Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may have snubbed mainland China with its initial rollout of the iPhone 6, but that hasn’t stopped locals from getting their hands on the new smartphone in the lead up to its announcement this month.
Chinese authorities said in recent days that on Sept. 4 they detained a Foxconn employee only identified as Qiao, 40, for allegedly stealing rear cases of the iPhone 6 from a factory in Jincheng and selling them for 6,000 yuan ($976) to an electronics market in Shenzhen, according to Taihang Daily, a Communist party-run newspaper. Qiao allegedly sold the cases over a period of three months between June and August.
The local report indicates that after Qiao responded to an ad offering 1,000 yuan (about $163) for each case, he began sneaking the cases out of the Foxconn factory on June 24 by avoiding a security check by leaving at peak hours, when many workers leave the factory at the same time. Qiao then sent the iPhone 6 cases via courier to the Shenzhen market and was paid a couple days later. Following the success of his first iPhone 6 rear case sale, he allegedly stole five more iPhone 6 cases and sold them to the same buyer.
But the disappearance of these iPhone 6 parts didn’t go unnoticed. Foxconn security officials reported the missing rear cases to local police on Aug. 14, which prompted an investigation of security footage and courier information that lasted nearly 20 days before Qiao drew their attention.
Apple has had to deal with a number of leaks leading up to this year’s iPhone 6 release. Despite the number of security measures in place in Foxconn and other factories to prevent leaks, the smartphone’s parts publicly surfaced on a nearly daily basis. There were so many available that an iPhone 6 was able to be fully assembled using just the leaked parts.