APPLE HEIST: Kosega Tautau, 22, leaves the Ipswich Court yesterday.
APPLE HEIST: Kosega Tautau, 22, leaves the Ipswich Court yesterday. Ross Irby

Courier steals 10 iPhone Xs worth $19K

SO MUCH for facial recognition on the latest Apple product - the iPhone X - when one thief used his fingers to grab the in-demand tool.

Determined to beat the queues outside Apple stores just a few days before its Australia release, Springfield lad Kosega Tui Tautau got his hands on 10 of the phones in a $19,000 haul.

But the aspirational thief was quickly tracked down when one of the stolen phones was activated too soon.

Tautau, 22, went before Ipswich Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to stealing as a clerk and servant at Redbank Plains on November 1, 2017.

Police prosecution told the court Tautau had been employed at TNT when 10 iPhone X mobile phones went missing.

The new model was not yet for sale, only days away from its official release. CCTV security footage showed Tautau repacking a broken pallet, move a box to the side then put it into a black shoulder bag. He later left the depot with the bag at the end of his work shift.

One iPhone X was activated before the launch date. And when Tautau arrived at the depot, police were waiting.

The prosecutor said Tautau told the officers he knew what they were there for. Eight of the X phones were found under his bed inside a camouflage bag, and two he gave to a cousin. All phones were recovered.

The value of the phones given to the court was between $14,000 to $19,000.

Defence lawyer Matthew Fairclough acknowledged the offence was aggravated by its breach of trust, saying Tautau "can't explain his actions but was not thinking clearly and under (personal) stress at the time".

Magistrate Donna MacCallum said Tautau had no criminal history but a significant amount was involved and there had been a serious breach of trust with his employer. She sentenced him to six months' jail, immediately suspended for 18 months.