A worker at Foxconn, a company best known for manufacturing Apple devices, has been detained for allegedly stealing iPhone 6 shells over the summer and selling them to a local gadget market in Shenzhen, China, according to a new report.
A 40-year-old man identified only as Qiao was detained on September 4 by Chinese police after it was allegedly discovered that he had taken six iPhone 6 shells off the assembly line and subsequently sold them to a market in Shenzhen for 6,000 yuan ($960), a local, government-controlled newspaper reported Tuesday. The Wall Street Journal, which earlier reported on the detention, said that it called the factory and confirmed with workers there that the person in question was in fact detained and that the investigation is ongoing.
Apple announced thelast week. The iPhone 6 comes with a 4.7-inch screen and new body, while the iPhone 6 Plus bumps the screen size to 5.5 inches. The handsets have become the most popular Apple products to date, . The devices go on sale in the US and other parts of the world on Friday.
China has yet to get a release date on the iPhone 6. Earlier on Tuesday, China Mobile said it may not receive the iPhone until next year. Apple has remained tight-lipped on its exact release schedule, but did confirm at its event last week that it plans to make this year's launch the most aggressive and widespread ever.
According to the reports, the Foxconn worker first stole an iPhone 6 shell in July after seeing an ad claiming that a company was "purchasing parts from Apple Inc. at high prices." Upon allegedly stealing a single shell, the worker called the company purchasing parts and was offered 1,000 yuan. He then alledgely sold five more later that month.
The fact that a worker was detained for allegedly stealing the shells is perhaps no surprise. Apple is notoriously secretive and expects its suppliers to maximize confidentiality on all products it sells. According to the report out of China, Foxconn kept close tabs on the shells, and after discovering that some were missing in mid-August, contacted local police to begin an investigation. It took police 20 days of investigating workers to narrow it down to a single suspect, according to the report.
"As a matter of company policy, Foxconn does not comment on any aspect of our work for any customer," a Foxconn Technology Group spokesperson told CNET in an e-mailed statement. "However, we can say that we have a strict Company Code of Conduct that our company and our employees are expected to follow and we do not hesitate to take the appropriate action, including bringing matters to the attention of the relevant law enforcement authorities, should we determine that this Code has been violated."
Apple has not publicly commented on the worker's detainment. CNET has, however, contacted Apple for comment and will update this story when we have more information.
Update, 7:02 a.m. PT: Adds Foxconn's statement.