In a daring theft early Thursday morning, burglars cut a hole in the roof of a Best Buy, used climbing gear to rappel down 16 feet and snatched twenty MacBooks without touching the floor, which would have set off an alarm. South Brunswick, New Jersey police said that the break-in - which has caused a net-wide shortage of Mission: Impossible
references - earned the criminals $26,000 worth of Apple laptops.
Best Buy employees in the New Jersey suburb, about an hour outside New York City, discovered that some MacBooks were missing when they opened the store at 6:30 Thursday morning. Noting the one-meter-square (3 feet by 3 feet) hole in the ceiling, the employees deduced that perhaps there had been some foul play. The South Brunswick police were called to the scene, and discovered boot prints on a gas pipe running up the side of the building. Climbing to the roof, the police found the saw that the thieves had used to cut through the roof, slicing through several inches of rubber weatherproofing and insulation, and that the roof section had been removed with some kind of suction cup apparatus.
A report in the Newark Star-Ledger
that calls the thieves "acrobatic," notes that the police arriving at the scene were impressed by the "high-level planning" that went into the burglary. "High level of sophistication," Detective James Ryan, a police department spokesman, said tersely. "They never set off any motion sensors. They never touched the floor. They rappelled in and rappelled out."
If they had come in contact with the floor, they would have set off an alarm. According to John Harris, an expert in security expert contacted by the Star-Ledger, the effort was very much out of the ordinary. "I would say they were a professional crew," Harris said. "At least I’ve never dealt with anything like this. From time to time, people break in, but not usually through the roof."
The hole was cut directly over the Apple display area. Once in, the thieves rappelled down to the racks where the MacBooks were stored, and then rappelled back up or hoisted the laptops somehow, as climbing while holding a computer would have been hard work. Once they had all twenty computers, they shimmied back down the gas pipe and made their getaway without triggering any alarms.
It was an impressive piece of work, but it seems like an awful lot of effort for a fairly modest reward. Maybe this was practice for a diamond heist or something.