunately, in the case of these 100 stolen iPads the tablets were brand new and not yet registered to a user, so they'll just have to rely on detective work.
Update: Since publishing this article, the theif, Jessica Hoffman, has been arrested.