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Burglar Robs Home of Steve Jobs, Caught Using Apple Technology

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September 11, 2012
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Burglar Robs Home of Steve Jobs, Caught Using Apple Technology

Pretend for a second you’re a burglar. I know you’re not, but please - just indulge me. You break into a home under renovation in Palo Alto, California, and find lots of cool Apple products to steal - MacBooks, iPads, iPods, iPhones… Then you find something that tells you that you have broken into the home of the late Steve Jobs, of Apple fame. Now what do you do? Some people might think about whether the devices could be tracked if used, and get out of there! But in the case of the real burglar who allegedly committed this crime, he was not that smart, as recently reported.

A suspect is being held in connection with the burglary of the California home of deceased Apple CEO Steve Jobs, police said. Authorities arrested and charged 35-year-old Kariem McFarlin with residential burglary and the selling of stolen property, after over $60,000 worth of computers and personal items were allegedly stolen from the Jobs’ home on July 17.

Facts of the Robbery

According to Santa Clara County assistant DA Scott Tsui, the burglar does not appear to have been aware that the home belonged to the Jobs family. “There’s no evidence to show that the house was targeted,” Tsui said, adding that once the thief got in, “I imagine there are things in the house that might hint to him that it was Jobs’ house.” Tsui said the Jobs family does not appear to have been living at home, which was undergoing construction at the time of the burglary.

This second news report sheds further light on the crime.

Detectives say Kariem McFarlin told them he was desperate for easy cash when he saw the Palo Alto home being renovated, hopped over the fence, found a spare key and went inside. No lights, no alarm, no one home. Then he discovered what hallowed ground he was on: the home of the iconic late Apple CEO, Steve Jobs. Alone and with free rein of a house belonging to one of the richest and most secretive families on the planet, McFarlin made off with some of the legendary gadgets Jobs helped create, police said in a report released Tuesday, one month after a break-in just now being publicized.

What He Stole

He grabbed iPhones, iPads, Macs and iPods, then found Jobs' wallet -- with a single dollar inside -- and, perhaps most shockingly of all, took his driver's license. Police said he also snatched $60,000 worth of Tiffany & Co. jewelry and Cristal Champagne, and even took a soda-maker and kitchen blender. Ultimately, it was Jobs' company's technology that allowed Apple and a special Silicon Valley high-tech crime task force to track down the burglary suspect.

How Police Caught Him

Police said when McFarlin used the stolen devices to connect to the Internet with his iTunes account after the July 17 heist, Apple investigators were able to identify him using an IP address. After gathering more evidence, police swarmed his Alameda apartment and said they found many of the items from the Palo Alto home. He then confessed and wrote an apology letter to Jobs' widow, police said.

Former Employer Reacts

"What an idiot," McFarlin's former boss Ross Rankin told this newspaper Tuesday, the morning after news broke of the burglary at one of Silicon Valley's most famous residences. "There are certain things you don't do, and burglary is one of them, but burglarizing an icon like that, that just puts you pretty much in the deep hole."

Palo Alto Has Seen Burglary Spike

Virtually all of the stolen goods were recovered at McFarlin's home and an Alameda storage unit, police said, and the two gifted iPads were returned. Palo Alto police investigated with the Santa Clara County high technology REACT task force. The Jobs heist was part of a 63 percent rise in burglaries in Palo Alto this year, as Bay Area cities from San Jose to Oakland to Daly City see double-digit increases in home burglaries. Authorities have tied the trend to budget cuts that left police forces withered and rumors in criminal circles of unlocked doors.

As a career security professional, it’s hard for me to imagine why a furnished home under renovation would not have a monitored alarm system in place – especially with residential crime on the upswing. After all, the shift to safer cellular monitoring means there is no phone line required: when you add the benefit of interactive services and round-the-clock fire monitoring, it’s easy to see why more builders are using these systems to protect all their projects, including new construction.

FrontPoint specializes in this kind of technology: we’re the recognized leader in wireless home security because we combine the most advanced home security with the latest home automation services. Whether it’s more reliable cellular monitoring, notifications and remote arming, video features, or using apps to control lights, locks, and thermostats, FrontPoint has the solution. We provide peace of mind, with systems that are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat – that’s why FrontPoint is the #1 ranked alarm company in the US.

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