An unreleased iPad prototype has been stolen from a home in Cupertino, California in a robbery and kidnapping on April 5.
9to5Mac reports that a man in his twenties was robbed and kidnapped after he responded to an online advert and met a man and a woman, who took him back to a house.
San Jose Mercury News says that when the group arrived at the house, the woman threatened the man in his twenties with a knife, and the man he had met pepper-sprayed him in the face. They then stole electronics, prescription drugs and $US7,500 in cash from him, before forcing him into a car and driving him away from the house.
The victim said that one of the items stolen from him in the robbery was “a test model iPad from Apple.” It’s unclear whether the victim is an Apple employee who was testing an upcoming device before its release, or if he had somehow obtained a test iPad through other means. Either way, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office says that the iPad has not been recovered.
Two arrests have been made in the case so far. Police arrested Katherine Stump, 20 and Alexander Nejat, 25. Both had been previously arrested for other cases, but are now suspected of being behind the robbery. The pair were found to be in possession of several phones, which police believe may have been obtained through similar crimes.
Apple closely guards its unreleased devices, disguising their shape so that competitors can’t see the company’s designs before they’re released. When developers created apps for the Apple Watch they had to work in top-secret Apple labs, and couldn’t take devices home with them.
The Cupertino company does have to test its products in the wild, however. Apple Watches were seen being tested by Apple employees at coffee shops and around California long before the device shipped out to customers.
The most famous story of Apple losing a product occurred when an Apple employee left a prototype iPhone 4 in a bar. It was eventually purchased by technology news site Gizmodo, which infuriated Apple. Steve Jobs called Gizmodo, asking for his phone to be returned, and police even raided a Gizmodo writer’s home over the incident.