Looted iPhones show this message after Apple Store theft

Apple Stores were among those looted in during protests of police brutality and calls for justice for the murder of George Floyd and other black citizens by police forces across the United States. A number of iPhone devices were stolen by individuals that took advantage of the situation to turn peaceful protests into violent riots. Individuals that decided to loot iPhone units from Apple Stores found themselves on the wrong end of a tracked, disabled piece of hardware.

Stolen iPhones showed a message this week, much as they would had they been stolen at any other point in the past from one of a wide variety of Apple Stores around the world. When turned on, an iPhone stolen from an Apple Store will show the following message – or one very similar to what's shown here:

"Please return to Apple Walnut Street." The message notes the store location it'd most recently been housed. "This device has been disabled and is being tracked. Local authorities will be alerted." As such, Apple's most likely taken inventory and is in the process of locking down the location of each unit now.

The "local authorities will be alerted" part combined with the "is being tracked" bit will likely concern all those involved in the lifting of said merchandise. But it won't likely surprise those that've ever attempted to steal an iPhone before – they're not generally particularly easy to profit from, especially since they lock down so extremely easily and can be tracked by their owners at the tap of a button.

Meanwhile, protesters continue to show up in large numbers in Minneapolis and other major metropolitan areas across the United States and around the world. protests and outcry over the murders by police, the riots that followed the resulting protests, and the subsequent police force reaction have flooded the internet.

Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a memo to Apple staff on May 31, Sunday, the first weekend after the events that sparked protests. "I have heard from so many of you that you feel afraid – afraid in your communities, afraid in your daily lives, and, most cruelly of all, afraid in your own skin. We can have no society worth celebrating unless we can guarantee freedom from fear for every person who gives this country their love, labor and life."

George Floyd was murdered by police officers on May 25, 2020 in the Powderhorn community of Minneapolis, Minnesota. His murder by suffocation was captured on camera by onlookers and was shared with the community shortly thereafter. Though racial inequality and police brutality have poisoned the United States for decades, it was the events of May 25, 2020 that sparked this global protest.