San Francisco, June 3: Apple is tracking several iPhones that were stolen from its retail stores during the protests in the US over the death of African-American George Floyd.

Thieves who stole iPhones from Apple retail locations in New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Washington and Philadelphia were surprised to see on-screen messages that read: "This device has been disabled and is being tracked. Local authorities will be alerted". Louis Vuitton, Nike to Apple, US Protesters Loot Luxury Stores Amid Growing Tensions over George Floyd's Death (Watch Shocking Videos).

Several disappointed thieves went on to social media, posting about how iPhones they made off with were blocked. Apple was in the process of opening more than 100 stores in the US closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"On the device was a message alerting the user that the iPhone is disabled and should be returned to the store. It's not clear if Apple or law enforcement plans to do anything with the data it collects," reports the Motley Fool.

It's been long reported that Apple has a hidden software that disables an iPhone if it's stolen from one of its stores. It has now been proven. Apple Stores in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington have been the target of vandalism and looting during recent protests over Floyd's death. Minneapolis Police Station Torched by Angry Demonstrators Amid George Floyd Protest.

Other retailers like Target, Walmart and Amazon's Whole Foods have also shut stores or shorten working hours. Apple managed to reopen nearly 256 retail stores out of more than 500 worldwide, as it aims to safely restart operations.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 03, 2020 11:52 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website