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Watch an Apple store being robbed in 12 seconds

Commentary: A video released by the San Francisco Police Department shows how quick a robbery can be.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


And they're in.

Officer Manfredi/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

You hear this tale quite regularly these days.

The Fourth Street Apple store in Berkeley, California, for example, was robbed three times in nine days a few weeks ago by a group of men who walked in and grabbed whatever they could.

Something similar happened at another Bay Area Apple store -- on Chestnut Street in San Francisco -- on November 25 and 29. Police released footage of the event last week in the hope that someone might identify the miscreants.

What's notable is the speed with which it all happens.

In the first robbery, three men wearing hoodies walk in, grab whatever they can and, according to my calculation, they're gone within 12 seconds.

In the second, four men come in and perform the same maneuver in what seems like the same amount of time. The staff and customers merely watch, as the gadgets are ripped from the tables and the robbers run.

A San Francisco Police Department spokeswoman told me that no arrests have been made. Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

One wonders, however, whether any of the stolen gadgets, which appear to have included iPhones, will have much value.

One of the reasons why Apple has done away with security cables in some of its stores is that the gadgets can be disabled remotely by being put into Lost Mode, which renders them dead. Perhaps, though, thieves sell them on and make buyers believe that the phones will work.

After all, Apple buyers have been fooled by all sorts of nefarious behavior. Who could ever forget the woman who paid $180 for a wooden iPad?

Updated at 6.10 p.m. PT: To add comment from SFPD.