iPhones, the most popular phone in the U.S., are now the most targeted by thieves

Why thieves are hunting for iPhones

Everyday in Tampa, an average of three people report their iPhones stolen. Investigators say they have video of some of the thefts. Michelle Martin had hers stolen from her desk at work.

"It actually disgusts me for me to pay for something with my hard earned money and for someone to just come in and steal it," said Martin.

They are worth $300 on the black market. More and more thieves target iPhones like the pick pocket who stole one from Robin Rosen's daughter in Orlando.

Weeks later Rosen said she got a call from Apple's warranty department notifying her they had received the phone and were attempting to make repairs.

Apple called Rosen because her phone number was still linked to the serial number on the phone. The bad guys know something she and countless other iPhone owners do not.

The Rosen's police report sheds some light as to why iPhone thefts otherwise known as apple picking are growing.

In it, the detective wrote, "Their policy mandates them to return the product to the person who sent it to them regardless if that person is the suspect of stolen property."

There is no way to prove the person who sent the phone in is not the registered owner according to Casey Paris the owner of World Wide cells in Brandon. He says criminals know because of Apple's warranty, they will replace a stolen iPhone with out question.

In the Rosen's case the end result was the phone went back to the criminal. Apple doesn't check ownership since so many iPhones change hands legitimately which is why police say the company refused to return the Rosen's phone to anyone other than the person who sent it in for repairs.

The Orange County Sheriff's detective that worked the Rosen's case says it's one of three he's working with Apple. Paris says none of the manufacturers tracks phone ownership.

Apple would not provide a statement for our story, but the company is making it harder for a criminal to use your iPhone with its new operating system iOS 7.

The new security feature is called activation lock. With it no one can erase or reactivate your device or turn off the find my iPhone app without your Apple id and password.


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