UPS Worker Allegedly Steals iPhone 4S By Hiding It In His Boot

Of all the Steve Jobs encomiums that accompanied the death of the former Apple CEO, this may be the greatest one yet.

Police say that Kentucky-based UPS worker Raylon Brooks was so eager to get his hands on the new iPhone 4S he broke the cardinal rule of professional mail delivery -- thou shalt not open a parcel to steal an iPhone.

If Brooks did that, and hid the new Apple product in his boot last Thursday as police say, he probably wasn't counting on a random audit performed by the Louisville UPS branch. A missing package led supervisors to instruct their employees to take off their boots, and out popped the phone from Brooks' footwear, according to a police report covered by local news outlet WDRB.

Police say that the 21-year-old (pictured above) immediately fessed up to stealing the $650 product and was charged and processed for theft.

If the allegation is true, it could be another case in which the temptation to lift a cell phone from the postal conveyor belt might have proven all too alluring. As reported on AOL Jobs in August, another Louisville-based UPS worker was charged with stealing cell phones. But unlike the single iPhone in Brooks' case, 20-year-old Jamir Kirby was arrested and charged with stealing upward of $8,149 worth of Sprint Wireless merchandise. Police say that in Kirby's case UPS got wind of the scheme when it uncovered a pattern among a series of orders that failed to arrive at customers' doorsteps -- they had all passed through Kirby's hands.

In spite of these incidents, business at UPS has been holding up while its chief rival, the United States Postal Service, has been suffering. Indeed, as a report from Market Intelligencer notes, "technical indicators for the (UPS) stock are bullish and S&P gives United Parcel Service (UPS) a positive 4 stars (out of 5) buy rating." The stock quote most recently stood at $68.29, which means it was up $1.68 from last month, though still down $1.04 from last year.

Meanwhile, the situation at the USPS has grown so desperate -- the volume of letters has declined 36 percent in just the past five years and the agency's deficit stands at $10 billion -- that it has just tapped Ron Bloom, the former investment banker brought on to help revive the auto and steel industries, according to a report in The New York Times.

The USPS is hoping he will work his consulting magic again, but observers expect any reassessment to center on labor costs. The Postal Service is the only U.S. agency or company that guarantees the health coverage of future employees, and spends some 80 percent of its funds on labor costs. UPS, however, only devotes 53 percent of its funds to its workforce.

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