Florida man accused of $6 Million iPhone theft

Posted at 2:33 PM, Apr 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-23 14:33:53-04

A man connected to the elaborate theft of more than $6 million worth of iPhones in Miami-Dade has been arrested, authorities said.

Joaquin M. Rivas, 53, was arrested Thursday on charges including grand theft, tampering with physical evidence and criminal mischief.

Rivas appeared in bond court Friday where he was ordered held on a warrant. It's unknown if he's hired an attorney.

According to an arrest warrant, the investigation began in September when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations passed along a tip to Miami-Dade Police of a cargo theft that was going to happen at Miami International Airport.

A confidential informant told authorities that he had been solicited by Rivas, who he knew only as Chino, to steal cargo from a warehouse at Miami International Airport and that he would be paid $40,000, the warrant said.

Rivas told the informant that he would be provided with a cargo truck, a fake Florida driver's license, a fake company ID card and paperwork that would allow him to remove the cargo from the warehouse, the warrant said. He also told the informant that an insider who works at the warehouse was assisting in the theft.

The theft was planned to happen in October and November but never happened.

On April 2, the Miami-Dade Police airport district was notified of the theft of more than 23,000 Apple iPhones valued at more than $6 million from LAN Cargo at 6500 Northwest 22nd Street, the report said.

Surveillance footage showed a tractor-trailer pull up to the warehouse where the driver presented ID and a warehouse delivery authorization form. The shipment was then loaded onto the trailer.

Detectives conducted surveillance on Rivas and saw him drive to a Home Depot parking lot in Hialeah Gardens, where the tractor-trailer was parked, the warrant said.

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